Photos by Emiliano O'Flaherty Vasquez 🙂

It’s too bad that by the time most of you read this, our glorious Halloween Monday will have come and gone. Alternatively, this cake may make a great hangover cure, and we all know there’s nothing easier than seizing initiative and cooking something while you’re seeing the world through a red mist of hatred and dehydration. Plan ahead is what I’m saying, I guess.
Here’s the great thing about this cake. The concept is ridiculously simple and genius in its execution. Instead of milk, you put red wine in it. That’s really all it comes down to. Yes, it tastes a little boozy, so don’t put anything in it that you wouldn’t drink yourself;
you may have to give Mr. Charles Shaw a miss on this one. Still, it’s not going to get you drunk. My professional medical opinion (sidenote: I’m a Politics major, and haven’t taken a chemistry class since high school) is that this cake will alleviate all of your ills, including self-inflicted ones. Have at it.

All humor aside (serious cake time now), this cake is pretty cheap to make. And as it’s a cake, assembly is as standard as can be expected. I think it keeps really well too, but it was only in my apartment for three days after my girlfriend and I made it so that’s just idle speculation.

Also, one bowl and one pan, people. This is so low maintenance, you don’t even know. Also, this cake is easily one of the best uses for leftover bottles of red wine. Don’t laugh, it happens sometimes. This is a judgement free zone.


6 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup red wine, (you can be picky and look for a red that has chocolate overtones, or you can use two-buck-chuck. This is a recipe for the masses)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup and 1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Making le cake

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper, and either butter or nonstick spray the interior of the pan. In a large bowl and with an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy. Add the yolk and egg and beat well, then add the red wine and vanilla. The batter might look a little janky here; don’t worry about that.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt over your wet ingredients. If you don’t have a sifter, just pour these in incrementally and carefully; it makes a difference (the cake will be lighter and won’t have weird clumps). Mix together until mostly combined, then fold the batter with a spoon (or preferably a rubber spatula).

Spread batter in a prepared pan, then bake for 25-30 minutes. The top of the cake should be shiny and smooth when you pull it out. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then flip it out of the pan and cool it on a rack or a plate.

You can sprinkle powdered sugar on top, or you can make/buy whipped cream (you should make it, you’re already on a roll here). However you choose to approach this cake, you can’t really go wrong. Happy-post Halloween everyone. Enjoy.

Credit given to Smitten Kitchen for the recipe, and to my girlfriend Emily, who saves me from lumpy cakes. Seriously, this could have gotten real ugly.