Spilled Red Wine Cake

Yield: 20 servings


  • Cake
    • 2 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 cup hot water
    • 1 cup baking cocoa
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • 1/2 cup red wine
    • 3 cups flour
  • Buttercream Frosting
    • 3 cups butter, softened
    • 11 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 2 tbsp red wine
    • Maroon gel food coloring
  • Red Wine Simple Syrup
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup red wine
  • Ganache
    • 1 cup (175g) white chocolate chips
      • You need to use real chocolate
    • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
    • Maroon gel food coloring
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Whipped cream, if desired


  1. Whip the sugar and butter in a stand mixed with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs, mixing well.  Whip in the baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the hot water and baking cocoa.  Whisk together until smooth with no remaining clumps.
    • If you have an immersion blender, it'll make short work of this task.
  4. When fully whisked together, mix in the buttermilk and red wine by hand.  Set aside.
  5. Mix one cup of flour into the sugar & butter mixture.
  6. Add one cup (half) of the cocoa mixture to the cake batter and whisk together.
  7. Add the second cup of flour and whisk together.
  8. Add the remaining cocoa mixture and whisk together.
  9. Add the third cup of flour and whisk together.
  10. Divide the batter between three 8" cake pans that have been greased and floured.
  11. Bake at 350°F for 31-38 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.
  12. For the buttercream frosting, beat the butter in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment until it's light and fluffy.  Add the first cup and powdered sugar and the salt and mix together.
  13. Alternate mixing in powdered sugar (one cup at-a-time) and small amounts of the whipping cream, until you've fully mixed them together.
  14. Set half the buttercream frosting aside.  With the half remaining in stand mixer, mix in the red wine and maroon food coloring.  Set aside.
    • If needed, you can add a little more powdered sugar to offset the wine.
  15. For the simple syrup, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan.  Heat until simmering, stirring often.  Make sure all the sugar is dissolved.
  16. Remove from the heat and let stand for ten minutes.  Add in the red wine and let cool to room temperature.
  17. For the ganache, place the white chocolate chips in a bowl.
  18. Put the cream in a separate bowl and microwave until just beginning to simmer.  Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate chips and let stand for 60-90 seconds.  With a spoon, mix together vigorously until they emulsify and you have a smooth mixture.  If needed, you can return to the microwave in 10 second bursts to help melt the chocolate.
  19. Mix in the maroon food coloring.
  20. To assemble the cake, first brush each layer with the simple syrup and let it soak in.  Do a second coat.  This really helps to make the cake moist.
  21. Put a small dab of red wine butter cream on a cake board and place the first cake layer.  Spread red wine butter cream over the top.
  22. Top with the second layer and more red wine buttercream.  Then the third layer.
  23. Coat the top and sides with red wine buttercream.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  24. For the second layer, use the white buttercream to coat the top and sides of the cake.  Place some chocolate sprinkles along the base and press into the cake.
  25. With the remaining white buttercream, form a small mound on top of the cake.
  26. Drizzle the ganache over the top of the cake, and work to the sides as drips falling.  This works best by using a squeeze bottle so you can control the amount and exact positioning.
  27. Invert a wine glass and press into the mound of frosting on top as shown in the picture.  If needed, touch up the ganache.
  28. Chill until ready to serve.
  29. Serve with whipped cream.

Adapted from Chelsweets.