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Dark Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Ganache

Dark chocolate cake is a favorite for many people. Top it with a red wine chocolate ganache and now that dessert just got an upgrade to the nth degree. Rich, decadent chocolate cake topped with melted chocolate spiked with your favorite red wine makes the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day.

heart-shaped dark chocolate on white plate cake
Dark Chocolate Cake

This Dark Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Ganache recipe is sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Market. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Pook’s Pantry. As always, all opinions, recipes and photos are my own. Post contains affiliate links, please see disclosure for info.

How to make a bittersweet chocolate cake from scratch

Making a cake from scratch isn’t difficult at all.  Once you do it, you’ll wonder why you ever hesitated to do it in the first place.  To this day, one of my greatest personal achievements was convincing a stranger in the grocery store to put back the boxed mix after I talked her through making a cake from scratch.  She probably thought I was crazy at first, but then she was really happy and proud of herself for going outside of her comfort zone.

The best advice is this: read through the recipe from start to finish before you begin.  Make sure that you have all the ingredients before you start mixing.  I always measure everything out ahead of time to make sure that I’m not short on something and also, when I start, it will go quickly and smoothly because I don’t have to stop to measure in the middle of a process. Another helpful tip is scraping down your bowl between additions to make sure that nothing is stuck in the bottom of the bowl, like a clump of flour.

heart shaped cake with strawberries
Bittersweet Chocolate Cake

dark chocolate cake with ganache

Making a ganache is super simple.  Heat up a bit of cream, add some chocolate and let the heat of the cream melt the chocolate a bit before whisking. Done. How’s that for super easy? Just because things have a fancy name, people assume it’s terribly difficult, when it’s actually the complete opposite.  In this case, we’re replacing a little cream with red wine in our ganache.  If you like a thinner ganache, you’ll use more liquid. If you like a really thick coating, you’ll use less liquid. You’ll see when everything is melted and whisked together how thick you want it to be.

Chocolate cake on red pedestal with freeze dried berry garnish
Chocolate cake with freeze dried berries

dark chocolate cake with strawberries

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like chocolate and strawberries. It’s a classic combination for a reason.  Swipe a few strawberries through the ganache you might have leftover for a bonus treat!  You could also slice a few strawberries very thinly and dry them out in a low oven to make strawberry chips as another garnish or treat.  Here’s a recipe for candied strawberry slices.

bittersweet chocolate cake with ganache on plate with strawberries
Bittersweet Chocolate Cake

dark chocolate cake for Valentine’s day

Valentine’s Day is THE day for chocolate. The darker the better, in my opinion.  Dark chocolate has antioxidants, so we could argue that it’s practically a health food and we’re doing ourselves a favor by eating this cake. This recipe does make a big batch of small heart-shaped cakes or one layer cake. Dark chocolate and red wine are both considered heart-healthy ingredients, so you see, you are doing a good thing by having your cake and eating it too.

dark chocolate cake on white plate with strawberry glaze garnish
Dark Chocolate Cake

dark chocolate cake with red wine glaze

When you are ready to glaze your dark chocolate cake, set the cooling rack inside of a baking sheet to catch the run-off.  Slowly pour the red wine ganache over the cake(s) until they are covered. If you missed a spot and have to go back, try to do it as quickly as possible, before the ganache starts to set. If you have to do it after it’s set, try to cover the entire cake again so the top is smooth. You can use a small offset spatula to smooth the top if it’s still wet and you work quickly.  I had to do this because I missed a small spot on one the cakes.

pouring ganache over chocolate cake
Pouring Ganache

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dark chocolate cake at home

Sprouts is one of my favorite places to shop.  They always have interesting items that I don’t find at other grocery stores and the produce is always gorgeous.  I can find everything I need without spending a fortune. Plus, they have many natural products in the store, so I feel good about what I’m buying. It’s the only place that I can find my favorite olive oil, that alone makes it worth the trip. Recently, a brand new store opened near my house which made me very happy.

dark chocolate cake on plate

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Used to make dark chocolate cake:

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02/22/2024 10:15 am GMT

dark chocolate cake recipe

Yield: 12 people

Dark Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Ganache

heart shaped cake with strawberries
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:

  • *Butter and flour for pan
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup coffee
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • ½ cup butter, room temp

FOR GANACHE:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ½ cups dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tbsp red wine

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Butter and flour 2 heart shaped pans with 6 cavities each. (or a 9 ½ x13 ½ x 2 cake pan)
  3. Melt 1 cup chocolate in microwave safe bowl, in 30 second increments, stirring after each until just melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Mix 1 cup flour, ½ cup cocoa, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, ½ tsp baking powder and 2 tsp espresso powder together in medium bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  5. Cream ½ cup butter with 1 cup sugar. Beat for 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in 2 eggs, one at a time, beating after each until incorporated.
  6. Add 1 tsp vanilla, ½ cup coffee, and melted, cooled chocolate. Beat to combine.
  7. Add sour cream, beat to combine.
  8. Add in flour mixture, beating until just combined.
  9. Portion into heart-shaped pan molds and bake 15 – 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  10. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before inverting onto cooling rack to cool completely.

MAKE GANACHE:

  1. In a small sauce pot, heat 1 cup heavy cream over medium heat until steaming. Remove from heat and add 2 ½ cups chopped dark chocolate. Let sit for 10 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Add 3 tbsp red wine and whisk until smooth again.
  2. GLAZE CAKES:
  3.  Set cooling rack with cakes on it inside of a sheet pan. Pour warm ganache over cakes to coat.
  4.  Cool until set (or refrigerate for an hour to cool faster)

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 583Saturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 402mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 6gSugar: 31gProtein: 7g

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