Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Chocolate Red Wine Cake with Strawberry Filling and The Easter Bunny

Oh no. Have you heard about the worldwide chocolate shortage? It's true, and in case you haven't, you can read about it here. This is bad news for chocolate bunny lovers and chocolate brownie lovers and chocolate chip cookie lovers and well...me. I am a chocolate lover and there is almost nothing a handful of chocolate chips won't cure. I am in deep do-do when the craving hits and I have to go through withdrawals. Thank goodness even Weight Watchers now allows for chocolate.

For some folks, lemon might signal the sign of Spring and for others it is asparagus. For some it might be peas or strawberries. For me it is seeing chocolate bunnies lining the grocery store shelves or those chocolate Cadbury eggs that I have yet to have. I also adore the chocolate malted milk eggs and those robin eggs in the bright turquoise color, that have the crackly shell and are filled with chocolate. Yes, these to me, are the true signs of Spring.

As a  a good Jewish girl, loving Easter candy is something my parents probably started. You see as kids, there was always an in house Easter egg hunt- I guess so the neighbors wouldn't see- and there was always a chocolate bunny waiting for its head to be bitten off. Yes, my folks came through on the chocolate. For better, not worse, we did not continue the Easter egg hunt when our kids were young. I can remember Alex Odie San China Boy wondering what a bunny had to do with Easter and what was with hunting for eggs when he thought it would be so much better to hunt for rabbits. I'd always relate it back to hunting for matzoh (though there are good explanations for this) and then the stakes were even, until Zoe would chime in that, "those bunnies are just so cute." And then one year I broke down and got them one, (on the day after Easter), and they were astounded that I did.  They then bit the head off and left the rest to sit in their rooms for days on end, until I threw them away. That was the end of the Easter bunny in our house!

In my house, my favorite quote kind of goes like this... "In the beginning, the Lord created chocolate, and he saw that it was good. Then he separated the light from the dark, and it was better." No I did not write that-I took it from a chocolate site. And I took this one too. "My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M’s and a chocolate cake. I feel better already," said Dave Barry.

And now it is Easter and the stores are lined with Easter bunnies, which makes me think chocolate, and chocolate makes me think cake, and if I did want to lump chocolate in with a few other favorites, I maybe would choose red wine-which of course goes perfectly with chocolate. And then we could add in strawberries, because all three things are so good for you.  I have heard that if they are eaten together their health quotient increases incredibly. Just sayin'.

If I were to add another quote and this one from moi..."Get ready for the chocolate shortage. Eat more now!"


This is a perfect chocolate cake for the spring season. Strawberries and red wine really make this cake sing...not to mention me. Just keep in mind that by using fresh strawberries, this cake should be eaten within a few days or refrigerated. Of course, that shouldn't be a problem! If you don't want to make the cake with red wine, check out my absolutely fabulous, most favorite chocolate cake, that I've been making for 39 years. Feel free to use the same filling and if you don't want to use wine, just use water or pomegranate juice.

Chocolate Red Wine Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Strawberry Filling
Serves 10-12
Time to Make: About 60 minutes
Adapted From: The Nest
2 c sugar
1 c unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c pinot noir
2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c self rising flour or (3/4 t baking powder, a pinch of salt and 1/2 c flour)
1 1/2 c cocoa
1 t baking soda
1 t salt

Strawberry Filling
16 oz fresh strawberries, diced into 1" pieces though I did leave some in slices
1/2 c pinot noir
1/2 c sugar
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper (Optional)

Chocolate Frosting
1/2 c softened butter
2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 c cocoa

A few fresh strawberries for decoration

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9" cake pans and dust well with cocoa. Using a stand mixer, cream sugar and butter together on medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing each before adding another. Reduce speed to low and add vanilla and pinot noir. In a large bowl combine flours, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix well with a fork. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix on medium speed until smooth, about two minutes.

Divide mixture between 2 cake pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes-inserting a toothpick to determine if the center comes out clean. Sides should also be pulled out slightly from the edges of the pan. Let cool on rack for about 20 minutes. Now start the filling.

In a medium saucepan, heat strawberries, pinot noir and sugar over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Once sugar is dissolved, bring heat up to high and bring mixture to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. Strawberry Filling should be reduced by about 1/2 and slightly thickened. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in pepper if using.

