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Blackberry Red Wine Chocolate Cake

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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

A decadently moist chocolate cake recipe made with dark and fruity red wine and layered with blackberry preserves and chocolate ganache.


For cake:

  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups (218g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (70g) dark or dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240g) buttermilk
  • 1 cup (240g) blackberry wine or red wine*
  • 1/2 cup (112g) light olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For frosting:

  • 2 cups (452g/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 3 3/4 cups (452g/1 pound) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, or more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup blackberry preserves

For chocolate glaze:

  • 3.5 ounces (100g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tablespoons warm water


  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.

*Want a solid but basic chocolate cake? You can swap out the red wine here for coffee or water.

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

All images and text © Lindsay Landis /

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170 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. I was wondering how many people would the cake serve?? I’m having a brunch for 30 people and I’m trying to see if i may need to make two cakes. :)

  2. Oh my… this wounderful combo of dark chocolate and innocent white looks amazing!!!

  3. This looks delicious! I’m not good at baking desserts, but this seems worth the “risk”….eating my mistake could be good, esp with a friend. I have a bottle of “choco-wine” — raspberry & dutch chocolate. It’s horrible to drink, but using it in a cake like this may redeem it.

    I love that you use buttermilk in this.

  4. I found this cake last year, and baked it for my Mother. We usually do bakery cakes for birthdays, and no one was open for a Monday birthday, thus I really needed a CAKE, not just a cake. She loved it and has requested it on multiple occasions since. It even works if you forget the baking powder (or was it the soda? I don’t remember anymore.) Just a little flatter. We do raspberries, because my Mother adores raspberries. However I may look for a rich Merlot to experiment with in the future.
    Thanks, from the bottom of my stomach!

  5. I have been sober for 10 years so naturally, I don’t want wine in my home. I know that the alcohol will cook off and I am not afraid to eat anything that has alcohol in it but I don’t want the remainder of the bottle sitting in my cupboard, calling my name lol. You mentioned that the original recipe had black coffee in it. Did I read that right?? If I was to use coffee instead of the delicious sounding wine, would it be the same amount as you listed for the wine?? This looks absolutely, mouth watering, delicious and I’d like to make it. Thanks in advance. Barb Sweet

  6. Just wanted to send my compliments to the chef and thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe! I have made it twice this month for two different friends’ birthdays and it has been outstanding each time. Definitely will keep making in the future for all my friends that love chocolate. Thank you so much!

  7. There are no words to describe how Awesome this tastes! I used bramble berry wine from Hazlitt vineyards in Watkins glen, NY. You can taste the raspberries in the dark chocolate and its so moist! The frosting is perfect- just sweet enough and fluffy! Thank you thank you for this recipe!

  8. About the “you may not use the entire amount” of chocolate glaze … you are so funny!

  9. Hi!
    Your Blackberry Red Wine Chocolate Cake looks beautiful, and sounds delicious.  I want to make this for my wonderful husband on his birthday later this month, and think freezing the cake is ideal to split up the work effort. Two questions:
    1. OK to substitute with raspberry preserve?  
    2. What’s the ideal timing/manner to defrost frozen cake (just let thaw in fridge the night before preparing?)  

    • 1. Yes, I think it’d be wonderful with just about any preserves!
      2. I freeze my layers until just before I assemble. Frozen cake is much easier to work with as far as leveling. Then frost and refrigerate it until it’s time to serve. :) as long as you’re not frosting it immediately before serving (doubtful if you’re entertaining, haha) it’ll be completely thawed and perfect when you serve it.

  10. Your cake is stunning! I’m always experimenting with new desserts and am determined to try this soon.
    Do you think the consistency would work in a bundt pan? Just increase the baking time?

    Thanks you so much!

    • **Thank you so much!
      We Knoxville-ians can’t type very well ;)

    • I’ve never tried it in a bundt pan but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work? Check the baking time periodically with a toothpick and judge doneness that way. If you try it, definitely let me know how it turns out!

    • I did increase the flour to 2cups and baked it for about an hour, but it turned out excellent!! I took it took a work luncheon and it was devoured in no time. Bundt cakes are just easier to transport and serve for that sort of event. Next time I’m trying the layers! So so so delicious.

  11. Does this recipe make enough for 1 8 inch round or 3 8 inch rounds?  I want to make a 2 layer cake and I don’t know if I have to double the recipe or take out 1/3.  Thanks- 

    • It makes 3 8-inch layers. You could do also 2 9-inch layers if you wanted and I think it’d work just fine. Or freeze the 3rd layer for a snack later – easier than trying to do complicated math. :)

  12. Oh wow is all I can say when I first saw this cake!  I must admit, I was a little apprehensive at attempting to make it but I persevered and must say the cake was  absolutely amazing.  Hubby and the kids enjoyed it and I will definitely be making this one again.  A truly fine and wonderful recipe!  Thank you so much for sharing (I have popped it up on my new website for ONLY THE BEST chocolate recipes that I’ve tried and have supplied a link back to your page for you!) xoxo 

  13. Just found this. 
    The wine:  can a sort of manishewitz! wine be used? ie dessert wine? 
    If the cake is made as one with no layers, what size baking tin and heat, in centigrade? , and time. 
    I used to make a chocolate peppermint cake that the women where my ex husband worked would ask him to ask me to make it again! 

    • Yes, any wine that compliments the flavor of chocolate should work just fine. Also, I have successfully made this in a bundt pan – just increase cooking time as needed. I have not tried any other pan sizes.

