I love this cake for two reasons. First, it combines chocolate and red wine, two of my favorite ingredients. Second, the recipe was given to me by my friend Marta Carrozza.
Marta and her husband, Alessandro Maceroni, own Il Marchese del Grillo, a bed-and-breakfast in the heart of Sulmona. The small B & B has an open-air courtyard, four beautifully appointed rooms, and a terrace that boasts one of the best views of the city.
Il Marchese is one of the places our Abruzzo Presto-Domenica Cooks culinary tour guests stayed in September. Everyone loved it, and much of that had to do with Marta. Every morning she greeted us on the terrace with cappuccino and her beautiful smile. The breakfast table was always set with a selection of homemade cakes and pastries, plus fresh fruit, cheeses and salumi.
One morning, Marta put out a simple but really good chocolate cake. It was made by her mother-in-law, who, together with Marta’s mother, bakes most of the breakfast pastries for the B & B. The cake was lightly glazed and had a light, tender crumb. The secret to that tender crumb? Red wine. I don’t normally eat cake for breakfast but it was impossible to resist this one (you can see it in the top left corner in the photo below).
Marta sent me the recipe so that I could share it here on the blog. What better time than the holidays to post a recipe for a dessert called “Drunken Cake?” Also, it’s a wonderful recipe ~ easy to make and clever, too. It calls for melting together butter, sugar, chocolate and wine. Some of this chocolate sauce is mixed into the batter; the rest is poured over the cooled cake to glaze it.
As for the wine, I used Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a dry red that I figured would nicely counter the sweetness of the cake and also complement the bittersweet chocolate. Plus it’s from Abruzzo.
I know many people are madly baking cookies right now. But if you are short on time and still want to put out something for company, think about this cake from the heart of Sulmona.
This cake combines red wine and chocolate, with excellent results. It has a rich chocolate flavor and a light, tender crumb. In a brilliant but also practical touch, the recipe calls for melting together butter, sugar, chocolate and red wine. Some of the sauce is mixed into the batter; the rest is set aside and then poured over the cooled cake to glaze it. This recipe is slightly adapted from Il Marchese del Grillo B&B in Sulmona, Abruzzo.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (300 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 packet lievito pane degli angeli or 2 teaspoons baking powder (see NOTES)
- Pinch of fine salt
- 1 1/3 cups (300 g) sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks/200 g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup (100 g) dry red wine (I use Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)
- 3 ounces (80 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 packet powdered vanilla or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (see NOTES)
- 1/2 cup (100 g) sunflower or vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
Heat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Butter and lightly flour a 10-inch Bundt pan (see NOTES).
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Combine the sugar, butter, wine, chocolate and vanilla in the top of a double boiler or heavy-bottomed saucepan. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring often with a whisk until everything is melted together.
Set aside about 3/4 cup of the melted chocolate mixture and pour the rest into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the oil and then the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. Pour in the flour mixture and whisk until well combined and no lumps remain.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Set the cake, in the pan, on a rack to cool for 30 minutes. Loosen the cake from the pan and invert it onto a rack to cool completely.
Transfer the cooled cake to a platter and drizzle the reserved chocolate sauce on top. At this point the sauce should be somewhat thick but still pourable. If you would like a thicker glaze, put it in the fridge for a bit before pouring it over the cake.
Lievito pane degli angeli is a vanilla-scented powdered leavening agent used in Italian baking. You may substitute 2 teaspoons baking powder.
Italian baking often calls for vanilla in powder form. It comes in small packets and can be found at many Italian groceries. You may substitute pure vanilla extract.
Although this recipe does not call for cocoa powder, you can use it to coat the inside of your Bundt pan in place of flour. This will prevent any light-colored streaks of flour on the surface of the baked cake once you take it out of the pan.