Cabernet Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache And Sea Salt

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Red Wine Chocolate Cake (From Scratch!) — Now you don’t have to choose between dessert or wine since this is BOTH!! Rich chocolate cake spiked with Cabernet and topped with a silky ganache that also has Cabernet in it! Divine, amazing, MAKE THIS CAKE!!

Red Wine Chocolate Cake (From Scratch!) — Now you don’t have to choose between dessert or wine since this is BOTH!! Rich chocolate cake spiked with Cabernet and topped with a silky ganache that also has Cabernet in it! Divine, amazing, MAKE THIS CAKE!!

Moist Chocolate Wine Cake Recipe

I have a recipe I posted years ago for Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache. That cake has been a tried and true reader favorite over the years. It is an easy, no mixer cake, and the ganache just takes it to another level.

So when I stumbled on this recipe for an easy, no mixer cake that involves 1 cup of Cabernet Sauvignon in the batter and more in the ganache, I knew I had to give it a try and I am thrilled that I did.

Loved, loved, loved this cake and it’s going to be my new dinner party cake. The cake is rich, very moist, elegant-tasting, deeply chocolaty, and you can definitely taste the richness of flavor that the cabernet imparts.

But it’s easy, super easy, you don’t even need a mixer, people will think you slaved over it, and I guarantee it will knock everyone’s socks off. 

It makes an excellent holiday entertaining cake for Christmas or New Year’s parties, as well as a great way to say I love you on Valentine’s Day.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake (From Scratch!) — Now you don’t have to choose between dessert or wine since this is BOTH!! Rich chocolate cake spiked with Cabernet and topped with a silky ganache that also has Cabernet in it! Divine, amazing, MAKE THIS CAKE!!

Ingredients in Red Wine Chocolate Cake

If you’ve never made chocolate cake with red wine before, you’re in for a treat! 

For the chocolate red wine cake itself, you’ll need: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cocoa powder
  • Baking soda
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Egg
  • Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • Vanilla extract

For the red wine chocolate ganache, you’ll need: 

  • Semi-sweet chocolate bar
  • Unsalted butter 
  • Light corn syrup
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • Flaky sea salt
Red Wine Chocolate Cake (From Scratch!) — Now you don’t have to choose between dessert or wine since this is BOTH!! Rich chocolate cake spiked with Cabernet and topped with a silky ganache that also has Cabernet in it! Divine, amazing, MAKE THIS CAKE!!

How to Make Red Wine Chocolate Cake 

A chocolate red wine cake might sound complicated, but I’d argue that this recipe is easier than your average chocolate cake. The only special ingredient is the red wine — easy! 

Here’s an overview of the baking process: 

  1. Whisk together the cake batter like you would any cake recipe, then turn into a greased 9-inch round cake tin.
  2. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. Let the cake cool completely in the pan before frosting it with the chocolate ganache. It’s a cinch to make and comes together in the microwave in just a couple minutes. Let it stand for about 5 minutes before adding it to the cake so it sets up a bit.

A Note About the Red Wine Chocolate Ganache

The red wine chocolate ganache is a little bit different from the types I usually make, which are essentially just semi-sweet chocolate chips and heavy cream.

Instead, this ganache has chopped chocolate (I like Trader Joe´s 72% Pound Plus Bar or use another high quality bar of chocolate that you chop), butter, corn syrup, powdered sugar, and more Cabernet.

It may not look like you have enough or that you could definitely use a bit more but trust me, it’s very rich, the cake is rich, and more would be overkill. That’s a big statement for me because I love frosting and ganache and always want extra but you don’t need it.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake (From Scratch!) — Now you don’t have to choose between dessert or wine since this is BOTH!! Rich chocolate cake spiked with Cabernet and topped with a silky ganache that also has Cabernet in it! Divine, amazing, MAKE THIS CAKE!!

What’s the Best Red Wine for Cakes? 

I’ve only used Cabernet Sauvignon for this recipe, but you can likely use any red wine you like. 