  14. I tried so hard. But.. this:

  15. Hi Lindsay & Taylor,

    OH! MY! GOD!  The first thing that came out of my mouth.  Its a gorgeous cake.  I would like a slice of cake please! (smile).  I am starting my Cake business this year 2014.  Long overdue.  I am ready.  Thanks for the receipe,  I will try my gifted hands at this.


  16. Made this cake for hubby’s birthday. He judges my love for him by the quality of the home-made cake I make for him each year. This cake was up to snuff. To say it was delicious is an understatement. We polished it off entirely within 24 hours. My only advice is take your time and don’t rush the prep. Decorated the top with butter cream frosting rosettes and added fresh blackberries. Yum!

  17. I hate to sound like a party pooper but I don’t drink alchole because of my religion. I am crazy for sweets though and your cake looks so yummy!  I don’t care for coffee in a cake either. What can I replace the coffee or alcohol with?  I do not judge anyone for using alchole. I’ve had my share of more than alchole in a cake + some.   Thanks!

  18. What type of chocolate is In the glacê? Is it sweetened?

  19. Which red wine is the best for this recipe?

  20. I LOVE this cake. I’ve made it a bunch of times, usually with red wine, sometimes also adding a few spoonfuls of blackberry preserves. It’s a perfect cake – light, moist, chocolatey, not super expensive to make. I make it in a bundt pan and up the baking time a bit, and it turns out spectacular. 

    Tonight I’m trying it with strawberry wine, so we shall see how that goes!

  21. I made your cake tonight.  OMG.  I made a couple of changes,  I had a friend give me homemade raspberry wine and I used raspberry preserve but that was it.  Mine was not as pretty as yours but the taste was unbelievably amazing.  It just melted in my mouth.  Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.


  22. The boyfriend and I always bake cakes for each other’s birthdays, and we both love looking for and trying new recipes and tastes. I made this a few years ago for him, and used some of my home made blackberry wine, and it was absolutely fantastic. My wine was definitely not sweet, and actually quite dry, so it gave a delightful tang to the cake and didn’t make things overly sweet in the end. His birthday is coming up and when I asked what kind of cake he wanted, he said he wants this one again! :-) Unfortunately I’m down to only one more bottle of that homemade blackeberry wine, so I think this year it might be a blueberry wine chocolate cake. Thank you so much for this recipe! It’s in my book forever now!

    • That makes me so happy to hear, thanks for letting me know how much you enjoy this cake! And I have to admit, a blueberry wine version sounds AMAZING!

      Happy new year!

  23. You are among those that have amazing sense and incorporating booze into your cakes and desserts is brilliant! Do it all the time! Will be making this beauty for my birthday next week! Thanks! 

  24. I made this last night.. so good! wish I found your blog sooner, but better late than never :)

  25. Do you think this recipe would work with blackberry schnapps (Black Haus) in place of the blackberry wine? Thanks :)

  26. Lindsay, I have much more time today than I will tomorrow, and I need this for tomorrow. I don’t suppose this is the kind of cake that improves over time? If not, I’ll carve out the time tomorrow. :)

    • It can most definitely be made a day ahead of time! Longer than that and it might start to dry out (in which case I’d encourage you to freeze the layers and assemble it later), but one day will be totally fine. If you have an airtight cake container, that would help, otherwise just cover it as best you can and chill it.

  27. Part two! Lindsay, why is my cake sinking in the middle? All three layers did it. I halved it and baked it in a smaller pan, but that’s the only change I made. I mean, I used a different wine, but I can’t imagine that was it. 

    –>  :(

  28. I just made this in 2 9-inch cake pans, and it worked! I baked them for about 28 minutes, and they turned out some nice, hefty layers!

  29. So if you make it in a hundred pan, do you make layers or do you just make one cake.

  30. I’m so excited to try this recipe! I was wondering how you think it would turn out as cupcakes. I know that I would have to change the baking time, but I just want to make sure that there won’t be any reason why they would turn out badly.

  31. Hi there! This looks delicious. I was wondering if this cake can be made in a bundt pan? I was thinking of skipping the buttercream and going straight to the ganache.

  32. It was amazing!! Not too difficult…I would make it again!! Happy Birthday to my daughter!!!

  33. Made this cake for a wedding celebration for a coworker. I made 1 1/2 recipes and did a 3-layer cake. It was exquisite and got so many compliments. I will definitely make it again!

  34. Made this tonight, but used whipped cream and a BlackBerry sauce in a syrah reduction. O.m.g. so good. So moist. So light. I’m in love. We had BlackBerry syrah cupcakes with a chocolate ganache at our wedding, and I’ve always wanted to make them.

  35. What was the brand and name of the wine you used?

  36. Yum!! Thanks so much for this recipe. Certainly a keeper recipe. I halved the recipe for 2 six inch layers. Doing that twice, I made a 4 layer cake. Great balance of wine. I added a wine soak to each cake layer for a little extra.

  37. Suggestions for cupcakes?

  38. I just stumbled on your recipe and it looks incredible! Thank you for posting! Any suggestions to replace the buttermilk with something dairy free?

  39. Yum! Mine sunk in the oven and my icing skills are not to par with yours, but it was delicious nonetheless. Next time, way less sugar in the buttercream frosting.

  40. Hi Lindsay 
    I am wondering if u used a dry red wine instead of a sweet wine would the flavour of the cake be altered as there is less sweetness? Would the sugar need to be adjusted ? 

  41. I baked this caked today. Batter was extremley thin for cake batter, is this normal for this cake? I have it in the freezer and going to frost tomorrow.

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