Looking for a show stopping cake this Christmas? This red wine chocolate cake combined the best of two worlds: chocolate cake is of course incredibly popular and universally adored more than a traditional fruit cake which divides people. But then if you add the goodness of red wine to give it an unmistakable flavour and a whipped red wine dark chocolate ganache you will have a Christmas to remember. Plus red wine always helps when dealing with relatives no? ;)
This is a very rich, moist cake but what I really loved was the flavour from the red wine and the slight tangyness to the ganache. It was like eating my favourite chocolate. And I used some red currants, rosemary wreath and icing sugar to bring home the Christmas theme.
When our friends Louise and Viggo had a Christmas lunch this past weekend I knew that I had to make this cake for the occasion. For starters there was a big crowd of almost a dozen which helps when you're making a large 2 tier chocolate cake. And everyone there loves red wine.
Do you know how they're always picking flavours like red currants and cherries in red wine? I decided to go down that route and used redcurrant jelly in the cake and cherry jam between the layers and the ganache would also be red wine infused but of a whipped texture to counter the richness of the cake.
Viggo even brought out a special red wine for the occasion, a 2006 sweet Shiraz that had flavours of cherry in it. The owner of the winery was also a chemist and he told Viggo that the perfect accompaniment to the wine was chocolate cake. Even though we feasted on ham, prawns, turducken and a multitude of delicious sides, some people still had second slices of this double decker cake.
At the lunch we opened our Christmas crackers, played charades, recited corny jokes, had wine, ate more ham (okay that was me that went into the fridge to retrieve more ham!). And we also did our very first Mannequin Challenge video. I had seen some online (my favourite one is the one in the police station or the dog one) so I suggested that we try it.
Half of the people had never heard of a Mannequin Challenge before so Viggo pulled up some ones on youtube on their television and once everyone understood what it was, they got to work posing. It's not a bad effort, especially for the first one and camera shy Mr NQN was more than happy to be the one weaving in and out of people filming it all. We all loved the result although it isn't going to win any awards but I think it inspired us to think of new settings for the challenge!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you done the mannequin challenge yet? And how do you stnad on fruit cake, love it or hate it? And do you love red wine?
And if you're looking for other Christmas cakes take a peek at these ones!
Red Wine Chocolate Cake
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
This cake and frosting are best made on the day before and then you just need to decorate it on the day.
- 190g/6.71ozs. butter, melted
- 550g/19.43ozs. dark chocolate
- 1.5 cups brown sugar
- 7 eggs, at room temperature
- 1.5 cups almond meal
- 3/4 cup cake flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup red wine
- 125g redcurrant jelly
For red wine chocolate ganache
- 400g/14.13ozs. dark Chocolate
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup cream
- 2/3 cup cherry jam
- red currants
- Gold leaf
- A rosemary "wreath"
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 160C/320F and line 2 x 20cm/8inch round tins on the base and sides. Melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave or over a double boiler and mix until smooth. Then whisk in the brown sugar and eggs, one at a time.
Step 2 - In a bowl whisk the almond meal, flour and baking powder and then in a jug or another bowl whisk the wine and redcurrant jelly together. Add the flour, a little at a time alternating with the red wine mixture until you get a smooth batter. If you get kumps, pass it through a sieve to get a smooth batter.
Step 3 - Divide into the two prepared tins and bake for 45-55 minutes or until the skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool completely and wrap in cling film.
Step 4 - While it is baking make a syrup out of the red wine. Place in a small saucepan, lid off and the simmer until reduced by half (you want 1/2 a cup of red wine syrup at the end). Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth. Whisk the red wine syrup and cream together and add to the chocolate while it is melting. Allow to set to a scoopable consistency in the fridge (I left it in the fridge overnight). _
The darker colour on the left is the ganache before it has been whipped while the lighter colour is once it has been whipped.
Step 5 - The next morning, whip the ganache in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. It will take 4-5 minutes and you'll have to scrape down the sides every minute or so. Spread a third of the cherry jam onto one cake and then some whipped ganache and then add the other cake on top and repeat with the jam and whipped ganache too.
Step 6 - Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tip with ganache and pipe little dabs next to each other. Top with fresh redcurrants and a rosemary wreath and then sprinkle with icing sugar.