Red Wine Cake

Cookbook author KORNELIA SANTORO experiments with Indian wine to bake this German cake

Recently I was invited to a wine tasting. Charosa vineyards presented its brand new line of wines. The Indian wine market is developing at an amazing speed. What surprises me most, are the prizes these new creations demand. Indian wine costs at least double than its European counterparts. I am not a wine expert, but I have grown up drinking quite a few drops. According to my palate, the latest generation of Indian wines are quite drinkable. However, I don’t know if their high price is justified. For sure, the Indian wine producers can command it because 150 percent import tax on wines from abroad make competition quite hard for wine importers in India.

Last year, the Indian government pondered whether to slash this high tax down to 40 percent. But even this measure might not improve business for importers. Indian states might just raise their own taxes to make up the difference.

I don’t know anything about the costs of producing wine in India. For sure, Charosa vineyards spared no expense when establishing their brand. I only know, when we visit our home countries we are amazed how affordable good European wines are – and how very, very drinkable.

My latest brush with the Indian wine industry inspired me to introduce one of my favourite German cakes to you: Red wine cake. I can only describe the combination of red wine with chocolate and cinnamon as heavenly. I never attempted to recreate this recipe, courtesy of my mother, because my guys were quite happy with the chocolate cakes I usually make. However, my son’s response to this recipe was quite enthusiastic. The alcohol of the red wine evaporates completely during baking, so this recipe is child safe.

Wishing you happy cooking, always!

Kornelia Santoro with family

Red Wine Cake

Ingredients (for a round cake mould with 26 cm diameter):

300 ml red wine

200 grams dark chocolate

300 grams butter

2 cups sugar

2 cups whole wheat flour

6 eggs

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoon Vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cacao

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

300 grams white chocolate for covering the cake


Grate the chocolate. This is easiest done with a hand grater and chocolate at room temperature. I would not recommend using a kitchen machine for this job because you would lose quite a bit of chocolate in the equipment. If you use a machine, take some more chocolate to make up for the loss. I am all for gadgets, but 200 grams of chocolate is not that much and easy to grate.

Prepare the cake mould by buttering it generously. I use a silicone cake mould that could do without this step, but I find it easier to release the cake from it when I have spread a bit of butter over it.

When I make cakes, I don’t cream the butter with sugar and then add the eggs one by one, the traditional method. I find it easier and faster to melt the butter. Two minutes in the microwave do the trick. I start by placing the eggs, the sugar and the Vanilla extract into a mixing bowl and whipping them with a hand mixer to a light yellow cream.

Then I add the grated chocolate, the melted butter and the wine and stir everything well.

Finally I sieve the flour, the cacao, the cinnamon and the baking powder into the bowl, stir everything quickly and fill it into my prepared mould. The batter is quite runny but that is fine. It delivers a deliciously moist cake.

Bake it in the oven at 190 degrees for about 50 minutes. Check it with a toothpick towards the end of the baking time. The toothpick should come out clean when you insert it in the middle of the cake.

Let the cake cool down. While it is cooling down, prepare the icing. Cut the white chocolate at room temperature into cubes. Place the chocolate into a mixing bowl and melt it. After dealing for years with a double boiler, I have converted to the microwave for this job. You just have to be careful not to burn your chocolate. I microwave the chocolate at medium for one minute, and then add another minute. Sometimes it needs an extra minute or even more. Here in India the voltage keeps changing, affecting how fast the microwave works.

I have tried to add some red wine to the white chocolate in the hope to achieve a pink hue. However, the result was more brownish. That’s why I recommend not adding anything to the white chocolate. Just spread the melted chocolate over the cake with the help of a spatula and let it set. The chocolate cover keeps the cake moist for at least a week in the fridge, should the cake last that long. In my home, it doesn’t.

“We eat to live but sometimes I live to eat.” Enjoying the simple things in life with time for her family made Kornelia Santoro give up her profession as journalist in Germany. Now she lives with her Italian husband and son in Goa and specialises in writing about cooking. Her first cookbook Kornelia’s Kitchen – Mediterranean Cooking for India has won the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for India in 2011. In January her second cookbook Kornelia’s Kitchen 2 – Cooking for Allergies will be launched. She also has a website Kornelia’s Kitchen,

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> Happy by Choice

> Greek Gigantes

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Kornelia Santoro

Kornelia Santoro

GERMAN WRITER KORNELIA SANTORO follows the cutting edge of food knowledge since teenage years. After completing her education as a certified journalist, she worked for a decade as news editor for radio and political journalist for a newspaper in Bavaria. She also coached young journalists in Poland during a program of the European Union, shortly after the opening of the Iron Curtain. Then she met her Italian husband while riding an Enfield Bullet through India. The couple settled in Goa. After the birth of her son, Kornelia Santoro started writing cookbooks. As a creative spirit she loves to experiment in the kitchen and to explore the human relationship with food in a profound way. Her three cookbooks, Kornelia’s Kitchen – Mediterranean Cooking for India, Kornelia’s Kitchen 2 – Cooking for Allergies and Cooking for Happiness have all won the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for India. She also writes for magazines and websites in India and Europe. Kornelia Santoro believes that “everything is possible and happiness is a moment of bliss.”