I have not tested the red wine cake recipe using other similarly bold reds like a zinfandel, syrah, merlot, or malbec, but I’m sure they would work just fine.

This cake is about the wine. And so is the ganache. I used Two Buck Chuck (Charles Shaw) from Trader Joe’s, which is now $3.99, and it worked great. I don’t think you need to use the fanciest wine out there, that’s for sure, but just use something you can drink and enjoy and Two Buck Chuck was good enough for us.

Can I Omit the Wine? 

If there is a reason you don’t drink alcohol, I wouldn’t suggest this cake for you. There are a slew of alternate chocolate cake recipes that I adore in the Related Recipes section below the recipe card and I recommend one of those instead.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake (From Scratch!) — Now you don’t have to choose between dessert or wine since this is BOTH!! Rich chocolate cake spiked with Cabernet and topped with a silky ganache that also has Cabernet in it! Divine, amazing, MAKE THIS CAKE!!

Can I Make This Recipe as a Layer Cake? 

When baking I prefer to keep things simple. If I don’t have to stack cake layers and mess with extra frosting, I won’t. 

With that said, you’d likely be fine to double the recipe to create a two-layer cake. However, I’ve never tested this myself so I can’t say for sure if that would work. 

Can This Recipe Be Made in Advance? 

Yes! You can assemble the chocolate red wine cake with ganache up to 24 hours in advance. I’m comfortable serving frosted cakes at room temperature, but do what you think is best. 

Red Wine Chocolate Cake (From Scratch!) — Now you don’t have to choose between dessert or wine since this is BOTH!! Rich chocolate cake spiked with Cabernet and topped with a silky ganache that also has Cabernet in it! Divine, amazing, MAKE THIS CAKE!!

Tips for Making Chocolate Cake with Red Wine 

The flaky sea salt that’s sprinkled on top of the chocolate wine cake is seriously perfection here — do not skip it. If you have never tried the combination of salt and chocolate, you need to get on board immediately. The salt complements the chocolate in the most luxurious way.

The crunchiness the salt imparts into this super moist cake and silky ganache is complementary texture heaven. It also cuts some of the richness of the cake-ganache combo. I wouldn’t say sweetness because this is not an overly sweet cake, but it just balances everything perfectly.

Definitely use a flaky sea salt and not table salt here. I like Maldon but there are so many fancy, artisanal salts these days that you can get adventurous and use a pink Himalayan salt or something fabulous like that.

Pin This Recipe

Yield: 12

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Rich chocolate cake spiked with Cabernet and topped with a silky ganache that also has Cabernet in it! Divine, amazing, MAKE THIS CAKE!!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter 
(4 ounces), melted, plus 
more for greasing the pan or use floured cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened 
cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon, at room temperature (I used Charles Shaw from Trader Joe's, aka Two Buck Chuck)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganache 

  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate baking bar, finely chopped
 (I use Trader Joes 72% Chocolate Pound Plus Bar)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar, sifted if yours is particularly lumpy
  • 2 tablespoons Cabernet Sauvignon
  • flaky sea salt, to taste - I like Maldon(https://amzn.to/2w0jVP) and prefer to go heavier handed, about 1 tablespoon

Instructions

Make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter or floured cooking spray and line with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk together the granulated sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl until pale.
  4. Whisk in 1 cup Cabernet and the vanilla.
  5. Add flour mixture to the liquid mixture and whisk to combine; don't overmix.
  6. Turn batter out into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 28 to 30 minutes. (See Note 1 below). Let cake cool completely in pan.

Make the ganache:

  1. Place chopped chocolate, diced butter, and corn syrup in a large microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power in 20-second intervals until melted, stirring in between intervals.
  2. Stir in the confectioners sugar and 2 tablespoons Cabernet. Let stand at room temperature until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Invert cake onto a plate, and invert again onto a platter.
  4. Evenly spread the ganache on top, letting it drip down sides if desired.
  5. Evenly sprinkle with flaky sea salt and let cake stand until ganache sets a bit more, about 20 to 30 minutes before slicing into wedges and serving.

