For the last few days I've really been trying to cook and eat healthier. Lower carbs, lean proteins and definitely no cake, cookies or chocolate chips (my daily afternoon pick me up). Well... maybe a few chocolate chips, as we all know how good dark chocolate is for us and I don't want to deprive my heart of those healthy antioxidants.
I had a good few days, but unfortunately I woke up yesterday with chocolate cake on my mind. I tired to push the thought away with some hummus and broccoli, but the craving quickly returned. My chicken lunch with those fresh, rosy peaches that I've been waiting for all season didn't do it either. As I hesitantly approached my collection of recipes thinking "Oh... I shouldn't be doing this...", I subtly pulled out Food and Wine's Chocolate Red Wine Cake. I happened to have an open bottle of red wine (those antioxidants again) and what a perfect pairing it would be with the cocoa! After all, I had made this cake a couple of weeks ago hoping to post it here and didn't get any good photos. Convincing myself to make it again just for the photos was easy.
Scanning the ingredients and noticing those two sticks of butter caused a momentary feeling of guilt... I toyed with the idea of substituting some yogurt as I do frequently to decrease oils and butters in breads, cakes or brownies. However, in this case, I decided that I was somewhat concerned how the tang of the yogurt would work with the wine. Next time I might give that a try, but for this version I went full fat, butter all the way. The only other change I might make is to add a handful of chocolate chips to the batter. I love the texture that the chips give to breads and cakes.
The chocolate cake is moist and offers a hint of the fragrant red wine. My husband immediately noticed the lack of sweetness in the cake, which for me was a huge plus, but was somewhat missing for him. I did find that I prefer the cake the day after it is made as the flavors somehow become... well... for lack of a better word, better. Perhaps it is the ever so slight increase in the intensity of the flavor or the texture that is no longer even slightly warm from the oven. Not to say that I didn't fully enjoy this cake yesterday, but I'm eagerly awaiting my first slice this morning as I sip my coffee.
Chocolate Red Wine CakeKristin Donnelly, Food and Wine
2 cups all-purpose or flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups dry red wine
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In a bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat for 2 minutes longer. Working in two batches, alternately fold in the dry ingredients and the wine, until just incorporated.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack; let cool completely. Dust the cake with confectioner's sugar and serve with whipped cream.
On a side note, I wanted to give credit to all the "help" I received in my chocolate cake photo shoot. Searching my yard for a nice, shady (we actually had sun!) area for some perfect natural light I set the cake plate down while I adjusted the camera settings only to find a very interested 9 month old Maltese willing to give the cake a new design! Luckily my daughter quickly pulled the plate as we know that those chocolate antioxidants don't work for puppies like they work for us!
Tavo... Maltese food designer