If you ask culinary inclined people what their very first memories about helping in the kitchen are, most would likely respond with “baking a cake” or “baking cookies”. Not sure why this seems to a have turned into such a stereotype, but maybe it has to do with the mess we created and the fun we had in doing so?
Of course, I wouldn’t have brought this up, if my own memories were any different. I can easily recall images from at least four different kitchens, but the most vivid baking memories happened in my grandma Luise’s kitchen. Since she always had at least one standby cake sitting in her pantry – you never knew when neighbors and friends would show up for an impromptu visit and she hated not being prepared – I learned from an early age on that baking cakes should be daily business. I’m pretty sure that the first cake I baked all by myself (with grandma watching and helping from time to time) was a simple bundt cake with chocolate pieces and – gasp! – a little eggnog.
(By the way, I don’t recommend serving your under aged kids alcohol in any form, and yet truth be told: bundt cakes with a little eggnog or red wine were a big hit when I grew up in Germany and we kids occasionally were allowed to sneak a slice. Bad parenting all the way… ;)
So when Lena, our neighbors’ daughter who is about to finish her A-levels, asked if we could bake a cake together, naturally I invited her over – a teenager who wants to bake, what’s not to love and encourage about that? She said she would love to bake a really good chocolate cake with red wine and while I could secure and have maintained a number of my grandma’s cake recipes over the years, the cake Lena had wished for wasn’t one of them. So I turned to Twitter and asked for beloved, well-proven recipes and Petra and Inés responded with their favorites. And since all good things come in threes, our other neighbor Ruth chipped in her favorite recipe as well. The following weeks I baked different versions until Oliver spoke the magic words: “I’m going to have another slice…” Days later it won over Lena, who meanwhile bakes it all by herself. And it is now a proud member of my everyday-cakes-repertoire, because it stays amazingly moist for days!
Preheat the oven to 180°C (355° Fahrenheit). If you can spare the extra minutes, dry roast the hazelnuts in a pan until fragrant, then set aside to cool. Finely grate the chocolate by hand or pulse coarsely broken pieces in the food processor. Butter the bundt pan, then dust thoroughly with breadcrumbs (2-3 tbsp).
Beat the soft butter and sugar until creamy (at least 3 minutes), then add one egg after another and beat well after each addition. In a separate bowl mix together flour, 25 g breadcrumbs, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, spices as well as the prepared hazelnuts and chocolate. Add to the whipped butter mix, together with the red wine, and beat slowly until evenly combined. Now fill the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake on second level from bottom for 50 to 60 minutes or until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean.
Take out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before releasing it from the pan. Dust with powdered sugar or glaze with molten (dark) chocolate once the cake has cooled down completely. But maybe you are up to a more colorful glaze? Then mix about 250 g of powdered sugar with about 3-4 tbsp of red wine until you receive a pretty thick glaze and pour it over the cake, add chocolate sprinkles and you are done!
The Tipsy, Nutty, Chocolatey Cake
Recipe source: a mix of different sources
Required time: prep. 20 min., baking 55-60 min.
Ingredients (for one cake, ~2 l bundt pan):
100 g ground hazelnuts
100g dark chocolate (70%)
200g soft butter, plus 1 tbsp extra for greasing the bundt pan
~50 g breadcrumbs, divided
200g caster sugar
4-5 eggs (M-L, ~225 g)
200g all-purpose flour
25 g breadcrumbs
25 g cornstarch
2-3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ceylon cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
150 ml red wine
finish, optional: 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar or 200 g molten (dark) chocolate or 3-4 tbsp red wine mixed with 250 g powdered sugar, chocolate spinkles