Rich, moist, and flavorful, this red wine chocolate cake has an amazingly unique taste and fudgy, chocolatey flavor. The combination of wine and chocolate is irresistible!
Last week, I had a dinner party with friends, which naturally meant lots of food, wine, and desserts. As I’m sure you can already guess, the leftover wine found its way into chocolate cake batter – the combination of which turned out to be divine.
It truly is the perfect cake. The wine makes the chocolate cake very fudge-like, giving it an intense, rich flavor that you’ll definitely notice. The alcohol doesn’t bake out fully, though, so this is the kind of dessert you only want to make for adults. With its fancy name and even fancier flavor, this dessert would make a splash at any wine tasting.
How to make red wine chocolate cake
For this recipe, I use dark brown sugar to deepen the flavor and moisten the cake. Plenty of cocoa helps to keep it super fudgy and chocolaty while balancing out the alcohol, and round cinnamon enhances the flavor (although you can’t taste it in the final product). I experimented with several different wines such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and shiraz, and all of them turned out amazing.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C degrees. Grease a Bundt pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until combined, and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
- Beat in vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in (or fold by hand) the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating it with the wine in 2 additions (starting and ending with the flour). Do not overmix.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then turn it out and let it cool completely.
Serving tip: Dust the cake with powdered sugar or a drizzle of chocolate ganache! Both look and taste amazing.
What kind of red wine should I use?
I recommend using any dry red wine for this cake. You can use any variety you want — I experimented with cabernet, shiraz, and merlot, and all worked great. Definitely don’t splurge on the wine for this cake. Because it’s baked in, a cheaper variety is just fine.
Can I freeze this cake?
Yes, you can freeze the cake in an airtight container for up to 2 months. To thaw, place in the fridge or on the countertop overnight.
Does this cake contain alcohol?
Yes. Only serve this cake to adults who can have alcohol.
More of my favorite easy cakes
- Chocolate Pecan Espresso Cake: Moist and tender espresso cake with delicious pieces of buttery pecans and rich dark chocolate.
- Spice Cake: Light and tender spice cake topped with smooth and rich cream cheese frosting.
- Pumpkin Banana Bread: Two classic loafs are combined for this moist and tender pumpkin banana bread.
- Carrot Loaf Cake: Perfectly moist and flavorful carrot cake topped with luscious cream cheese frosting.
This moist, rich red wine cake cake is great to make ahead for special occasions because its flavor improves the next day. It's got a super chocolate-red wine flavor that's unbelievable!
- 1 1/2 cups (210g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (75g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks/227g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar (preferably dark)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) dry red wine
Preheat oven to 350F/180C degrees. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in (or fold by hand) the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating it with the wine in 2 additions (starting and ending with the flour). Do not overmix.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then turn it out and let it cool completely. Dust the cake with powdered sugar or drizzle chocolate ganache over the cake.
Store cake at room temperature in airtight container for up to 3 days.
Cake can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Jess @ What Jessica Baked NextMay 23, 2014 at 3:53 pm
This looks divine, Shiran! The cake looks amazingly light and chocolatey and that chocolate sauce is brilliant! Have a great weekend! 🙂
Lindsey @ American Heritage CookingMay 23, 2014 at 10:14 pm
What a great idea! This looks so moist and dense and chocolatey! I love it! Pinned!
SuzyMay 24, 2014 at 12:50 am
This cake was amazing! I just whipped this up as a quick, after-work, Friday treat, and it came together very quickly and easily. I cut the recipe in half, since it’s just two of us, and made it in individual, mini-cake molds, and it still turned out so moist and flavorful (and baked in only 20 minutes). The wine and cinnamon gives it such a nice, warm, spiciness that reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate. I will be putting these into our recipe files for sure!! Thanks for sharing!