Notes

Bake time: I adapted this recipe from Food & Wine and their recipe says to bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes but my cake was perfectly baked in 29 minutes. In my oven, it would have been completely burned if I baked it for that long, but as always, bake until the cake is done in your oven.

Adapted from Food & Wine.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 302Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gSodium: 211mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 2gSugar: 26gProtein: 3.5g

More Chocolate Cake Ideas: 

ALL OF MY CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPES! 

Triple Chocolate Cherry Cake — An extremely moist, rich cake that’s so easy and studded with cherries! The frosting is silky smooth and a favorite chocolate frosting! A 10 out of 10 showstopper!

Triple Chocolate Cherry Cake - An extremely moist, rich cake that's so EASY and studded with CHERRIES!! The frosting is silky smooth and my new FAVORITE chocolate frosting!! A 10 out of 10 showstopper!!


The Best Triple Chocolate Layer Cake — Rich, intense, and everything you crave in decadent chocolate cake! Along with tender chocolate cake there’s chocolate cream cheese frosting, chocolate chips, and melted chocolate!

The Best Triple Chocolate Layer Cake - Rich, intense, and everything you crave in DECADENT chocolate cake!! Along with tender chocolate cake there's chocolate cream cheese frosting, chocolate chips, and melted chocolate!!

Coca-Cola Cake — One can of Coke in the cake and another can of Coke in the frosting! Easy no-mixer cake that’s supremely moist! Tastes like a Texas sheet cake spiked with Coke!

Coca-Cola Cake - One cake of Coke in the cake and another can of Coke in the frosting!! EASY no-mixer cake that's supremely moist! Tastes like a Texas sheet cake spiked with Coke!!

The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache – The best chocolate cake I’ve ever had and the easiest scratch cake to make! Nothing fussy or complicated and delivers amazing results every time!

The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache on a white plate

The Best and The Easiest Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes – One bowl, no mixer, so easy! The warm, gooey, fudgy chocolate center is heavenly! Better than any restaurant versions!

The Best and The Easiest Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes - One bowl, no mixer, so easy! The warm, gooey, fudgy chocolate center is heavenly! Better than any restaurant versions! Best chocolate cake EVER!!

Turtle Poke Cake – The flavor of the famous candy in a decadent chocolate cake with tons of caramel and pecans! Easy, super soft and moist, and a crowd favorite!

Turtle Chocolate Poke Cake - The flavor of the famous candy in a decadent chocolate cake with tons of CARAMEL and pecans!! Easy, super soft and moist, and a crowd FAVORITE! One of the BEST CAKES ever!!

Chocolate Poke Cake — A FAST and EASY cake that’s perfect for all the chocaholics! Moist and tender chocolate cake, filled with chocolate syrup, and topped with whipped chocolate frosting!

Chocolate Poke Cake - A FAST and EASY cake that's perfect for all the chocaholics! Moist and tender chocolate cake, filled with chocolate syrup, and topped with whipped chocolate frosting! A no-fuss chocolate cake that everyone will adore!

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Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

    1. You could try that and see how it works although it’s a very moist cake I doubt you’ll need to add any more liquid!

  1. Hello, I an planning to try this cake but I’m wondering if I can substitute the corn syrup in the ganache with something else. Any suggestions?

    1. It’s only 1 tbsp. I would just use it. It really gives a glossy lovely look and texture to the ganache and helps it out. Perhaps a bit of butter? I really don’t know though since I have only made it as written.

  2. Hi, Averie! This looks amazing! I am thinking of making it for a friend’s birthday tonight; she loves all things chocolate and wine, so this is perfect! However, one of our other friends who will be present if gluten free. Is this cake an easy swap for gluten free flour or is there anything else I should know/add if I do swap the flour?

