I know I am obsessed with food. I confess. After I met this cake (yes, met) I decided I might be borderline crazy. I ordered it off the menu of a new restaurant near my home. Honestly, the only reason I did was because I had seen a similar recipe before…somewhere…nothing else crossed my mind.
Then the dessert came out to my table in all its chocolaty beauty on top of a plate drizzled with a cherry red wine reduction. Let me tell you:
It. Was. Amazing.
The bitterness of the chocolate ganache perfectly complimented the reduction with its tang from the wine and the cake itself had a slight boozy flavor. Days after I ate this cake, I could not stop thinking about it (my justification to why I am crazy). Where did I see this cake recipe before?? I began to scour my cookbooks fruitlessly. I gave up. I mustered up some hope and looked online for recipes and found nothing interesting. I gave up again.
One day the clouds opened up…and I swear one of my cookbooks just fell open and the recipe laid in front of me. Here it is, it’ll change you.
To make the cake (Adapted from Anne Willan’s Cooking with Wine):
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups dry red wine (I used Indian Wells Merlot)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 10 inch round cake pan. In a bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together.
2. Using a handheld or a stand mixer, beat the butter with the granulated sugar until fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat for 2 minutes. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the wine in 2 batches, stirring until just incorporated.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.
To make the cherry red wine reduction:
1/3 cup frozen dark cherries
1 cup dry red wine (use the same wine used in the cake)
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Add the cherries to a small saucepan over medium-low heat for 5 minutes to evaporate the water.
2. Add the wine and the sugar. Stir.
3. Simmer over low heat until the wine has reduced by about 2/3 (about 35-40 minutes). Set aside to cool.
To make the ganache:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter (cut into 4 pieces), room temperature
1. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
2. Bring the heavy cream to a boil, then pour it over the chocolate. Stir in small circles first, starting in the center, working your way to larger circles to blend the mixture. When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter, one piece at a time. Stir only until incorporated–the less mixing you do the shinier the ganache will be.
3. Let the ganache come to room temperature until it thickens (it should be thick enough to frost a cake with).
To assemble the cake:
Pour 3/4 of the cooled ganache over the cake. Using a straight spatula frost the top and the sides of the cake evenly. Drizzle plates with the reduction, top with a slice of cake, and pile a few cherries on the side.