ShiranMay 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm
Thanks for sharing all this information Suzy! The cinnamon and wine really give this cake such a unique and delicious taste. I’m so happy to hear how much you like it! Mini cakes sound perfect for this recipe 🙂
DianeJanuary 12, 2019 at 1:05 pm
First time making this cake and am a bit concerned as the batter is very thick……I have rechecked ingredients and they are correct. Is it possible I over mixed? Thanks
Cindy @ Pick Fresh FoodsMay 24, 2014 at 4:56 pm
I love how rich and chocolately this cake looks! I’m intrigued by the red wine. Definitely, need to try this recipe 😀 Pinning!
WinnieMay 26, 2014 at 6:41 am
זה ממש, אבל ממש לא חוקי לראות תמונות כאלה על הבוקר! 🙂
העוגה ניראית ונשמעת מדהיםםםםםם
בספרים של הסבתות יש עוגות שוקולד עם יין, אבל ממש לא כאלה 🙂
אני מאד רוצה לנסות, במיוחד שאני יודעת שאין בעיה והאלכוהול מתנדף באפייה.
שומרת את המתכון 🙂
dawnMay 27, 2014 at 6:37 am
this look so gorgeous.. must have tasted awesome too.
ShiranMay 30, 2014 at 3:40 pm
Thanks! It tastes amazing 🙂
SaraMay 31, 2014 at 9:08 pm
What is the fabulous looking frosting on the Red Wine Cake photograph?
ShiranMay 31, 2014 at 10:07 pm
It’s a simple chocolate ganache frosting. Just melt together in the microwave 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 🙂
Theis KuhrNovember 28, 2014 at 8:41 am
I understand it very well that no party is complete without drinks. This cake was amazing & I love it! Thanks for sharing!
ShiranNovember 28, 2014 at 10:09 am
Thank you so much! I’m glad you like it! 🙂
Kara ReppDecember 13, 2014 at 1:30 pm
This was a fantastic cake! I added a little red gel coloring to the ganache to stick with the theme! For the wine I chose Cocobon (found at Trader Joe’s $7.99) which is a red blend. I will be making this again and again and again!
ShiranDecember 14, 2014 at 3:41 am
Thank you Kara! I really love this cake too, it has such a unique taste! I’m so glad you like it! 🙂
Joey LeeJanuary 2, 2015 at 5:30 am
Thumbs up! Wonderful cake.
ShiranJanuary 3, 2015 at 8:19 am
Thank you Joey! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂
GillMarch 14, 2015 at 2:37 pm
Hi, this cake sounds amazing.
I don’t have a bundt pan, so what size of round tin can I use please.
ShiranMarch 16, 2015 at 10:03 am
Hi Gill! You can use a 10-inch round pan that is 2.5 or 3 inches deep. Make sure to adjust the baking time accordingly – bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
MikeyMarch 15, 2015 at 2:45 pm
Tasty, but not sweet enough. Any suggestions?
ShiranMarch 17, 2015 at 1:42 pm
Hi Mikey, the cake shouldn’t be very sweet, but if you prefer it sweeter you can add more sugar – up to 1/4 cup.
EmilyMay 6, 2015 at 12:27 am
This is a fantastic cake loved it just perfect made it tonight and couldn’t wait for it to cool down all the way before having some and chocolate glaze was just right too.
ShiranMay 6, 2015 at 4:44 am
I’m so glad you like it Emily! This is one of my favorite cakes! It’s so unique in taste 🙂 Thank you for commenting!
DianeMay 19, 2015 at 6:11 am
I want to make this into a sheet style cake so I can shape in into a wine glass. what size pan do you think this recipe can go up to? I want the cake to be about 1.5 inches thick. Thanks Diane
ShiranMay 19, 2015 at 12:51 pm
Hi Diane, what a lovely idea! I’m not sure about the thickness, but you can use a 9×13-inch pan instead, or a bit smaller. This recipe is good for a 12-cup bundt pan, so it would be best to bake it in a pan that is 12 cups in volume (1 cup=240ml).
LaurenDecember 2, 2015 at 10:31 am
This looks amazing. What would you think about my soaking 1/3-1/2 cup of dried cherries in the wine and adding those as well?
ShiranDecember 2, 2015 at 11:25 am
Thank you, Lauren! Sounds like something I’d do – adding dried cherries. Go for it 🙂
AngelaJanuary 3, 2016 at 10:17 pm
Thank you so much for the recipe. I made this cake last month using Merlot, and Chocolate icing. And It was just AMAZING. Everybody on my party loved it!
