Plans were set. The table was set. The weather was not.
The sky dumped snow on my dinner party plans, froze the roads and sequestered my friends on the other side of the city. Having developed a healthy distrust of the winter weather patterns, we decided to simplify attempt number two. Rather than dinner, we opted for a happy hour gathering.
Home gatherings set quite a different tone than a bar, so I offered to host the happiest of hours, which I interpreted as an excuse for lots of wine and cheese. Being that I am a baker and a food blogger, I would have been remiss if I did not make at least a little something for my new friends. Extending the wine-and-cheese theme one step further, I developed a dessert for the occasion- a Wine & Cheese Cake!
I may stand alone in this problem, but I rarely work my way through an entire bottle of wine, so this cake will be a repeat! Don’t think of this dessert as a waste of wine. The flavor really pronounces itself, proving once again why wine and chocolate are true companions.
Santé AND Bon Appétit!
Red Wine Chocolate Cake
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup wildflower honey
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup red wine, any kind (I used Malbec)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 Tablespoon whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Grease a 9-inch round springform cake pan.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the honey and beat until incorporated.
Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the red wine and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together.
Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
The top of the cake should be shiny and smooth, like a puddle of chocolate. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.
This cake keeps well at room temperature or in the fridge. It looks pretty dusted with powdered sugar.
Cream Cheese Topping
8 oz (1 package) organic cream cheese
1/2 cup organic heavy cream, chilled
2 Tablespoons pure cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cherry juice for color & flavor (I used the juice from these canned dark cherries)
For the Topping
Whip cream cheese, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla together until soft peaks form — don’t over whip.
Dollop generously on each slice of cake.