This week I visited Berlin, Germany- yet again! It has very quickly become one of my favorite cities in Europe. Berlin has a certain vibe to it that is rich in culture and uniqueness! It reminds me so much of Portland, Oregon- my home town.
There is an outdoor market in Prenzlaur Berg that I always visit if I am in Berlin on a Thursday or Saturday. Traveling with a friend from Portland, I wanted her to experience authentic Berlin… so to market we went!
Located on Kollwitzplatz square, this market is an ideal place for buying fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, a variety of bread, tasty treats and many other beautiful, hand made creations.
The market was the quietest I have seen it- not as many vendors as I remember from the last time I wandered through the market in late August. It was a drizzly, Thursday morning when were were wandering this Thursday, but I am sure the market would perk up later in the afternoon when the sun came out from behind the clouds!
I didn’t purchase anything this time although I was tempted by a jam vendor I have not seen there before… sometimes I just enjoy wandering through the market without a list, without the intention to buy anything. Instead I just wander and admire the colors, smells, and hustle and bustle of the people.
Because it is Autumn, there are certain foods, spices and smells that make Autumn heavenly for me… such as cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie and Chai spice. It was L’s birthday this week so I didn’t need ANY excuse to make this beloved Red Wine Chocolate Cake. I first made this cake one year ago today for dinner with friends during October holiday. Now, I find because of the red wine, cinnamon and chocolate combination it is a winner! The only thing I adapt in this recipe is the wine… sometimes I use what I have on hand, such as the Argentinian Malbec I used today; other times I vary it using a rich Merlot a Cabernet or even a Syrah… regardless, it is my GO-TO cake for birthdays, celebrations, game nights, dinner parties and chocolate lovers in general.. try it out!
Red Wine Chocolate Cake
recipe from Smitten Kitchen
Notes and Adaptations: The wine does NOT fully bake out of this cake… which makes it oh so good! Also, I prefer to use a pie plate instead of lining a circular pan with parchment paper. I serve triangular slices with a big dollop of Marscapone cream… everyone LOVES it!
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (179 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) white granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup (177 ml) red wine, any kind you like
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (133 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (41 grams) Dutch cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup (118 grams) chilled heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 Degrees F or 180 Degrees C. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then add the red wine and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together. Mix until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be shiny and smooth, like a puddle of chocolate. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes. This cake keeps well at room temperature or in the fridge. I like to dust it with powdered sugar.
For the topping: Whip mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form — don’t overwhip. Dollop generously on each slice of cake. It can also be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.