happy birthday: red wine chocolate cake.

happy birthday, d!
today is m’s mom’s birthday, and yesterday we celebrated with gifts, dinner, and cake.

we tried a new restaurant in boston’s fenway area. it was better than i thought. i always walk by, and it is packed. i assumed it would be good, but it was really good. the service was not the best, but it happens. to make up for the poor service, our server offered us dessert on the house. m’s dad, t, declined and said that we had a birthday cake waiting for us at home.

in my mind, i was thinking,”oh, i hope mine stands up to the desserts they could offer. i hope they don’t regret declining free dessert.”

i had a hard time thinking about what kind of cake i wanted to make for d. it had to be special. it couldn’t just be chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. i looked through my shelf of cookbooks, but nothing seemed to stand out to me.

then, i remembered this cake. boozy, fudgy, and decadent. the perfect amount of special for a birthday celebration.

what i didn’t realize was that i had made this for her already for another occasion. she reminded me when i told her what kind of cake it was. oh well.

she said there’s no problem with repeating something that’s tasty.

(sidenote: there’s my silly face while making the topping for the cake. i’m weird. thanks, m, for capturing that moment.)

d enjoyed her birthday cake with the cupcake candles. aren’t they cute? she thought they were chickens at first glance. we all giggled and said they were cupcakes. she bent down a little closer to inspect the candles, and she saw that they were cupcakes instead.

there was enough cake for all four of us, and d & t took a couple slices back home with them. there’s a couple slices sitting in my fridge as a type this, and i’m really tempted to go eat some…

aside from birthdays, it has been quite the month.

i know i haven’t blogged in over a month. i’m pathetic. once the students came back early for student leader training, my life was consumed by them, starting the school year, and getting into a groove.

this always seems to happen to me, but i’m going to get better. i swear.

red wine chocolate cake
printable recipe – barely adapted from smitten kitchen

yield 1 9-inch layer cake

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg  and 1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup of your favorite red wine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

for topping
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla bean

preheat the oven to 325. prepare a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment and spray the with a nonstick spray. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. add both of the sugars and beat until fluffy. add the egg and yolk, then the red wine and vanilla. the batter will look a little uneven. combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a medium bowl and combine it with the wet ingredients. mix until almost combined, then fold together with a rubber spatula.

pour batter in prepared pan. bake for 25 or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. cool completely. flip out of pan onto a plate or cake stand. dust with powdered sugar.

for the topping, whip mascarpone, cream, sugar, vanilla extract, and ground vanilla bean together in the bowl of a stand mixer until you get soft peaks. pipe dallops on top of the cake. serve and savor!


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