For the frosting:
In a stand mixer, beat softened butter on medium speed for 3 minutes. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar and beat on low for 1 minute. Add the whipping cream and beat on low for one minute. Slowly add the cocoa powder and the rest of the powdered sugar and gradually increase the speed to high. Beat for three minutes, until fluffy.

On a cake plate, place one layer of the cake with bottom side down. Frost with a thin layer of frosting. Now top with the filling, reserving a little bit for garnish. Now top with the other cake round, round side up. Ice with the rest of the frosting. I chose to use most of the frosting on the top of the cake, rather than icing the entire cake. That way you can see the pretty interior. I also used a few dried strawberries on top, because I like their color, next to a few fresh ones. I then drizzled with a little of the reserved filling. (This sure beats a chocolate rabbit!)

More Chocolate Desserts to Pin and Share:
Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake
Quick Chocolate Cake
Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake
Flourless, Gluten Free, Passover Fudge Cake
Black Bottom Chocolate Bundt Cake
Easy Raspberry Meringue Cake with Chocolate Ganache
The Ultimate Katherine Hepburn Brownie
Alton Brown's Chocolate Chip Cookies

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  1. Oh la la! This cake has celebration written all over it! It is a beauty and is just right for celebrating springtime or any other time for that matter. Chocolate, wine and strawberries-- what a combination.

    1. It is a great cake and a refreshing change from raspberries-which are also quite popular!

  2. well lookie at this beautiful cake! I agree with Holly. Celebration written all over it. I'm a big strawberry/chocolate fan.

    1. Thanks Lea Ann! Chocolate dipped strawberries would have been perfect on top!

  3. Hi Abbe, Chocolate shortage, that is horrible, better stock up now. I can see why this cake will make your heart sing, all my favorites in one tasty cake together.

  4. Yup, definitely need to eat plenty of chocolate now to stock up! Think we can live on our stored chocolate supplies? Guess not -- too bad. Anyway, fun read, super cake. Thanks!

  5. This just reminds me that I haven't baked or had my favourite German red wine chocolate cake in ages! Yours looks splendid, Abbe, and perfect for the holidays!

  6. Ha, I love the story about the chocolate bunny with the head bitten off! And while I prefer salty to sweet, the exception is chocolate - and I do from time to time reach in the chocolate chip bag to get a few chips and let them melt on my tongue :D Your cake looks amazeballs!

    1. In this case, one must grab a potato chip in one hand and a chocolate chip in the other. Damn I love eating them that way, too!

  7. Those quotes are a hoot, Abbe! I did read about the chocolate shortage and looks like I'll just have to pay more because there will be no 'doing without' here! What a fabulous cake, rich with chocolate and lightened with the fresh berries. Wonderful!

  8. Glad you didn't miss out on the Easter candy! If you've been making this chocolate cake for that long - I need to give it a try! This is beautiful Abbe :) Have a great week!

    1. No this cake I just made Tricia. However the one in the links I've made for 30 years, and it is my true favorite. But this is pretty good! Love the filling!

  9. This is truly amazing.. I am in love with texture of your cake.. I love thatnchcolate frosting as well

    1. Thanks so much Priya!The frosting and filling are my favorite part!

  10. Gorgeous cake, Abbe!The combination of the flavors are just perfect together for celebrating spring or any season!

    1. I agree. The strawberry filling is so yummy!Thanks!

  11. Ha! Great chocolate quotes, Abbe! And your cake looks delicious! I'm one of those lemon people, but everyone in my family is a chocoholic, and they would definitely be saddened by the shortage. Like the plate too! :-) Take care

    1. Glad to see you back! Thanks for the compliment on the plate. I made it!And I am not a lemon person!But my mother loves it!

  12. Wow...this cake is gorgeous! I'm dying for a piece. I know how it feels with chocolate - I can eat a whole bar by myself ..and it makes me feel so good inside.

    1. If you were here Sharon, I would share! Then we would feel good, in and out!

  13. Gotta love Dave Barry and any quote attributed to him, Abbe. Your cake would grace any celebratory table, no matter the faith. How very ecumenical! One of the favorite summer treats for the adult Bartolini back in the day was strawberries soaked in red wine. They did come with a warning, however. We kids were threatened with severe punishment should we be caught rinsing off the wine so that we could enjoy some. :)

    1. John that reminds me of a story my mother used to tell. Growing up her family used to let the kids drink the wine at the Passover meal so that they would be asleep under the table and the adults could party after the end of the Seder. Perhaps the adults were on to something!