This cake goes out to the broken-hearted, the star-crossed lovers, and the happily ever afters. It goes out to the Valentines and the Galentines. And to the person who’s been hoping that brownies and chocolate cake would finally make a baby. (They did!) It goes out to the person looking to use up extra wine (though I’ve never been that person). Are you out there? Extra and wine rarely make it into the same sentence around here, unless I call my neighbor and say, “Hey, do you have any extra wine?”
This post was created in an ongoing partnership with Seven Daughters Wine. PS: I’m majorly digging their Pinot Noir cans right now. I’m just as shocked as you.
But after making cake with wine, we might all just start saving a little. I wish I could take a bow for this brilliant idea, but it’s an adaptation from Deb of Smitten Kitchen. A mini chocolate cake, brought together with Seven Daughters Rich Red Wine, and topped with Italian cream cheese (mascarpone) and flowers—this is my Valentine’s love language.
I took this cake a touch closer to brownies by adding a little less flour and proclaiming it done when a bit of fudgy chocolate remains on the end of the toothpick.
The hardest part about this cake is that you can’t share it with your kids or anyone under 21. A little bit of the booze stays in tact throughout the baking process. Such a shame. It’s a selfless cake, really. I’ll eat it if I have to and only share with Kev if I must.
No matter where you find yourself this Valentine’s Day, I hope this Mini Chocolate Wine Cake finds you.
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 c. pure cane sugar
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (dutch-processed or alkalized)*
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp. baking soda
- 1 large egg + yolk, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 c. Seven Daughters Rich Red Wine
- 1 c. heavy cream, chilled
- 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 4 oz. mascarpone, chilled
- Make the cake. Preheat oven to 325°. Line the bottom of a 9" square pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars on medium until fluffy and evenly combined. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- Once butter and sugars have been creamed, beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla on medium until combined, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl once. Turn the mixer to low speed and alternate the wine and the dry ingredients in three or so increments. Mix until just combined, no longer. Turn off the mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and fold together a couple times to make sure the batter has been evenly incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for about 25-27 minutes. The top of the cake will be smooth. The cake is done when a light poke of the finger to the top of the cake bounces back and a bit of chocolate remains on the toothpick. Allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a cooling rack.
- Make the frosting. In a stand mixer with a completely cleaned bowl, add cream, powdered sugar, cream of tartar, and extract. Beat on high using the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form, as if you were making whipped cream. It should be stiff yet smooth. If you accidentally beat the cream too long to where it starts to curdle towards butter, add a tablespoon or so more of heavy cream to bring it back to the correct consistency. Slowly incorporate. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl using a hand mixer, beat the chilled cream cheese until it's just spreadable, about 20 seconds. Mascarpone can break and become gritty when overworked. If mascarpone makes you too nervous, try using cream cheese and follow these instructions.
- Add mascarpone into the whipped cream mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth, still using the whisk attachment. Frosting will be light but sturdy.
- Assemble the cakes. Using a 4" biscuit cutter, cut out four cake rounds. Place one of the rounds on a serving plate. Add frosting to the top and smooth to a level surface. Place another cake round on top. Add the same amount of frosting to the top. Repeat steps for the second cake. With the remaining frosting, add small dabs around the side of the cakes. Using an offset spatula, gently pull the frosting to a smooth finish. For crumbly areas, be sure to add extra frosting over top to lock in the crumbs before smoothing. Clean off the spatula, then pull the frosting on the top of the cake smooth. Top with flowers if desired. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days.