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.
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
- 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
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:
- Whisk together the cake batter like you would any cake recipe, then turn into a greased 9-inch round cake tin.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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Red Wine Chocolate Cake
- ½ cup unsalted butter , 4 ounces, melted, plus more for greasing the pan or use floured cooking spray
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ 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
- 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
- ¼ 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
Make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F, grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter or floured cooking spray and line with parchment paper; set aside.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.
- Whisk together the granulated sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl until pale.
- Whisk in 1 cup Cabernet and the vanilla.
- Add flour mixture to the liquid mixture and whisk to combine; don't overmix.
- 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:
- 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.
- Stir in the confectioners sugar and 2 tablespoons Cabernet. Let stand at room temperature until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Invert cake onto a plate, and invert again onto a platter.
- Evenly spread the ganache on top, letting it drip down sides if desired.
- 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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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