Madeline and I heard the most disappointing news the other day as we were leaving her doctor’s appointment. Wisconsin is going to have a brown Christmas this year. A brown Christmas. No snow.
I just wrote about Christmas being better with snow in my last post. It’s funny. Every morning, I wake up and look outside hoping for snow. My daughters do the same thing . . and I blame it on living here in Wisconsin, where the snow is captivating and dreamy in the months of December and January, and the Disney movie, Frozen. My kids now LOVE snow and think it’s the best thing in the world.
The other night I was reading to Madeline at her bedtime. We were reading a Disney Christmas Storybook and she wanted me to read “Frozen: All I Want For Christmas.” The story is a continuation of the movie now that Queen Elsa’s powers are out in the open and everyone in Arendelle is happy and the gates are open. It’s basically about Elsa wanting to make Christmas really special for her sister, Anna. So, she does all these things: creates an ice sculpture, bakes gingerbread cookies with Olaf, decorates the Christmas tree, draws snow flakes on the windowpanes, hires musicians to play Christmas music everywhere and lots of other things, all the while Anna, keeps asking Elsa what she is doing and really just wants to spend time with her sister. Anna doesn’t care about all of the other things.
At the end of the story, Elsa and Anna end up having a snowball fight and playing outside with each other for hours. They go inside and Elsa says, “I got carried away with making Christmas perfect, and I forgot all about the most important part- spending time with you.”
Who says Disney books don’t have any depth?! This story totally reminded me of this story. And my eyes got all teary eyed.
I thought this story was so sweet and touching. And it made me look forward to Christmas day with our family. Last year, we had just moved here to Wisconsin and we didn’t want to travel again so we spent Christmas with just my family; like just my husband, and my kids. And we met my sister’s family at an indoor water park a few days after Christmas.
This year, we will all be together with my parents and my sister’s family. Because we all live in different states, I treasure it so much when we can get together. Now, I am known for taking too much on and always trying to do too much. . especially during the holidays . . so this year, I’m taking that story to heart and will simply unplug and spend time with my family on Christmas.
Christmas will be about celebrations, family, food and more food.
I know what I’m going to bake for my family.
This cake has to happen again. I’ve said it before. I believe in dessert. For me, amazing meals become more memorable when you end them with an unforgettable and delicious dessert. This is it, my friends. This Chocolate Merlot Cake is rich, moist, fudgy and chocolatey, with a hint of merlot red wine.
I am seriously trying to contain my excitement because I have just created my favorite chocolate cake recipe here. I made this cake three times. A 3-layer cake, three times. I won’t do the math but let’s just say there’s been a lot of chocolate merlot cake in my house and in my happy stomach.
I landed on a final recipe that is absolutely delicious and not overly powered by the wine. The entwine Merlot wine enhances this cake in all the right ways.
And I put some in the frosting. . because it had to be done.
I loved this frosting so much. I might use this on all of my chocolate cakes from now on.
Are you looking for a delicious chocolate cake for the holidays? This is it. I picked up some pine cones from Target and made some sugared cranberries for a festive look but you can absolutely just frost the cake and go to town. Every holiday table needs this cake. I hope you give it a try!
- 1 cup, 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup applesauce
- 2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup entwine Merlot wine
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 5 to 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup entwine Merlot wine
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prep three 6” round cake pans with parchment paper on the bottom and spray with non-stick baking spray. Using your stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, cream the butter on low speed. Add in the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then add in the vanilla and applesauce and continue beating for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Unplug your stand mixer and remove the bowl from the mixer. By hand, using a rubber spatula, fold in a third of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and then pour in a third of the entwine Merlot. Fold ingredients together until just combined. Continue this process two more times, alternating folding in the flour mixture and the wine into the cake batter.
- Pour the cake batter evenly into the 3 prepared pans and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the cake pans.
- While your cakes are cooling, you can prepare the frosting.
- Using your stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, cream together the butter, cocoa and vanilla at medium speed for a few minutes. Add in the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time and pour in a little entwine Merlot, and mix together until smooth. Repeat until you have a consistency you are happy with. Feel free to add a touch more wine if you need to.
- Once the cakes have cooled completely, level each cake and frost, stacking the cakes and putting a thin layer of frosting in between each layer. There should be enough frosting for a crumb coat and an outer layer of frosting. Slice, serve and enjoy.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with entwine wines. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.