This homemade chocolate cake is decadent, fudgy, and infused with a bit of Merlot wine. And this beautiful cake makes the perfect holiday dessert! The cake recipe is easy to make, too.
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. In this state, the snow is captivating and dreamy in the months of December and January. And also, 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 snowflakes on the window panes
- hires musicians to play Christmas music everywhere
Many other things, too. All the while, Anna, asks 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 think the story is so sweet and touching. And it makes 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; 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.
And, you can’t celebrate Christmas without the ultimate holiday desserts.
Homemade Chocolate Cake
I know what I’m going to bake for my family.
This cake recipe 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 homemade chocolate 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 homemade chocolate cake recipe here. I made the cake recipe 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 red wine chocolate 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 red wine.
Also, I put some in the frosting… because it had to be done.
Red Wine Chocolate Frosting
I love the red wine in chocolate frosting so much. I might use it on all of my chocolate cakes from now on.
Are you looking for a delicious and beautiful chocolate cake for the holidays? This homemade chocolate cake 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 gorgeous chocolate layer cake. I hope try the recipe!
How to make homemade chocolate cake
Homemade Chocolate Cake with Merlot Chocolate Frosting
For the cake:
- 8 oz unsalted butter at room temp
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup applesauce
- 2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup red wine preferably merlot
For the frosting:
- 8 oz unsalted butter at room temp
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 5 to 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup red wine preferably merlot
For the cake:
- 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.
- Makes one 6” round, 3-layer cake.
For the frosting:
- 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.
For the sugared cranberries, click here or here.
To learn more about entwine wines, watch the video below. You can also visit their website or follow them on Facebook.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with entwine wines. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.
This cake is beyond gorgeous! I hope things change for you weather wise!! I have had plenty of snow-less Christmas mornings!
Thanks so much, Julianne!! Me too!! 🙂
Amy @ Chew Out Loud says
Alice, I totally hear you! I’m your “neighbor” in Minnesota and we are hearing of brown Cmas, too. Funny I never gave it a thought in the West Coast, but now that we have lived here many years, I agree white is the prettiest on Dec. 25th. Now, if it were April…that’s a different story. Love your merlot cake…beautiful holiday dessert.
haha, Amy you are right. Snow is still pretty and beautiful in December/January but not so much in April! 😛
Lisa @ Garnish with Lemon says
After how freezing last winter was, I’m ok with a brown Christmas this year 🙂 Love the addition of the Merlot to this chocolate cake, simply gorgeous!
Thank you so much, Lisa! yeah, I’m sure there will be plenty more snow in January!!! 🙂
SO this is one of the most GORGEOUS cakes I’ve ever seen. Ever ever. You did an AMAZING job with it!
oh my gawd, Joanne . . coming from you, it’s a true compliment. . thank you so much! You are so sweet!!!
Alice that story is cute!! And you are right, sometimes Disney stories carry lots of lessons. I hope you guys get at least a dusting of snow by Christmas so the girls can have a white Christmas. Unless if you are heading to MN where I am sure there will be lots of snow. I cannot even begin to tell you how gorgeous this cake is!! So so beautiful and will make a stunning centerpiece on any holiday table.
Thanks so much, Z!!!! That means so much coming from YOU! 🙂
Now I’m sure I’ve said this before, but red wine & chocolate is the ultimate winning combination. Add in the cake and it’ll reach superstar status!
haha thank you, Alice!! I like super star status! 😛
Thank you so much, Jaden!!
Absolutely gorgeous cake, Alice! I love the addition of the Merlot. I hope that the weather cooperates and you get the white Christmas that you and you daughter want!
Thanks so much, Ashley!!! Me too!! 😛
I just love that Frozen story! How wonderful and what a very important message for our girls and everyone to hear!! I’m sorry you won’t have as much snow, I’d be pretty bummed too. This cake would go along way towards making me feel better about that though! It is just gorgeous! So festive and merlot?? Bring it on! Just a stunner!
Thank you so much, Maria!!! Wishing you and your beautiful family a lovely Christmas!!
