Blackberry Red Wine Chocolate Cake

My name is Lindsay and I have a problem.

Apparently I only bake alcoholic cakes.

For the last year at least, every cake I’ve made has been tipsy. Kirsch and beer and bourbon, oh my! It was only a matter of time before I started hitting the red wine.

Blackberry Red Wine Chocolate Cake

For Taylor’s birthday this year, as usual, he requested “chocolate cake, just a good, moist chocolate cake.” You’d think he’d know by now that there’s no way I’m going to make him “just” a chocolate cake. But chocolate as a starting point? That I can definitely work with.

For a while now I’ve been eying this bottle of blackberry wine. A sticky sweet wine made locally here in Tennessee. It’s not exactly the kind of wine you pour and have a glass or two with dinner. Way too sweet for that. It’s practically fruit juice. Highly alcoholic fruit juice.

I felt that wine was destined for something more.

Simply swapping the typical black coffee in a classic chocolate cake recipe with the dark and fruity spirit produced a decadently moist chocolate cake unlike anything I’ve ever had before. Subtle notes of fruit came through the rich dark chocolate, tantalizing the palette without screaming “Hey! Look at me, I’m filled with wine!” Layered with blackberry preserves and whipped vanilla buttercream, and topped with a dramatic chocolate ganache drizzle, this definitely isn’t just another chocolate cake.

Blackberry Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Looking at these photos now, I should have been more ambitious with the drizzle. I guess I was afraid the chocolate would cascade down the entire side of the cake, overflowing onto the cake stand and the table below (read: mess). While I was going for glamorous, I think what I ended up with was a bit more sanguine. Vampire-esque almost. And kind of creepy. But delicious. Oh. So. Delicious.

Blackberry Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Yield: 1 8-inch layer cake (halve for a 6-inch cake)

Ingredients:

For cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark or dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup blackberry wine or red wine
  • 1/2 cup light olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For frosting:

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup blackberry preserves

For chocolate glaze:

  • 3.5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4-5 tablespoons warm water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and line three 8-inch round baking pans with parchment paper. Butter parchment.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, whisking until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, wine, oil, and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Divide evenly among prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack until cool enough to handle. Run a small knife around the edges of each pan, then gently invert onto wire racks. Cakes should come out cleanly. Allow to cool completely. At this point, the cakes can be frozen until ready to use, up to 1 month. Simply wrap each layer individually in a double layer of plastic wrap and then store inside a large zip top bag (I find frozen cakes to be much easier to work with later, and always freeze mine even if I’m finishing the cake the next day).
  4. To prepare frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until very pale and creamy, about 8 minutes. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add cream and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes more. Add more cream or powdered sugar as needed to acheive desired consistency.
  5. To assemble, level each cake layer by cutting of the domed top with a long serrated knife. Place one layer, flat side down, on a cake stand or serving platter. Spread half of the blackberry preserves evenly on top, followed by approximately 1/2 cup of buttercream. Position second layer on top and press to adhere. Repeat with remaining preserves, another 1/2 cup of buttercream, and final cake layer, flat side up.
  6. Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream. This “crumb coat” will make frosting the cake easier. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to allow this crumb coat to set. At this point if you will be coloring the remaining buttercream, add your food coloring to the mixing bowl and beat until color is uniform.
  7. Remove cake from refrigerator and frost with remaining buttercream, reserving some for piping decorative details if desired. Return cake to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, to prepare the glaze, place chopped chocolate and heavy cream in a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition, until the chocolate is of a good pouring consistency. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes or until lukewarm.
  9. Pour glaze slowly on top of chilled cake, spreading to edges with an offset spatula, allowing the chocolate to drip over the edges. Continue pouring until desired drizzle effect is achieved (you may not use the entire amount). Chill until set.

Cake base adapted from My Baking Addiction, chocolate glaze from Bakers Royale.

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148 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. um, wow. Lindsay. This is gorgeous. I love the star sprinkles on top. And I LOVE the wine in this. You don’t have a problem, in my book. I would love a large slice of this. Taylor is a lucky lucky man!!

