Just over a year ago, I decided to put a stop to buying recipe books. With a huge shelf already creaking under the weight of the load I already have, I decided that you can have too much of a good thing. With books covering almost every culinary angle of the globe, there really was no need to buy the latest great recipe book.
I do make the odd exceptions. I can't let Hugh FW or Nigel Slater escape my clutches and they are my favourite books anyway, due to the quality writing inside. I also had to make a dash for the Spanish bible of food, 1080 recipes, a book I have had in my sights for an age. And if Keith Floyd ever decides to come out of hibernation and realise that he truly is the finest, most original TV chef to ever exist, I would instantly be heading the queue down at WH Smiths.
Due to my new status of not snapping every recipe book up that comes out, I still can't avoid browsing friend's kitchen shelves and peeking at their recipe books. This has two problems; if I find a good one that I don’t have, I want to buy it instantly. And if I see a recipe that takes my fancy, it remains in my little head like an annoying high pitched sound until I try to remember it and make a go of it.
That very scenario happened to me last week. But for the life of me, I cannot remember when or where I had read about this recipe - chocolate and red wine cake. I remembered it, for it is roughly the same as a basic chocolate cake with the addition of red wine rather than milk to soften it. But I have no idea who wrote it; it may even be a figment of my imagination. Either way, it is inspired and utterly delicious. The red wine does not appear as an overbearing flavour, it simply moistens it to perfection. And with Valentines Day approaching, the combination of two alleged aphrodisiac packed ingredients should make for the perfect dessert on your special night. Just try to remember who gave you the recipe...
Chocolate and Red Wine Cake
200g butter or margarine
250g plain flour
1 tspn baking powder
30g cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
1 tspn cinnamon
150g 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
100ml red wine
1 - Grease and line a 20cm cake tin. Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C, GM3.
2 - In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
3 - Break in the eggs one at a time and stir thoroughly. Don't worry if the mixture looks curdled, it will all sort itself out.
4 - Sieve in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Fold together until thoroughly combined.
5 - Stir in the chocolate then finally the red wine. If the mixture does not fall easily from a spoon, add a little more red wine to reach the correct consistency.
6 - Spoon into the cake tin and bake on the middle shelf for 50-60 minutes. If it starts to catch on the top, loosely place a piece of foil over the tin.
7 - Test that the cake is cooked by inserting something like a knitting needle. It should come out clean.
8 - Place on a wire rack and allow to cool. This will keep in an airtight cake tin covered in foil for a couple of weeks.