This is easily my favourite recipe from Deb Perelman’s first cookbook. You can read my review of it here. The texture is superb – rich, moist and very chocolatey. Depending on the wine you use it will either sit quietly in the background or be very prominent – adjust for your audience!
Red Wine Velvet Cake with Whipped Mascarpone
From Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, reproduced by kind permission of Square Peg.
For the cake
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
400g plain flour
430g dark brown sugar
150g granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
530ml red wine (any kind you like)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
130g Dutch cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon table salt
For the filling
450g mascarpone cheese
280g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat your oven to 160C/fan 140C/Gas 3. Line the bottom of three 23cm round cake tins with parchment, and either butter and lightly flour the parchment and exposed sides of the pans, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray. In a large bowl, at the medium speed of an electric miser, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat well, then the red wine and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven. Sift the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients. Mix until three-quarters combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula. Divide batter between prepared tins. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of each layer comes out clean. The top of each cake should be shiny and msooth, like a puddle of chocolate. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.
If your cakes have domed a bit and you want nice even layers in your stack, you can trim the tops. use a long serrated knife, held horizontally, and use gentle back and forth motions with your hand on top of the cake to even it out. Share the cake scraps with whoever is around; no-one will mind helping you remove the ‘debris’.
For the filling
In a medium bowl, beat the mascarpone with the icing sugar, pinch of salt, and vanilla extract at medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Assemble the cake
Place the first cake layer on a cake stand or plate, and spread with one-third of the filling. Repeat with remaining two layers. Chill the cake in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.