  2. This is beautiful! And I adore the little gold stars..

  3. Gorgeous cake! I love the chocolate drip!

  4. This is sooo pretty! I’m loving all of your boozy cakes. :-) Happy Birthday, Taylor!

  5. It looks so moist! And there’s nothing wrong with boozy cakes :)

  6. You are one talented, wild, woman! This looks insane!

  7. Nothing beats a good boozy cake and this one looks perfect :)

  8. This looks…..insane! Gorgeous photos as always, too!

  9. I hope that one day I can produce a cake that is half as beautiful as that one!

  10. Apparently I don’t bake alcoholic cakes enough! And I love the star glitter on the cake.

  11. I never thought about freezing layers before frosting them. Do you frost them straight out of the freezer or do they have to defrost a little first?

  12. I have had a hard time finishing a bottle of wine since my kids were born. This is the perfect solution. (Great, now I’m adding sugar and fat to the alcohol). Your cake is gorgeous though!

  13. Awww! This is so cute! I love the star sprinkles

  14. In a couple of months all the wild dewberry vines are going to start producing some berries…I know what I will be using mine in this year!

  15. Such a stunning cake! I love the trickles of glaze down the side and I’m so intrigued by your use of blackberry wine, it sounds so delicious!

  16. I just have to make this…I just have to!! I think I want to join this particular AA group you have going on over here!! :)

  17. Gorgeous! I love the gold stars on top!

  18. Yum! That looks so delicious! Great frosting job; simple and elegant. I’ve got to get myself some of those adorable star sprinkles.

  19. What a dramatic cake! Those sprinkles are adorable

  20. Haha, I see nothing wrong with only baking alocholic cakes ;) Looks delicious!

  21. This cake is so beautiful! It sounds absolutely delicious too

  22. Gorgeous photos, gorgeous cake! It looks so beautiful, almost to pretty to eat!! Almost is the key word here!! :)

  23. I had to wipe the drool off the keyboard. This sounds delicious. Definitely pinning this.

  24. Wow….I don’t think I’ve ever bookmarked a recipe so quick. Will definitely be making this cake soon. :)

  25. Boozy cakes make me happy. I totally cheat and make one with a cake box and it looks nowhere as lovely as yours!

  26. It really hits the theme of the “Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern perfectly. That is a gorgeous cake. I really like the idea of the blackberry wine, too.

  27. This looks amazing. And who could blame you for boozing up your treats, I mean when talking chocolate or booze… what would ever go wrong! Love it!

  28. Im not a big cake eater but if this was in front of me I might eat the entire thing. It looks and sounds delicious!

  29. Wow, wow, wow. That cake looks A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!

  30. Gorgeous. What a stunner! What a great way to celebrate a birthday – eat your cake and “drink” it too!

  31. Just visited your website for the first time, coming from Pinterest and I am loving it already! Nothing wrong with a little bit of alcohol. Alcohol never solves problems, but neither does milk! ;-) I can’t wait to give this recipe a try. Thanks!

  32. Beautiful recipe pictures and post! Sound amazing!

  33. Amazing idea just swapping the coffee for the wine–I always wonder how to incorporate booze into cakes without soaking!

  34. This cake looks absolutely gorgeous. And I love the vampire-esque drizzle.

  35. Lindsay, this is like food art! WOW!!

    The fact that you made this, created it, and kept those layers and that ganache/glaze totally black and not a dribble on the side of the white cake..you need to write another book about cakes now!

  36. just found your blog via Pinterest. Love it, love it, love it! Bookmarking you now…

    by the way, how do you make the frosting on the side of your cake so straight-edged and smooth like that? do i need a special spatula?

    thanks,
    jen

    • All you need is a large offset spatula and lots of practice. :) A turnstyle cake stand can help too, although that’s not something I have. My cakes are far from perfect, but still plenty impressive. :)

  37. It looks perfect!!! :)

  38. What a tempting cake. I can just imagine how that fruit liqueur enhanced the taste. Those dribbles of chocolate streaming down the sides make me want to lick the screen. Love the little stars too. Are they hard to find?

  39. yuuum, all i can say!

  40. I LOVE the idea of using a “dessert” wine (I use that term loosely with blackberry wine) in cake. I’m trying it out next time I need to make a grown up cake.

