photo by Alice Choi
Makes 6” round
For the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ cup applesauce
2 cups + 1 T. all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ cup Merlot wine
For the frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp. vanilla
5–6 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup Merlot wine
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prep three 6” round cake pans with parchment paper on the bottom and spray with non-stick baking spray. Using your stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, cream the butter on low speed. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, for about 3–5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla and applesauce and continue beating for another 1–2 minutes.
In a separate mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. By hand, using a rubber spatula, fold in a third of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and then pour in a third of the Merlot. Fold ingredients together until just combined. Continue this process two more times, alternating folding in the flour mixture and the wine into the cake batter.
Pour the cake batter evenly into the three prepared pans and bake for about 25–30 minutes, or until a tester inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the cake pans.
Using your stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, cream together butter, cocoa, and vanilla at medium speed for a few minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, and pour in a little Merlot. Mix together until smooth. Repeat until you have a consistency you are happy with. Feel free to add a touch more wine if you need to.
Once the cakes have cooled completely, level each cake and frost, stacking the cakes and putting a thin layer of frosting in between each layer. There should be enough frosting for a crumb coat and an outer layer of frosting.
Alice Choi writes the blog Hip Foodie Mom