Whole Wheat Chocolate Wine Cake with Caramelized Figs

February 2015

In the words of Marissa A. Ross, “Wine times are the times of your lifetimes,” but Marissa is not the only philosopher to wax poetic about the powers of wine. Many greats throughout history have felt that sort of inspiration only fermented grapes can bring. Here are some favorites I picked for your philosophizing and sipping pleasure. With all this wine on the brain, you may as well be sipping too!

“Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.”  
-Aristophanes, comic & playwright of ancient Athens [But did his audience find him as clever as his drunken self found him to be?]

“Men are like wine- some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.” -Pope John XXIII

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” -Benjamin Franklin
[Now we know why Benny was saving all those pennies.]

Whole Wheat Chocolate Wine Cake by With The Grains

“Language is wine upon the lips.” -Virginia Woolf [Virginia was probably puckering her fair share of purple lips]

“Music is the wine which inspires one to new generative processes, and I am Bacchus who presses out this glorious wine for mankind and makes them spiritually drunken.” -Ludwig van Beethoven
[But even Beethoven wouldn’t sound so beautiful after too much wine. Keep that in mind, friends.]

“Wine is bottled poetry.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
[In the words of an internet meme, “Roses are red, Wine is Red, and Poetry is hard.]

“Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.” -Francis Bacon, English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist, and author.

Lastly, in the words of me,

“Have your wine, and eat your cake too!” -Quelcy

Fig and Wine Chocolate Cake by With The Grains

Whole Wheat Chocolate Wine Cake with Whipped Mascarpone Topping & Caramelized Figs

Recipe Notes: If for some reason, you have an open bottle of wine past the drinking point, this recipe is a great way to salvage the wine’s flavors. Though the alcohol content bakes off, you’ll detect the fruity notes and nuances of your wine selection in each bite of this spiced chocolate cake. Like a proper wine & cheese pairing, I alternate the chocolate cake layers with a generous portion of light, whipped mascarpone cheese, and top the whole assembly with honey caramelized figs, which could be a dessert on their own.



Whole Wheat Chocolate Wine Cake


2 cups organic, whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup pure cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 cup (12 Tablespoons) organic, unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups organic raw cane sugar
1/2 cup organic evaporated cane sugar

2 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature (organic, cage-free)

1 cup Malbec red wine, or your favorite red
1/2 cup Port Wine
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Oil the bottom of two 7-inch round springform pans.

In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.

In the large bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter, on medium speed, until smooth.

Add the sugars, and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add the eggs and yolks, and beat well, then add the red wine, Port wine, and vanilla.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients. Mix until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula.

Spread batter in prepared pans.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

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.


Whipped Mascarpone Topping


1/2 cup organic mascarpone cheese, chilled
1/2 cup organic heavy cream, chilled
2 Tablespoons organic evaporated cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Combine all ingredients in the chilled bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until ingredients are incorporated, and the texture is smooth and fluffy. Keep chilled until ready to use.

When ready to assemble the cake, dollop a big spoonful of topping onto the base layer of cake. Use an offset spatula and a lazy-Susan (optional) to smooth. Top with the second layer of cake, and repeat.


Caramelized Figs


1 Tablespoon raw honey
8 ounces fresh figs, cut into wedges


Heat honey in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Cook figs, cut sides down, until caramelized, about 5 minutes. You can add a little splash of wine at the very end if you want more wine flavor in this layer cake.


Enjoy with a glass of your favorite wine!

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Bunny Eats Design

    Gorgeous! Caramalized figs look amazing.

    I’m a huge fan of wine. I can’t say I’m a connoisseur though, I’ll drink pretty much any wine, as long as it’s red.

    I particularly liked the quote: “Men are like wine- some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.” -Pope John XXIII….I wonder what context that was said in?

    1. withthegrains

      Thank you!

      If you love wine sans snobbery, you definitely have to watch Marissa A. Ross’s videos. She cracks me up!

      As for the Pope…good question!

  2. doesithavebooze

    Do you think organic raw coconut sugar could be a substitute here? I already have it on hand…

    1. withthegrains

      Yeah, I would give it a whirl. I’m all about swapping and testing sugars. Let me know how it works. I’d like to start using coconut sugar more.

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