ShiranJanuary 4, 2016 at 10:04 am
It makes me so happy to hear that 🙂 Thank you so much for your comment!
EmreFebruary 1, 2016 at 11:38 am
I am have been a fan of your blog for a while now. I made this cake 5 times so far. It’s become a favorite among my friends and they even told their friends haha Now my friends keep asking me to make it whenever there is an occasion. I will probably make this cake for years to come!
I also made your Pavlova and Chocolate pudding. They both turned out really well and I got great feedback from my family and friends who tasted them.
Thanks a lot for this great blog <3
ShiranFebruary 3, 2016 at 12:04 pm
Hi Emre! Thank you so much for your sweet comment! It’s a unique cake, and one of my favorite chocolate cakes to make. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who like it so much 🙂 I hope you’ll continue to enjoy my recipes! Thanks again 🙂
JeanneFebruary 21, 2016 at 5:05 pm
Very good cake. I used the frosting recipe on the back of the Hershey container. No leftovers- my family loved it
ShiranFebruary 22, 2016 at 1:41 pm
Thank you so much for your comment, Jeanne! So glad your family loves it 🙂
Linda PovlockOctober 27, 2016 at 9:45 am
This cake is so different, so delicious. Deep, dark, wonderful. I bake for my coworkers once a week, and this cake is a favorite. Another favorite of theirs is Kentucky Bourbon Cake and I thought, I need a cake that features wine. I searched and tried yours first and stuck with it. Thanks for posting, it’s a gem.
ShiranOctober 30, 2016 at 4:55 am
That’s so wonderful to hear! Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Linda 🙂
MiriamJanuary 12, 2017 at 1:05 pm
I can’t wait to make this cake! I like to sneak cinnamon into all kinds of chocolate treats. Looks divine…
MercedesJanuary 18, 2017 at 12:18 am
I was sipping a good glass of red wine that I received as gift from a friend when I thought of making some cake with the red wine. I went to pinterest and found your recipe. I have just tried it and im waiting for it to finish baking. I tasted the little batter that was stuck on my toothpick tester and it tasted heavenly! I put the batter in a paper cake pan, it’s a small round one about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. I put half a cup of batter and bake for 14 minutes at 350. Thank so much for sharing this recipe!
ShiranJanuary 18, 2017 at 4:32 am
Thank you for your sweet comment Mercedes! I hope you enjoy the cake 🙂
Diane BollingerJanuary 27, 2017 at 1:41 pm
I am making the cake for my husband’s birthday. After dinner with friends we will all meet for dessert at our house. Can I make the ganache ahead of time? Should it be warm? I really do not want to put it on the cake ahead of time but I would like to have it ready.
ShiranJanuary 28, 2017 at 4:22 am
Sure, you can make the ganache and drizzle it over the cake ahead of time. It doesn’t need to be warm. Happy birthday! 🙂
Diane BollingerFebruary 2, 2017 at 4:31 pm
I made it in a Heritage 10 cup bundt pan (sharp edges) and it looks beautiful. I shortened the time to 38 minutes.
RachelMay 3, 2017 at 12:30 pm
can you use regular wine?
ShiranMay 5, 2017 at 5:16 am
Hi Rachel! Any red wine that you like to drink would work.
camilleDecember 19, 2017 at 1:32 am
hi! can you recommend me a good brand of wine for cabernet sauvignon? ? and also did you use salted butter or unsalted for this recipe? I would love to try this recipe for Christmas dessert ? thank you!!
ShiranDecember 19, 2017 at 6:57 am
Hi Camille! I’m not a wine expert 🙂 but I always ask the seller in my wine shop what he recommends, so you can do the same. I’ve tried several wines for this cake, cheap and expensive (I make this cake every time there are leftovers after a party), and the cake is always delicious!
camilleDecember 19, 2017 at 10:06 pm
thank you for the advice ? how about the butter? did you use salted or unsalted butter for this cake? ?