  41. WOW! Every time I think I’ve seen the prettiest cake, then this comes along and my mouth hits the floor. The chocolate oozing down the side of that cake is quite possibly the most stunning thing ever!

  42. This is gorgeous…fabulous idea!

  43. love it for two reasons! 1) alcohol is involved and 2) it is gorgeous!

  44. I am with you… I’m thinking cakes are made better with a little ‘ole water moccasin juice (as my step-dad calls liquor).

    Love, love, love your recipes… the white chocolate cherry cookies and blackberry red wine chocolate cake-YUM! Can’t wait to try them. Thanks!

  45. This looks fantastic. I have the stars all ready to go, too! I made Cabernet-Blackberry cupcakes yesterday and they were great, so this sounds particularly interesting. I’m wondering if Port would work with this, or should I stick to the berry wine?

  46. You are one talented cake maker! Gorgeous presentation and the cake looks absolutely fabulous! I have been meaning to do a red wine chocolate cake for quite some time so this looks to be my go-to recipe!

  47. I love the shot of the cake against the red background. And I found the deco neither sanguine nor vampiric, but actually quite elegant. : )

  48. Absolutely sensational. Stunning and – I do not doubt – utterly delicious. Hurrah for the alcoholic cake.

  49. Your cakes always look incredible and this one is no exception! And I think the frosting looks rather beautiful. Lucky Taylor!

  50. Gorgeous! I love alcoholic cakes too… I’m going to make it!

  51. I don’t think baking alcoholic cakes is a problem…
    Thanks for sharing such a lovely looking recipe! xoxo.

  52. This looks amazing! I feel guilty just by looking at it!

  53. Wine cake…ok I’m sold! Pretty incredible pictures BTW. Great blog as well, the sliced piece especially looks like something I would gladly order for dessert at a restaurant.

  54. What a delicious looking cake! I think I might have to make this for Valentine’s Day. Thank you for sharing!

    : ))
    Jen

  55. WOW that is some cake – just gorgeous!

  56. I am IN LOVE!!! This looks amazing…I am going to have to try it!!

  57. LOve boozy cakes and this sounds just the type I want to bake. And that dramatic drizzle is sooo amazing :)

  58. Oh my gosh, you keep torturing me with cake! I love the gold star decorations!

  59. I don’t see the ingredient listing for the buttercream. I could have overlooked it.

  60. Blackberry Wine? Blackberry Wine Cake? Edible star glitters?
    Hadn’t heard of any of those!
    The cake looks sooooooo drop dead gorgeous even with the simple frosting!
    Love the glitters :)

  61. This looks gorgeous! Well done!

    I little bit of booze here and there is perfectly acceptable.

    xox

  62. What a beautiful cake! I’ve had Guinness in Gingerbread and cupcakes before, but never wine. Silly question…does it matter what type of red wine you use? What do you recommend?

  63. That looks so sexy. The wine would add a wonderful flavour with the chocolate. Well done!!

  64. I would have totally put some of the wine in the ganache.

  65. Beautiful photos. Love the combination of chocolate and wine :)

  66. this cake is gorgeous! i love the chocolate drizzle and the gold stars. i can’t even imagine how good this tastes with that blackberry wine :)

  67. I could eat that entire cake. Yes I could. Gorgeous!!

  68. My dad keeps a bottle of blackberry brandy in the house AT ALL TIMES… (for when he has a ‘sore throat’). Do you think it would just take a little less brandy than wine? And none of us have a problem with your alcoholic cakes :)

  69. Just found this cake and your blog on the Kitchn. Love them both!

  70. That cake is gorgeous!!

  71. Gosh, I think I am in the same boat as you, all food can and should be infused with wine and liquors of all sorts if possible. The blackberry chocolate cake with those gold stars are absolutely dreamy!

  72. So beautiful! I’m in love with my version Ina Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake, but I might have to branch out. I might try it with a combo of red wine and framboise to try to get something similar…

  73. If you have a problem, it is one I would LOVE to have! This looks unbelievably good!

  74. Gorgeous, gorgeous cake. I’m in favor of the blackberry wine! You did a great job of icing the cake. I personally know how difficult it is to smooth the icing, even on top of a crumb coat.

