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Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Cabernet Frosting

I took my Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Cabernet Frosting to work because I knew that having a whole cake in my house would lead to….me eating a whole cake. I put it in our shared kitchen and it was gone in 5 minutes. My little label: “contains dairy, alcohol, gluten and tree nuts” didn’t deter a single person in search of a chocolaty afternoon treat. Though this cake does include a whole cup of wine in the batter, the alcohol is cooked out there but I made the frosting specifically with uncooked wine for that bright flavor though there’s only 2 Tablespoons. This isn’t a cake that can make you tipsy. But it is incredibly tasty.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Cabernet Frosting

This simple chocolate cake recipe is pretty standard…except the addition of a cup of red wine which adds nicely to the moisture of the crumb. Made in a spring-form pan, it’s easy to cool and remove without sticking at all. While many recipes for red wine chocolate cake call for ganache, made from baking chocolate, I really didn’t want to boil out the alcohol so I opted for a simple powdered sugar, a bit of butter and again: red wine. Without cocoa in the frosting, it would be a purple color so I wanted to do a chocolate on chocolate but just with the hint of red wine flavor. Adding in chopped nuts offers not only a beautiful garnish but also some additional nutrition and texture. People proclaimed “you can taste the wine” when enjoying this cake – it certainly has an interesting flavor combination.

Did you know that red wine and chocolate don’t even really pair together well? Forget old romantic ideas of Valentine’s Days filled with truffles and Cabernet because big, dry red wine can actually taste bitter or even sour with a sweet chocolate. If you’re pairing actual dark chocolate treats with wine, you may want to go with a port or dessert wine instead of a dry red. But for baking, a simple dry cab like I used will blend subtly into the batter because of the complexity of the sugar, fat, and chocolate flavor. Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Cabernet Frosting would be perfect for entertaining at home at the end of a delicious meal or even as a special birthday cake for someone you love…and who loves wine, too.

If you like this dessert, check out my Cucumber Gin Gimlet Cake or Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Mini Mason Jar Cheesecakes.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Cabernet Frosting

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Servings: 8
Author: Ginger Hultin


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted, 4 oz)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup very soft butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios (roughly chopped)


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch spring-form pan with butter. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together granulated sugar, egg, and melted butter. Add in 1 cup red wine and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture to the wet and whisk to combine. Scrape batter into prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Let cake cool completely. Make the frosting by mixing powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, cocoa, and red wine together until blended completely and spread-ably thick. Place in the refrigerator if needed to thicken. Spread frosting on top, then garnish with chopped pistachios. Cut into wedges and serve.


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Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO

An award-winning, nationally recognized nutrition expert and media spokesperson.

Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll find cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.

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