ShiranDecember 20, 2017 at 5:47 am
That’s unsalted butter!
camilleDecember 20, 2017 at 10:11 am
thank you! ?
francescaJanuary 28, 2018 at 1:59 pm
Hi Shiran! first of all I have to say I`ve made a lots of your recipes, just love them! This recipe is among my favorites, but something happens when I bake it in a city at near 2800mt. high. Ussually I`m on 0 to 400 mts. and turns out perfect each time. But being “high” – 😉 hehehhe- is terrible. The cake never rises, it gets kind of sticky, some others gets hard… A real mess! I have read a lot about solving problems when baking at high altittude but to my taste some things I have done cahnge the real essence of moisture, and flavor of your recipe and my question is, Do you have any advice? Thanks in advance!
ShiranJanuary 29, 2018 at 4:52 am
Thank you so much Francesca! I’ve never baked in high altitude so unfortunately I can’t help you with that. I’ve heard it can be tough, so I understand what you mean!
FrancescaJanuary 29, 2018 at 9:37 am
Ooh! I had hopes! Hehe. Then I’ll keep experimenting . Because at normal altitude this cake is always perfection. Absolutely love your recipes, but this one, wins everything along with tiramisù, of course!
Well, if you hear something, if you tonk of something that could help someday… please, let me know! Because, as I tell you, don’t want to lose the essence of the cake. Thanks! And once again five stars to this winner!
BethFebruary 13, 2018 at 7:14 pm
Made this for a wine tasting dinner at my home and it was a hit. It is going to be my go to cake from now it. It is absolutely delicious, rich and decadent! Thank you. I’m making it again for Valentines and filling the center with chocolate covered strawberries!! YUM!!!
SimerMarch 17, 2018 at 10:48 am
The recipe is easy to follow, and I added a pinch of nutmeg powder. The cake turned out to delicious. This is my first time trying out your recipe. So, I will try again. Thank you for sharing
RonyMay 7, 2018 at 2:28 pm
turned out amazing!
just wanted to let you and everyone else know that I made it with aquafaba instead of eggs.
140 grams, whipped it pretty stiff and added it last.
so from here, it’ll be pretty easy to veganize it I think.
AilenNovember 3, 2019 at 7:09 pm
Im about to use flax eggs, im planning to make this cake for my mother in law’s birthday. I’m not confident with aquafaba. My heros are flax eggs hehe. I hope it turns out good. I’ll post the results after the 16th ♥️ thanks for sharing your modifications.
KathrynJuly 19, 2018 at 2:59 am
Perfection. I’ve made many a chocolate cake… and was simply searching for a way to use up 1/2 a bottle of 2 day old red wine when I stumbled onto your site. Who would have thought I would end up making my favorite chocolate cake to date. This tastes like a cloud upon first bite, then melts into a rich bold taste in your mouth within seconds. I inhaled a giant piece of it with a tall glass of milk and was as happy as a clam. Will be saving this recipe forever. Thank you!
TanAugust 5, 2018 at 11:33 am
The cake absolutely stunning! If I want to bake this as a birthday cake with ganache frosting, do u think it will be a good idea??? Also, will I be able to bake it as a 2 layer cake? Look forward to hear from u soon :))
ShiranAugust 7, 2018 at 7:30 am
Hi Tan, it’s possible to bake it as a layer cake, but the cake is dense and rich so I love making it in one layer and then drizzle with chocolate ganache.
TanSeptember 15, 2018 at 1:32 pm
Thank you so much :)) Will try as single layer
AliceNovember 5, 2018 at 10:43 pm
I made this today and it is fabulous! Such a great texture and tastes delicious. The wine flavour really comes through and goes well with the chocolate, and it definitely still has some kick left in it 😉
For those who are bundt-less like me, I used a 9-inch springform pan and baked for about 55 minutes.
JaniceNovember 10, 2018 at 8:52 am
Can I use 8” round cake tin instead of bundt tin? Pls advice. Tq
ShiranNovember 11, 2018 at 8:47 am
A 8-inch pan might be too small. Use 9 or 10-inch pan, or any pan you like, just make sure not to fill it with more than 3/4 full with batter. Also the baking time will be different.
