Friday, October 30, 2020


Aromatic cherry wine, a perfect blend of sweetness and tartness, is an amazing addition to desserts. Especially when it is a deeply chocolate fudge cake, paired with dark chocolate ganache filling, and a mousse-like chocolate frosting.
If you ask me, chocolate cakes will always rule over celebration desserts. There is something equally comforting and exhilarating in a tall chocolate cake, especially if it has many layers that meld and disappear into one another. And this cake is just that; with its seven layers of pure chocolate, and a fine amount of lush cherry wine caramel on top.
It is pure magic to witness the glossy blend of wine and sugar, swirling and cooking down into a sticky, sweet sauce. There is plenty of caramel for lavishly topping the fudgy, deeply chocolate layers, and for drizzling each of the rich cake slices once they are on the dessert plates, so do not be modest when embellishing.
As all of my cakes are, this one is quite effortless to make, yet very rewarding. The only part that requires a bit of time is the cherry wine caramel, but it is well worthwhile.
On a final note, I must say, this cake is simply amazing when slightly frozen. I do say that for many of my creations, but this one simply melts on each bite, especially when served with a cup of espresso.

For the chocolate fudge cake
225 grams plain flour
70 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
120 grams granulated sugar
120 grams dark brown sugar
300 millilitres whole milk
60 grams buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
120 millilitres vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
For the double chocolate ganache filling
300 grams dark cooking chocolate (60% cocoa solids)
300 millilitres double cream
30 grams softened butter
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
a pinch of salt
For the cherry wine caramel sauce
500 millilitres cherry wine
200 grams light brown sugar
a pinch of salt
For the decoration
150 millilitres double cream
15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
15 grams icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Start by making the cherry wine caramel. Pour the wine into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, tip in the sugar, and gently swirl the pan, in case there is some sugar left on the sides of it. Place it over medium-high heat and let it come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium, and let it simmer gently for about 40 minutes, or until reduced to a third of the volume. Remove from the heat, add a pinch of salt, and whisk well. Set it aside to cool down and thicken up.
To make the chocolate cakes, sift the flour into a large bowl, sift in the dark cocoa powder, and add in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk briefly and add in the sugars. Whisk vigorously, and pour all of the wet ingredients, as well as the vanilla bean paste. Whisk until blended, and immediately divide between four small round cake tins (15 cm) lined with baking parchment. Bake the cake layers immediately, in an oven preheated to 180°C, for about 15 minutes. Check them even before the 15-minute mark, to make sure they are not overbaked. Take them out of the oven, let them cool in the tins for about 20 minutes, and then turn them out onto a large wire rack, to cool completely.

To make the ganache, chop up the dark chocolate, and put it in a large bowl. Pour the double cream into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and place it over medium high. When the cream is just about to boil, remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Let it stand for about a minute, add in the butter and vanilla, and vigorously mix with a spatula until blended. Tap the bowl on the work surface a few times, tightly cover the top with cling film, and let it cool down to room temperature, so it becomes thick, but still easily spreadable.
To assemble the cake, level the cake layers if needed, and place the first one onto a serving platter. Place a cake ring around it, line it with a tall strip of acetate, and close the ring. Reserve a third of the cherry wine caramel for later. Take two heaping tablespoons of the caramel and drizzle it generously all over the first cake layer. No need to spread it, just drizzle it haphazardly. Carefully spread a third of the dark chocolate ganache on top of it, and top it with the second cake layer. Repeat the process until all of the cake and ganache is used up. Place the cake in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
To make the frosting, whip up the double cream with the addition of cocoa powder, icing sugar, and vanilla, until stiff peaks form. Remove the cake from the refrigerator, carefully remove the cake ring and the acetate, and spread the frosting all over it. Drizzle with some of the reserved caramel, and place it back into the refrigerator until serving. Yields 20 servings.

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