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Few things make me as happy as sharing my Oma’s recipes on this blog. There’s something about seeing them translated and photographed that makes me feel like I’m keeping a record of she’s done for me. That’s why I was so happy that Oma’s Rotweinkuchen recipe won in the Patreon poll this month.
Rotweinkuchen has a truly unique flavor, and it’s considered a quite a crowd-pleaser among Germans. It may be a bit different from the bundts Americans are used to, though. It’s not nearly as dense as a pound cake, nor is it as moist and fudgy as a devil’s food cake. However, it’s not dry by any means. My husband, upon trying it for the first time, described it as “muffin-like.”
The standard recipe requires chocolate, a spoonful of cinnamon and a healthy splash of red wine. My grandmother’s variation had more specific traits: grated dark chocolate was used instead of just cocoa, and it was coated in a firm chocolate glaze.
Though the batter contains wine, the alcohol will bake off and the final cake is perfectly suitable to serve to children. In fact, my grandmother baked this cake in a simple round shape for my 5th birthday. Check out that cute candy decor! (What’s that other cake? Why, it’s something you may remember me naming as my all-time favorite cake: Gooseberry Baiser Torte!)
Today, I chose to use Nordicware’s Fleur De Lis bundt. I used a mix of cocoa powder and flour to prep the pan, which gave it a gorgeous two-toned finish. Honestly, the cake was so beautiful right out of the pan that glazing it felt like I was ruining a work of art.
If you end up with a cake this gorgeous right out of the pan and just want to finish it with a dusting of powdered sugar, I won’t blame you. However, it’s just not Rotweinkuchen for me without the glaze.
I also chose to add some icing flowers for an extra touch, but the decor is all up to you. Today it’s just about the recipe.
Chocolate Red Wine Cake
NOTE: If you use a bundt pan, be sure to prepare it properly. Most bundt disasters are set in motion before the batter is even made. This video from Nordicware is full of excellent instructions to make sure your bundt cake releases with minimal swearing.
300g (1 1/4 cup) butter
250g (1 1/4 cup) sugar
6 egg yolks
1 tbsp vanilla extract or 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
150g (1/3 lb.) finely grated dark chocolate
300g (scant 3 cups) well-sifted flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1½ tbsp cinnamon
1½ tbsp cocoa powder
(1/2 cup) 125ml liter red wine
6 egg whites
250g chopped dark chocolate
1 tbsp. corn syrup
2 tbsp. red wine (optional)
2-6 tbsp. heavy cream
Cooking spray with flour
Shortening and a 1:1 mix of cocoa:flour
1. Preheat your oven to 175°C/350°F. If using cooking spray, spray your bundt pan evenly and use a pastry brush to spread the coating out and get into any small cracks. If using the grease-and-flour method, carefully rub a thin layer of shortening all over the bundt pan using a paper towel. Be sure to get into every nook and cranny and to avoid any thick areas of shortening. Dust the inside with sifted cocoa/flour mix and tap out the excess.
2. Split about 1/3 of your sugar into a separate bowl to use later. Now combine the remaining sugar, butter and vanilla sugar or extract in a bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Add the yolks one by one, mixing between each addition until well incorporated.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and cocoa. Add 1/3 of the flour, then half the wine. Continue until you have used up both and everything has just combined. Now stir in the chocolate shavings.
4. In a clean bowl and with a clean beater, beat the egg whites until foamy. Continue beating while drizzling in the sugar you set aside earlier. Beat until you achieve stiff, glossy peaks. Carefully fold this meringue into your chocolate batter in three parts.
5. Pour the batter into your bundt pan. Tap the pan firmly on the counter 5 or 6 times to get rid of any large air bubbles. Next, swirl the pan a bit so that the batter coats the sides of the pan about 1″ higher than the level of the batter itself. Bake the cake for 45-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
6. Cool the cake on your counter for 10-15 minutes, then invert it onto a sheet of parchment. Lift off the pan and drape the cake loosely in saran wrap. Allow to cool completely.
7. In a bowl, combine all the glaze ingredients except for the wine and heavy cream. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each heating, until a smooth glaze forms. Stir in the wine and begin adding the cream a tablespoon at a time until it’s reached the kind of consistency you want for glazing. The glaze shown in the photos was on the thinner side and made with 6 tbsp heavy cream. Pour your glaze over the cake chill it to firm it up. Take it out about half an hour before serving to allow it to return to room temperature before it’s time to eat.
This cake keeps very well. My grandmother keeps this cake in the fridge and serves it for 10 days or more after baking without the flavor suffering. As long as it’s kept in an air-tight container, Rotweinkuchen can be enjoyed for quite a while. German cakes are made to be enjoyed with tea and coffee, so that’s how this is best served. I assure you that paired with a cup of coffee, you’d be hard pressed to find a better afternoon treat.
As a testament to my love for this cake, I even made another one for Thanksgiving with my in-laws! I loaded this one down with extra flowers, too. The photo isn’t as nice, but it proves a point: this cake is nice enough to bear repeated baking.
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