The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

January 19, 2013

Cooking with Simon: Wine inspires chocolate cake recipe

Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — It may be cold outside but I love this time of year because of the warm dinners that have robust earthy flavors. And if you’re having that kind of dinner you simply must have some red wine and chocolate for dessert. In this recipe these two favorite things are combined in a very rich and luxurious cake.

While we are on the subject of wine, last weekend I had the chance to visit a couple of wineries in central Texas and enjoyed some of their new releases. I was anxious to try their blanc du bois because it is one of the grape varieties I planted in my vineyard.

Blanc du bois is a white grape that grows very well in the hot Texas climate. It is also very disease resistant so they are well-suited for this part of the country.

One of the wineries I visited used their blanc du bois grapes to make three types of wine. One was dry, the other sweet and they also had a sparkling. I was excited to try all three and get an idea of what my wine will taste like some day.

I began dreaming of recipes that would pair well with the flavor of the blanc du bois grape and all the ways I could cook with the wine. This reminded me of a recipe I had recently seen that put red wine in a chocolate cake.

I wanted to use a local wine in the cake so I visited my granny to see which wine she thought I should use – Granny Muffin that is. I went by her wine bar and got a bottle of Sangiovese. Any of her reds will do, but this is one I like to drink so part of it could go in the cake and there would still be some leftover for me.

Topped with fresh cream and berries the chocolate in the cake has a rich flavor with a hint of red wine. Add some roasted almonds and a bit of cocoa powder and it’s like a chocolate dream on a plate.

Chocolate Red Wine Cake

2 sticks butter, room temperature

1-1/4 cups sugar

1-1/2 cups flour

1 table spoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, separated

5 ounces good dark chocolate (70 percent or higher), cut fine

1 cup dry red wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using electric mixer cream butter and half of the sugar. Add egg yolks one by one and blendwith the creamed sugar. In another bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and begin adding one spoon full at a time to the mixture. Also, slowly pour in the red wine at the same time.In a separate bowl beat egg whites until thick while slowly adding the remaining sugar. Fold the egg white mixture into the first batter and add the chocolate pieces. Pour into a 9" spring form cake tin and bake for about 45 minutes. Garnish with powdered sugar, cocoa or sliced almonds. Serve with whipped cream and berries.

Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to or call 903-729-9500.