I’ve noted may times throughout this Twelve Recipes of Christmas series that Christmas is all about sweets and booze. So why not combine the two into a perfect holiday dessert?
It has been almost three weeks since I purchased my copy of the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and I had yet to make a recipe from it. I went through on day one and tagged everything that excited me but with the holidays, nights out and Christmas shopping, dinner at home has been dominated by glamorous forms of takeout. I needed a dessert to bring to my cousin’s for Christmas eve and figured it was the perfect opportunity. As I flipped through the cakes and pies, I kept stopping on Smitten Kitchen’s red velvet cake. I was a bit disappointed. This amazing book filled of creative, inspiring recipes and then there’s red velvet cake. How boring and amateur. I was almost a bit embarrassed for the cookbook. After about the fifth time I stopped on the recipe I finally saw it for its full glory: Red WINE Velvet Cake! My world turned upside down. There was booze! I’ve baked with beer a lot but never wine. And my favorite part as I read through Deb’s introduction to the recipe, “This is my favorite birthday cake for grown-ups, and yes I do mean grown-ups, because the wine does not fully bake out. (You’re welcome.)”.
I almost choked at the amount of sugar in the recipe. Because it got added in so early, and it was the first time making the recipe, I was hesitant to cut it as much as I normally would. After tasting the complete batter, however, I wish I had edited myself a bit more. As for the icing, I was excited to use marscapone for the very first time. I ended up increasing the amount of icing, to guarantee I would have enough to add thick fluffy layers in between each cake piece. I added a few tablespoons of heavy cream because the icing was too dense, even for spreading and I found that I only really needed about half the confectioners’ sugar recommended.
My biggest disappointment, as I find with all red velvet cakes was it just WASN’T RED. The recipe promised that in addition to giving the cake a nice boozy flavor, the red wine would make the cake red. Sadly no luck. This might be my last red velvet cake attempt. I know I could just use food coloring but I prefer not to add coloring or unnatural additives to my cooking. I can promise, while it might not be red, it’s still quite tasty.
Red Velvet Wine Cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3/4 c lightly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 c red wine (I used Cupcake’s Red Velvet…seemed appropriate)
- Generous splash vanilla extract
- 2 3/4 c all purpose flour
- 1 1/3 c Dutch cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 24 oz marscapone cheese (3 cups)
- 1 1/2 c confectioners’ sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Splash of vanilla extract
- 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream, as needed
MAKE THE CAKE Preheat oven to 325°F. Line three 9″ cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and lightly flour each pan. In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth. Add brown and granulated sugars and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add wine and vanilla, mixing well.
Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, directly over wet ingredients. Mix until three quarters combined then finish folding batter by hand with a rubber spatula. Divide batter between three prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool cakes completely before baking.
MAKE THE ICING In a medium bowl, mix marscapone, confectioners’ sugar, salt and vanilla until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. If icing is too thick, add 1 tablespoon heavy cream at a time, mixing well between each addition until desired consistency is achieved.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE Place first cake layer on a cake stand or plate and spread with one third icing. Repeat with remaining two layers. Chill the cake in the fridge until ready to serve.
- On the Eleventh Day of Christmas Recipes: Fruitcake (brooklynlocavore.wordpress.com)
- On the Eighth Day of Christmas Recipes: Christmas Pies (brooklynlocavore.wordpress.com)
- Red Velvet Cake (aoifenica.wordpress.com)