Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Torta al Vino Rosso
Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream and Raspberries
as featured in the January/February 2013 issue of La Cucina Italiana magazine

CAKE
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
1 ½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt (available in most grocery stores, but table salt will suffice)
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs, separated
5 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate (82%), very finely chopped
1 cup dry red wine

RASPBERRIES
½ cup dry red wine
½ cup granulated sugar
4 cups raspberries

WHIPPED CREAM
1 ½ cups heavy cream
2 ½ tablespoons confectioners sugar

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: parchment paper, 9×3-inch or 10×2-inch springform pan

FOR CAKE:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Butter the parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and ½ cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, scraping bowl as necessary. Add chocolate; beat just to combine. In 3 additions, add wine to butter mixture, alternating with flour mixture.

In a large bowl, using clean beaters, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining ¾ cup sugar and beat until the whites are firm and glossy.

Using a spatula, gently fold whites into batter just until no white streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top with spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes (Denise and our kitchen staff advise to bake for 50 to 55 minutes).

Transfer cake to wire rack, let cool in pan 10 minutes. Run a knife around pan to loosen cake; release from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack. Serve cake with raspberries and whipped cream.

FOR RASPBERRIES:
While cake cools, bring wine and sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Put raspberries in a bowl and pour the hot syrup over them, gently tossing to coat. Let stand at least 15 minutes or up to 1 day. (If preparing raspberries more than 4 hours ahead, keep covered and chilled. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.)

FOR WHIPPED CREAM:
Combine cream and sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until soft peaks form.

Notes:

  • We recommend allowing 50 to 55 minutes for baking time.
  • If you don’t have a springform pan, it’s a worthy addition to your inventory, as it can also be used for cheesecakes  and our flourless chocolate cake.
  • Denise used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate, and a sharp knife to chop it into little pieces.
  • To separate an egg, crack the egg in half over a small bowl and carefully transfer the egg yolk back and forth between each half until the egg white falls into the bowl below. Place the yolk in another small bowl, then transfer the white to a mixing bowl and repeat until all three eggs are separated. It is important that the whites be completely separated from the yolk, as any bit of yolk will ruin the egg whites.
  • Egg whites must form into stiff peaks, i.e., the peaks stand straight up when the beater or whisk attachment is removed. Tony will turn the bowl upside down to make sure the whites don’t move, but I don’t recommend this for beginners.
  • Denise used the same red wine, a zinfandel, for the cake and raspberries.
  • Bring butter to room temperature to soften before using.
  • The dramatic presentation of the cake caught Denise’s eye and made her think of the opera dinner when it was featured on the cover of the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of La Cucina Italiana magazine.
  • For our cake, we did not marinate the raspberries in the syrup, but sprinkled them on top so that they would not soften too much before serving.
  • When serving this cake, Italians drink the same red wine for dinner and dessert; however, Dave paired our red wine chocolate cake with Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2003.

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