Few combinations are more classic than red wine and chocolate. Chocolate’s natural sweetness pairs beautifully with the depth of flavor wine provides, but it’s important to know there are some things to keep in mind when pairing wine and chocolate.
The sweeter the red wine, the better it will pair with your chocolate, to a point. It’s always best to choose lighter, sweeter wines to complement – not compete with – rich cocoa, but if you’re eating a very dark chocolate, it can support a slightly intense wine. Cocoa beans are actually a fruit which is why chocolate matches wonderfully with fruitier wines! The most important thing to remember when it comes to wine and chocolate is to use them to bring out the best in each other, not to create a whole new flavor.
Around the holidays, chocolate desserts are almost always on the table. And of course, in the Candoni De Zan family, there’s never a shortage of delicious red wine! One of our favorite indulgent snacks this time of year is actually a hybrid: Chocolate and red wine cake. It’s unusual, it’s playful, and it’s perfect for dessert or as an afternoon “treat!”
Here’s how to make a Chocolate Red Wine Cake your holiday guests will love.
Chocolate Red Wine Cake
- 1½ cups (210 g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (75 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks/227 g) butter, softened
- 1 cup (225g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (150 g) brown sugar (preferably dark)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1¼ cups (300 ml) Italian red wine such as Merlot or a Red Blend
Preheat oven to 350F/180C degrees and grease a 12-cup bundt pan. In a medium bowl stir the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together.
In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand-mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until combined, then beat in vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating it with the wine in 2 additions (starting and ending with the flour). Don’t overbeat!
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top, rapping on the counter a couple of times to remove any bubbles. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then place a cake plate on top of the bundt pan and turn the cake “out.” Serve with a delicious glass of perfectly chilled red wine.
We’re hungry just thinking about it! This cake will definitely make a repeat appearance on our holiday table this year…and probably our January table, and our March table…
Do you have any favorite ways to pair chocolate and wine? We’d love to hear about them! Tell us your secrets on the Candoni De Zan Facebook page or post your own pictures of your finished Chocolate Red Wine Cake.
Barbara Candoni De Zan