  3. I made this cake for a friend’s birthday and it was fantastic. Glad I saw your note about the 29 minute cook time. Mine would have been way overdone if I left if much longer. The cab gave a great earthiness to the dark chocolate cake. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes. I totally forgot to take a picture of the cake to post. I am glad I found your site so at least I can see someone’s awesome pictures. :)

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad you made this cake for your friend’s bday and loved it!

      And thanks for the compliments on my photos!

    1. I don’t bake at elevation so am not familiar with the tricks to do but google it since I know there is tons out there about changes that should be made.

  4. i made this for my husband who is a wino and was a little worried I wouldn’t like it because I’m not a wine drinker but it was perfect…just enough flavor of wine to be good for him but not too much to turn me off. the cake was rich and chocolately and I will definitely make it again! thank you so much

  5. Averie, Thank you for this amazing recipe! Followed exactly as written and advised regarding the baking time (I left it in for 33 minutes and I’m at 3070 elev). This is the best dessert I’ve ever made. My family agreed! Happy New Year!!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad you and your family think this is the best dessert you’ve ever made!

  6. Hi Averie. Crazy question. We don’t drink alcohol. What can I use asa substitute for wine? The cake looks divine…, thanks

    1. This cake is really a cake that is made with alcohol. I listed many other chocolate cake recipes that I have as alternatives in the related recipe section. This cake however it’s made with alcohol and there really are no substitutes. Maybe you could try a non-alcoholic red wine, that would be my only suggestion.

    1. I would say a few days in advance is fine and I would just keep at room temp, add ganache shortly before serving.

  7. Hi averie – i cant find corn syrup in our place. Can i use glucose syrup instead? Also, can i use pinot noir instead of cabernet?thanks in advance!

    1. I’ve never used glucose syrup so I cannot say for sure but if you think they are similar then you can try it. And yes to pinot noir.

  8. Is this recipe the same with what they call chocolate liquor cake?or if not, do you have choco liquor cake recipe because i want to make it. Thanks in advance!

    1. I’m not really sure if they are one in the same. I can tell you that this cake is excellent and in my top 5 cakes of my life and I’ve made hundreds.

  9. Hi Averie, Inwant to try this cake soon! I just have a question regarding the ganache..did you try using dark chocolate instead of semi sweet?upon reading some blogs, dark chocolate tastes better with wine in the ganache…just curious if what will be the outcome if i change it to dark chocolate…

    Also in the batter, the recipe requires 1cup wine. Does the cake tastes alcohol?

    Is the recipe works if i only put cabernet in the ganache? Thanks in advance

    1. 72% which is what I used is pretty dark. It’s more dark than it is semi sweet. I would not go too much darker. When you get into the realm of 80% or so, it can get pretty bitter. The line of ‘semi sweet’ vs. ‘dark’ is a bit subjective. I would go by percentages rather than descriptions since that’s an absolute.

      Does the cake tastes alcohol? Please re-read what I wrote towards the opening section. I elaborated about my thoughts there. To me, I like the taste of wine and you can taste it but in a good way. If you don’t like wine, this is not the cake for you to make.

  10. This cake looks luscious! I love cabernet so this is right up my alley. Also, absolutely love the sea salt on the frosting. YUM!

    Rating: 5
    1. Salt + chocolate + cabernet….seriously this cake was a personal favorite. It takes a lot to get me excited after all these years :)

  11. I’m dying!!! Chocolate, wine, and sea salt?! There couldn’t be a more delicious combination. Absolutely cannot wait to try this; so creative!!

    1. It’s soooo good. Honestly in the top 2-3 personal fave desserts of the year for me, easily.

  12. This looks amazing! I love to drive my family crazy by saying “It’s a dessert wine!” from Grease, but now I will flip the switch and say, “It’s a wine dessert!” when I make this, lol. Can’t wait to try it!

  13. I think this is the first time I’ve come across a cake made with wine but dark chocolate and red wine are a delicious match so I bet this is fabulous…..and flaky salt on top of that dreamy ganache–yes and yum!

    1. Everything about this cake is dreamy. Easily hands down my fave cake I have made this year. Sooooo good. A total personal fave!