Red Wine Velvet Cake

Do you ever crave a dense, moist, no-muss, no-fuss chocolate cake…that isn’t so humongous that you’ll be eating it (and hating yourself) day after day for a week…that you can whip up in no time…that’s perfect for a small dinner party? Well, this is it. In all seriousness, you can make this cake with a single bowl and a single pan in less than 30 minutes. It’s that simple. But it doesn’t taste simple. The flavor of this cake is very intense, and very full of the luscious red wine you choose to bake with, so I suggest buying something other than $2 wine from Trader Joe’s…and I don’t recommend serving this to your children either, because the wine is definitely present in this one!

As usual, I went to my go-to sweets guru, Deb, over at Smitten Kitchen for some ideas. The last treat I tried from her site, Roasted Apple Spice Cake, was absolutely amazing, but it was enormous and we were working our way through it (grudgingly, because of the calories and our wedding diet) for almost a week. But this is the perfect cake to whip up for a small group of friends, and I can promise you that it will disappear that night, no questions asked. This is also a wonderful cake because you can add pretty much anything you like to it in the form of fresh fruit or a topping of your choice, and I’m sure the end result will be delicious no matter what. I strongly recommend whipping up the mascarpone cheese topping though…you might end up sitting with the bowl in your lap and licking the remnants. It’s sad to say, but I think the only time I’ve had anything with mascarpone cheese in it is when I order a slice of tiramisu at an Italian restaurant. Before I made this cake, I honestly didn’t even know mascarpone cheese was in tiramisu! I’ve always had a mental block about things with the word “cheese” in it being an integral part of something sweet (outside of cheesecake, of course), so I was a little hesitant to try this topping out, but it was well worth the “risk”. It’s tangy, light, and the perfect accompaniment to the heaviness of the chocolate cake.
Ingredient List
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature     [600 calories]
¾ cup (138 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar     [420 calories]
¼ cup (53 grams) white granulated sugar      [200 calories]
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk     [130 calories]
¾ cup red wine (we used Cabernet Sauvignon)      [150 calories]
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (156 grams) all-purpose flour     [555 calories]
½ cup (41 grams) cocoa powder     [90 calories]
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sliced strawberries, for garnish
Powdered sugar, for garnish

½ cup mascarpone cheese     [480 calories]
½ cup (118 grams) heavy whipping cream, chilled     [400 calories]
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated white sugar     [30 calories]
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Serves 8
Calories per serving (cake only): 268 per slice
Calories per serving (topping only): 115 per serving

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, then spray parchment and sides of pan with Pam for Baking or grease and flour.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth (~ 2 minutes). Add the brown and white sugars, and beat until fluffy on medium-high speed (~ 3 minutes).

Add the egg and egg yolk, then beat until well mixed on medium-high speed. Pour in red wine and vanilla extract, stir to mix thoroughly. The batter at this point will appear a little uneven instead of completely smooth, but this is normal.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Sift mixture over liquid ingredients. Combine with electric mixer over medium speed until nearly fully combined (~ 1-2 minutes), then finish combining by folding mixture with a spatula.
Spread batter in cake pan, then bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes, then flip out of pan onto cooling rack.

While cake is baking, combine mascarpone cheese, cream, sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl. Whip mixture on high speed with electric mixer until soft peaks form (~ 2-3 minutes). You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 4 hours before serving with cake.

The cake looks beautiful with some fresh berries and powdered sugar on top. Serve each slice of cake with mascarpone cheese topping.

Recipe – Red Wine Velvet Cake – PDF Version


The original version of this recipe is a Deb original, from my favorite cooking/baking blog Smitten Kitchen. We made absolutely no alterations to this recipe of any kind, but I think the cake may have over-baked just a bit because of our faulty oven. If you look at the original recipe, Deb describes the cake as being ready when the center appears like a shiny pool of chocolate…well, we never saw that shiny pool, but the cake was still delicious. If you’d like the original recipe, it can be found here
Red Wine Chocolate Cake.



2 thoughts on “Red Wine Velvet Cake

    • Thanks for commenting, Randall! This cake is absolutely delicious, and it’s perfect after dinner. It will definitely please your friend, I can promise. Please let us know if you make it and how your experience was.

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