Chocolate & Red Wine Cake

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I couldn’t possibly do a series on iron-rich food without including two of my favourite ingredients – chocolate and red wine. (The iron content in chocolate is strongest in dark chocolate, which is in the icing, but I figure this cake has both chocolate and red wine, which makes it the perfect choice!)

This simple recipe comes from the Italian chef who’s probably forgotten more recipes than the rest of us have ever known: Gennaro Contaldo. His passion for what he does is contagious, and his recipes always, always work! The Chocolate & Red Wine cake comes from his latest book, Gennaro’s Passione, and while I’m not a natural baker as I’ve said before, I find this recipe really easy to do.


Torta al Cioccolato e Vino Rosso

Chocolate and Red Wine Cake

Chocolate and red wine go well together, so what better way to combine them than in a cake? This cake is light, moist and simple to prepare. For a special occasion, coat with chocolate sauce (see below) and decorate with chocolate curls and a sprig of flowering rosemary.

Ready in 70 mins.Makes a 20cm/8in cake


  • 200g/7oz butter, softened
  • 250g/9oz caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 25g/1oz cocoa powder
  • 250g/9oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 100ml/3½fl oz red wine
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g/5oz dark chocolate drops


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and lightly grease a loose-bottomed 20cm/8in cake tin.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl, until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Then sift in the cocoa, flour, baking powder and, cinnamon if using, and fold in. Mix in the red wine and vanilla, then fold in the chocolate.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin, then carefully turn out. Coat with chocolate sauce (see below) and chocolate curls, if desired.

Salsa al Cioccolato
Chocolate Topping

This lovely, rich chocolate sauce is ideal for covering cakes, as when cooled it sets, and goes quite hard. It can also be used to pour over ice cream or panna cotta. In both cases, use immediately after making, before it has a chance to set. If necessary, make a large batch and keep it for up to a week in the fridge; just place whatever quantity you need in a bowl set over a pan of hot water to melt before using.

Ready in 10 minutes. Makes enough to cover 2 cakes.


  • 120ml/4fl oz single cream
  • 150g/5oz dark chocolate, broken up
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons glucose syrup
  • 25g/1oz butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Place all the ingredients in a bowl set over a saucepan of hot water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water) and stir constantly until the chocoalte has melted and the sauce has a smooth, silky consistency. Pour through a sieve, if necessary, to strain out any lumps of cocoa.

Leave to cool slightly (only 1-2 minutes) before using to decorate the cake, or as you wish.


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