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This intensely chocolate-y cake will remind you of the ones your mother and grandmother used to whip up at a moment’s notice, it is so easy to make and foolproof. Serve it to your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day (or any time of the year!) with a bit of crème fraîche and extra cocoa powder sprinkled on top. And of course, don’t forget to crack open a bottle of Lemberger, whose bright fruit and spicy finish pair so well with the red wine, chipotle pepper, and cinnamon in the cake. Leading Washington producers of this rather obscure wine varietal include Paradisos del Sol (whose winemaker/owner Paul Vandenberg shared this recipe for Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining), Kiona Vineyards, Latah Creek, Covey Run, and Thurston Wolfe.
Wine: Varietal: Lemberger
Yield: Serves 8 to 12


• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa, plus extra for sprinkling on the cake
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 cups water
• 3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
• 3 tablespoons red wine
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling on the cake

Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, chipotle, and cinnamon. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the water, oil, red wine, and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients, and stir just until combined. Do not overmix, or the cake will be tough.

Pour the batter into an ungreased 9 by 12-inch baking pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs remaining.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, loosen the sides of the cake with a knife, and turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and additional cocoa just before slicing and serving.

Recipe from PACIFIC NORTHWEST WINING AND DINING: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia
by Braiden Rex-Johnson
(Wiley; October 2007; $34.95/hardcover)



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