StaciaApril 14, 2019 at 9:10 pm
I would like to try..but need gluten free. Have you made with gluten free flour?
ShiranApril 15, 2019 at 2:11 am
I haven’t, sorry!
StaciaApril 15, 2019 at 10:59 am
I am going to try. Will let you know how it turns out. Thank you.
AlainaMay 16, 2019 at 8:52 pm
Hi— the cake was delicious, but I came across some issues that I hope can be corrected.
I followed the recipe to the T when combining ingredients. I did; however, want to make it into a layer cake. One recipe yields slightly more than one recipe for one layer cake. I added the batter to a 9inch pan, and it baked longer than 45 minutes. It was closer to an hour. The batter seemed slightly wet at the bottom, but I was afraid to keep it in longer in the event of it burning.
After slicing it in half after letting it sit for more than 10 minutes to rest, the cake sunk in the middle which I have never seen happen before. The cake was also extremely crumbly and had little structure to it.
Do you have any suggestions to correct these issues?
AshleeAugust 21, 2019 at 4:47 pm
I’ve made this recipe a few times now and my husband LOVES it! I was going to make it for dessert tonight but all we have is sweet wine. How will that affect the cake?
LMOctober 1, 2019 at 11:48 am
Thank you! I made it a few good times and turned out really good and moist
MeghaApril 22, 2020 at 4:33 am
The recipe looks yum..however I was just wondering as to why this particular recipe does not involve sour cream (since it makes the cakes so moist). Are we able to achieve that objective without it’s use? Moreover, I usually substitute all purpose flour for white whole wheat flour and butter for oil…I hope if you have tried it, you can let me know if for this recipe its possible too?
Another thing- Do you think a dark chocolate red wine glaze can be used alternatively instead of the chocolate ganache taking care of the fact that the red wine doesn’t become too overwhelming?
ShiranMay 11, 2020 at 6:31 am
Hi Megha. It doesn’t have to use sour cream to be delicious 🙂 I haven’t tried it with another flour or with oil, but the butter gives a lot of flavor. Chocolate wine glaze would work great!
MayaDecember 16, 2019 at 11:49 am
This recipe looks amazing. If I freeze the cake. How do you recommend that I thaw it? And, do I then serve it warm?
ShiranDecember 22, 2019 at 4:23 am
You don’t have to serve it warm, it’s also delicious cold or at room temperature. If you freeze it, it’s best to place it a night before in the fridge to thaw.
JLMay 28, 2020 at 10:26 am
Hello If I don’t want the taste of red wine to be too strong, can I cut the amount by half and substitute the rest with milk? I know some recipe would call for espresso to enhance the chocolate flavour do you think it will March in this recipe or will it be too much or clash with the wine? Thank you for the recipe!
ShiranJune 3, 2020 at 6:39 am
It would work and the texture would be ok, but I haven’t tried it so I don’t know how it would taste like.
LorineJune 10, 2020 at 4:52 am
Thank you for this recipe. I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour, 1/2 cup coconut oil as I had less of butter. Cake turned out to be slightly fudgy but the taste is incredible 😁
CatSeptember 18, 2020 at 1:39 am
I made this, but used hippocras (a spiced wine) and it was wonderful! Lovely texture, wonderful taste.
MastodorMarch 14, 2021 at 10:09 am
Such a good cake recipe that succeeded on the first try, which is a rarity! Tastes amazing too. The best cake I’ve had and it’s definitely because of the recipe
KrinaApril 1, 2022 at 2:36 pm
Made this cake twice now, sooooo good!! 🙂 Love the ganache over the cake!!
KellyMay 19, 2023 at 4:03 pm
This is perfect cake — delicious and very easy to make. I’ve made it many times over the last few years and have shared the recipe with friends who also make it frequently. Thank you for this gem.
Stephanie @ Pretty.Simple.Sweet.May 21, 2023 at 3:44 pm
Thank you, Kelly! I think you’ve inspired me to make this cake again soon. It’s been a while!!