Hi folks, Rachel here.
I actually have written this recipe out a couple times. I’ve made several versions of it, but didn’t hit all the right notes until now.
This cake in it’s initial incarnation in my kitchen was a plain single layer cake, served with a puddle of salty caramel sauce, it became heaven on a plate (along with a square or two of Cote D’Or chocolate). I made a few adaptions but it was largely the same as Deb Perelman’s Red Wine Chocolate Cake recipe.
My second version was for an office Christmas party. It was a show-stopper sort of cake with the caramel droozled all over it, and sang with the red wine/salty caramel/dark chocolate combo. Still, this was just a gluten free adaptation from Smitten Kitchen.
But I wanted to make something that was a little less of a straight-forward gluten free interpretation of Deb Perelman’s genius to something that I could solidly claim as one of my own.
I first thought of infusing the wine instead of adding it straight from the bottle. Using a few useful tips from Wine Spectator, I infused the wine with a vanilla bean and a cinnamon stick. I suppose you could use vanilla extract, but when I took the cover off of the wine, and inhaled, wow, it was a beautiful thing.
My next task was not quite so easy. I looked at several flourless chocolate cakes, and even a few with flour in them. In the end, I couldn’t find a recipe I really thought would full capitalize on how I wanted to feature the red wine infusion in the cake, so I made it up as I went along.
My third attempt, or first depending on how you count, was not bad at all, but not particularly great. A bit of cocoa powder deepened the richness of the cake batter, but I felt that the red wine’s beautiful infusion wandered into a corner and got stuck there. I confess that I also committed a cardinal sin and over-baked it. It had a vague bitterness and an annoying chalkiness to it, so I scrapped it and tried again.
This time… red wine, vanilla/cinnamon infusion/dark chocolate nirvana. I bought a California red from Yorkshire Cellars that was on sale for five bucks at my local wine shop. It opened up beautifully after I left the bottle out for about 20 minutes. Lovely bloomy rich notes that made me rather sorry I wasn’t having it with dinner instead of baking with it. Not at all what I was expecting for five bucks.
And without further ado, here’s my adaptation of Red Wine Chocolate Cake. (Inspired by the Red Wine Chocolate Cake from the Smitten Kitchen, a bit of the Flourless Chocolate Cake courtesy of Gluten-Free Goddess, and a couple ideas from Wine Spectator, but mostly my own.
1 cup of red wine
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean
Halve the vanilla bean and scrape it. Bring the red wine to a gentle simmer and add the cinnamon stick and the vanilla bean along with the scrapings to the saucepan. Remove from heat, cover and allow to infuse for about 15 minutes.
3 egg yolks + 2 eggs
6 oz dark chocolate
2 T butter or 1 T lard, if you are dairy-free
1/4 cup cane sugar
2 T brown sugar
a pinch of salt
2 scant T cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 325 and grease a 9 inch cake pan. Line with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl set above barely simmering water. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Beat eggs, sugars and salt together in a mixer until thickened and almost custard-like, about five minutes. Add the cooled chocolate and combine. Remove the lid from the wine. Take a few deep whiffs of it. Discard the cinnamon stick and the bean pod. While the mixer is running, slowly pour the red wine. Add the cocoa powder and combine gently. Bake at 325 for 15-17 minutes. Do not overbake it. Allow to cool in the pan and turn it out on a cake plate. Serve with salty caramel sauce or dairy-free caramel sauce.