So it has been ages since I posted last, life has been busy! My trip to New York was amazing, just thinking about it makes me want to be back there. I loved the raw, living feeling of the place, it was as poor and run down and grey as any other city I have been to. But yet everyone was fighting to be there to get a bit of the city’s sparkle for themselves.
I loved the bit of Williamsburg where we stayed, with the noisy crowds of guys who would hang out outside the dry cleaners across the road and the regal Jewish women in their hats who lived next door. I loved the food and the art and the beautiful buildings and parks, but most of all I loved the people. The unabashed enthusiasm I saw in people was so refreshing, they wanted to know about you, and wanted you to succeed, just as they wanted to tell the world about what made them and their city awesome. New Yorkers are so confident and honest; I hope I brought a little of that back with me.
I got back from New York and was still living at a New York pace, which meant lots of time for baking in amongst everything else.
On a perfect spring evening a couple of weeks after I got home I made this delicious Red Wine Chocolate Cake. While it was in the oven I sat out in our little courtyard and ate a picnic dinner.
Dessert with a little mascarpone and a glass of the red wine to match and it was pretty much a perfect evening. I think it helped to remind me that the slower Melbourne pace wasn’t too bad, at least for now.
This cake is from my favourite New York food blogger, SmittenKitchen, and funnily enough she wrote about it while I was there in her city. It’s a grown up chocolate cake, you can taste the wine, but its subtle enough that it could just be a special spice instead. I decided that the double dairy topping was a bit elaborate since I am not meant to have dairy at all, so I just used mascarpone, but you can add half a cup of whipped cream to make the topping a lot lighter.
Red Wine Chocolate Cake
Very slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
85 grams butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup red wine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup good cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Spray the interior of a 9-inch round cake pan with a nonstick spray
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes
Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the red wine and vanilla. The batter will look a little odd and winey at this point but that is fine.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients. Mix until 3/4 combined with the electric beater, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula.
Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack. This cake keeps well at room temperature or in the fridge.
Topping: Whip mascarpone, sugar and vanilla together. Dollop generously on each slice of cake. It can also be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.