  75. You are my hero! Beautiful cake, can’t wait to make it.

  76. That looks gorgeous. I have a bottle of chocolate wine I’ve been trying to decide what to do with. Although the thought of the blackberry taste on top of the chocolate adds something the chocolate wine wouldn’t.

  77. Booze is a favorite of ours in desserts, too. Is this saying something about us? ;-). I love the idea of the sweet fruity wine in this cake. Sounds brilliant to me.

  78. Making this for aa friend’s birthday. Wal mart only has 9″ cake pans. Life is over.

  79. This is, quite possibly, the most beautiful cake this side of planet mars. I LOVE those delicate little stars. And, come on, wine and chocolate? Can’t beat the combination. I’m coming back for more.

  80. WOW! Your cakes always look so amazing, and the recipes are so creative! Love reading your posts :)

  81. I am baking this right now and the cakes just came out of the oven and are cooling – they smell divine!

    A few questions: do you think it would be OK to substitute another liquid for the heavy cream called for in the frosting (i.e. I am thinking I want to add red wine instead! or maybe the preserves right into the frosting). Also, If I have extra frosting, how should I store it, and how long will it keep? Thanks!

    • You could try, although I’d probably add it 1 tablespoon at a time so it doesn’t get soupy. Since wine is a good bit thinner than cream you probably won’t need nearly as much. You could also try reducing the wine a bit to get a more concentrated flavor.

  82. Wow… This is absolutely beautiful! I love the chocolate glaze against the white frosting. Love it.

  83. I am making this with Apothic Red today for my step mothers birthday. It’s not a sweet wine by any means, but it is full of dark berry flavor and richness. It’s in the oven and smell fantastic! I’ll let you know how it turns out later!

  84. It’s so fantastic!

    from Taiwan

  85. Ok…the cake was a hit..turned out perfect! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe..

  86. I made this cake for an event tonight. Everyone loved it! It was easy, moist, flavorful, rich and very smooth. The frosting was a dream to make and use. Thank you for a great recipe.

  87. the black and white colors and gold star glitter would make this a perfect dessert for an Oscar party (references The Artist, and is just old-school glam looking!)

  88. I made the cake last week for my husband’s birthday. Well! Well! Well! I truly impressed him . . . and myself (which is pretty hard to do). Your website is so fresh. Thank you.

  89. This recipe was really, really nice. I used Charles Shaw Shiraz as the red wine (my friend had requested a Trader Joe’s themed cake), and it just made the cake super rich. The birthday girl exclaimed “I know I am biased because it’s for me, but this is your best cake yet!” I used a different buttercream recipe as I felt the richness of the chocolate needed to be tempered with something a little less sweet, and it was perfect. Thanks again!

  90. Any tips for converting this to cupcakes?

  91. I tried this recipe with cupcakes instead of a cake, but the crust came out a bit crunchy. The cake didn’t come out as moist as I’d wanted, but still delicious. Any suggestions?

    I still got a lot of compliments!!

    • I’ve never made this as cupcakes so I can’t say for sure, but double check your oven temperature. Sounds like they were overbaked. 350ºF for 18 minutes or so should do it.

  92. My sister requested this cake for her 30th birthday earlier this month, not really thinking I would come through. I did though, and surprised her after my daughter’s dance recital. It took two tries and some experimenting. I only have 9 inch pans, so using three, the batter spread too much and they came out quite convex but tasted fantastic as plain cake (my friend and I ate a whole layer before I had the next batch mixed)! So for anyone trying this with 9 inch pans, I would recommend using just two and adding just a bit more flour (I think I added about 1/2 cup). I also used white whole wheat flour and organic sugar…always makes new feel like I’m eating health food (even if it is cake). ;) Thank you, Lindsay, for the fabulous cake! You’ve inspired me to try experimenting more.

  93. Made this yesterday for a friend’s birthday. Used a cherry wine with blackberry jam. Turned out great and was amazingly delicious! Rave reviews from everyone at the party.

  94. Made this for my birthday July 1st, it was the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted… and I have done some tasting in my time! Thank you so this heavenly cake! I am going to post it on our web site and will link to yours.

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