Think classy…think simple…usually, I dont think of these 2 words together. Usually things around me are more simple than classy. I would choose comfort over looks pretty much all the time…thats probably why all my cakes turn out tastier than they do prettier. Is not a problem for me though, flavor is much more important! But sometimes I wished I knew how to decorate a cake to get a good first impression.
I still have time to learn how to do that though…I’m planning on going to some cake decorating classes, but for now I try to go with the simplest covers and frostings that don’t need much work to look nice. Ganache will always be my topping of choice…the taste is as good as it gets (with the best ingredients of course) and with just letting it drip down the cake you end up with a mouth watering look.
I made this Bittersweet Chocolate & Cavernet Sauvignon Butter Cake from Luna Cafe first, on my graduation dinner, cause the names struck me…such a beautiful combination of words, this had to be good. I made it for my family and even though I slightly overbaked it cause I was using someone else’s oven, the texture of this cake was one I had never felt before…it was pure velvet I tell you…so incredibly smooth and soft…I cant describe it, you have to try it. My aunt loved it so much she wanted it for her birthday this month so I made it again (something I don’t usually do with recipes)
And it turned out wonderful again. I have to admit though, that my friends didn’t care much for it, but that has to do mostly with the fact that the flavor fo this cake is pretty grown up. A fine Cavernet Sauvignon (that the label said it had berries and dark chocolate undertones! Score!) melds perfectly with velvety cocoa and subtle spices and then the whole thing gets covered in the best ganache I’ve ever tasted (I blame the chocolate, El Rey Gran Samán 70% Dark Chocolate, only the finest of Venezuelan Chocolates and it was extremedly fresh that day) and is strong but smooth, rich but light and not too sweet. Is classy, but is oh so simple. If you want to impress, this is the cake for it!
I think a very important step to get the texture right is to really really beat that butter! and then don’t overmix the flour. The method is pretty basic for a chocolate cake, but instead of milk or buttermilk, you use the wine. I don’t know if I should like this as much as I did, but my paladar has always been pretty grown up. I always like things other “kids” of “teens” won’t even think about trying. But that is not to say I’m classy at all…I like simple things masquerade as classy…like this cake. I think the perfect song to go with this cake is “All Dead, All Dead” By Queen.
My Aunt’s name is Ruth. I have to tell you, this is one of the prettiest cakes I’ve ever made. I just spread the ganache on the top and sides of the cake with my pretty offset spatula (this thing makes decorating SO much easier!) and let is set. Then I made ths light cream cheese frosting for the name and the decorations just cause I wanted a bit of contrast to an otherwise monochromatic cake. It turned out kinda cute I think. I liked it but I think this cake deserves to look a little more impressive, but I did my best.
My mistake this time was that I let the cake chilled in the fridge. Wrong. This cake is at its best at room temperature. I realized this after one bite and immediatly warmed it a bit in the microwav, but my family had already eaten their slices cold. Don’t make the same mistake please, eat this cake at room temperature, perhaps even a little warm is great too.
The recipe came with a bittersweet glaze, but I opted to make a chocolate ganache with cream instead, is almost the same, but since I dont have a recipe for that (I just eyeball everything) I’m posting the one the recipe came with. Just make sure to use your best chocolate! Also, I baked this in a 9 inch round cake pan instead of a bundt pan. It worked perfectly. Please try this.
Bittersweet Chocolate & Cabernet Sauvignon Butter Cake
Recipe from: Luna Café
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, to brush pan
¼ cup sugar, to line pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened natural-process cocoa (NOT alkalized)
1 teaspoon ground ancho chile
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cool room temperature (1½ cubes)
1 cup extra-fine sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs, beaten lightly, cool room temperature
1/2 cup dry red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon or merlot
Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven with plenty of room above it and preheat the oven to 325°.
Brush a six-cup capacity bundt pan (or two 2½- to 3-cup capacity bundt pans) with melted butter. Pour ¼ cup sugar into the pan and tip the pan in all directions to coat evenly. Turn the pan upside down to remove any excess sugar that does not cling. (If you are using two smaller bundt pans, divide the butter and sugar between them.)
Over a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Using a mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter until smooth, and then add the sugar and continue creaming until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl a few times with a flexible spatula.
While beating at medium speed, add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.
Add eggs, a bit at a time, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Beating at low speed, add a third of the flour mixture and a third of the red wine. Repeat twice more with the remaining dry ingredients and wine, scraping the bowl with a flexible spatula between additions.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top feels springy and a metal skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. The internal temperature of the cake at its thickest center should read 190º-195º. The temperature will continue to rise a few degrees after removing the cake from the oven, so don’t overbake. (If using two smaller bundt pans, bake for 20-25 minutes.)
Cool the cake on the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes or so. Turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (65%-72% cacao), pistoles (wafers) or chopped
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, cool room temperature
Put the chopped chocolate in a 4-cup glass measuring cup and microwave for 1 minute.
Remove from the microwave and stir with a wooden chopstick or other wooden utensil to melt the chocolate. If it won’t melt completely, return it to the microwave for 10-second intervals, just until it is smooth when stirred. If you overheat the chocolate, it will seize and turn grainy. If this happens, you must begin again with a new batch of chocolate.
When the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, add all of the room temperature butter and stir with a plastic spatula until it is completely absorbed and the glaze is smooth. If it won’t blend completely, return to the microwave for a few seconds and try again. When finished, the glaze will be glossy, smooth and slightly thickened.