Old Vine Zinfandel Chocolate Cake

Pairs with J. Rickards Los Niños Dessert Wine

Full disclosure: The wine does not fully bake out. It will taste like there’s wine in there although not in the way that you would feel tipsy.  This is a rustic red velvet cake — chocolate, naturally reddened and intensely flavored.  The addition of cinnamon plays off the red wine and chocolate wonderfully. And it’s a one-bowl cake that bakes in no time. Hope you enjoy it!  Eliza

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup J. Rickards Old Vine Zinfandel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup chilled heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment, and either butter and lightly flour the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the Zinfandel and vanilla. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, over the wet ingredients. Mix until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be smooth and shiny. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack. This cake keeps well at room temperature or in the fridge. It looks pretty just dusted with powdered sugar, or add the topping:

The topping: Whip mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Dollop generously on each slice of cake. Refrigerate what you don’t use up.