You stop it right now! This cake is so freaking beautiful. If I were getting married in the winter this would be my dream wedding cake. I mean, I’m already married but I can still keep planning…right?
oh my gawd, are you kidding me Brandy with this comment today?! Dude, you just made my day. Thank you so much!!
This! This is so insanely gorgeous and how perfect would it be for a winter girls night?! Or any event, really.. wine + chocolate makes life worth living, dammit!
oh my gawd, Cheryl! I love this commment!! “wine + chocolate makes life worth living, dammit!” LOVE! 😛
I was just like the kids. I always wanted a white Christmas. It didn’t feel like Christmas without it. And this cake is absolutely stunning my girl. I mean wow!
Thanks so much, J!!! 🙂 love you boo!!
Beautifully written post, Alice! I’ll send snowy thoughts to you! This towering cake – get out of town! Chocolate + wine + sparkly cranberries. Come on. I need that in my life!
haha, thanks so much Liz!! yeah, I know. . it’s so tall!!! 😛
This cake looks so beautiful! It would make the perfect center piece for my Christmas table
Thank you so much, Ms. Yum!! happy holidays!! if you try this cake, please let me know what you think! 🙂
Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen says
You’ll never find me turning down chocolate cake, and especially one that has red wine and is so freaking stunning!!
Thank you so much, Kelli!!! happy holidays to you and your boyfriend!!!
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says
What a gorgeous cake, Alice! This belongs in a bakery! Love the chocolate and merlot flavor, such a great idea!
oh my goodness, Gayle!! Thank you so much! This comment just made my day! 🙂
Nicole @ Or Whatever You Do says
This cake totally screams WINTER to me! Such a beautiful presentation. I’ve never tasted a chocolate cake with merlot in it, but its now going on my list! YUM!
Thanks so much Nicole!!! if you try it, please let me know what you think! 🙂
Manali @ CookWithManali says
Thank you so much, Manali!
That cake is beyond gorgeous, Alice! And it includes wine? We’ll be heading down to the in-laws soon enough, and a cake with wine in it sounds like the perfect way to celebrate! And since we are at the in-laws, I may have to have a glass of wine alongside my cake, too. 🙂
haha, David. . that’s the only way to do it, yo. a glass of wine WITH this chocolate merlot cake! 🙂 Thank you so much!!
I would much rather have a brown Christmas than a white Chsitmas – specially if that “brown” is in the form of this cake! Alice – wow – this cake is so incredibly gorgeous!! Love the layers, the frosting, totally addicting!
I was so taken by Frozen too – loved how it ended – so different from the older Disney movies were romantic love trumps all – not that am against romantic love or anything!
Have a wonderful Christmas with your family – safe travels, dear!
haha, thank you so much!!! The merriest and happiest Christmas to you too!!!
Aimee @ ShugarySweets says
I have to admit, I love snow on Christmas morning. But by January 1st I’m done with it 🙂
This cake is gorgeous!! The sugared cranberries are beautiful.
Thanks so much, Aimee!! haha, yeah you are right. . last winter was our first winter in WI and after the first few snowfalls, I loved it. . just didn’t know I’d be seeing snow until April! 😛
Lucy Lean says
This cake is EPIC! I’m definitely going to make it over the holidays – and not just because it contains wine! How did you make the sugared cranberries – so pretty. This is my first visit to your site and I’m definitely coming back for more!
Thank you so much Lucy!! The sugared cranberries are quite easy. . there are several recipes on the internet but Naomi has a great one: http://www.bakersroyale.com/basic-baking-series/sugared-cranberries/
Karen | joyfuldinners says
Amazing post, from dreaming about snow and the Frozen story leading to Luke, to this beautiful cake. Thank you. I love the pine cones on top. I grew up in the Northwest where snow comes maybe once a year so when I lived in Ohio for 10 years I savored every snowy moment. I miss them. Here’s to hoping they got it wrong and you wake up to the magic of snow on Christmas morning.
Karen, you are so sweet! Thank you so much for this thoughtful comment!!! Wishing you and your family a lovely holiday season!!! 🙂
Oh my gosh Alice – that cake is stunning! I need some frosting lessons from you. I am working on my son’s bday cake and my frosting is a hot mess compared to yours. Tell me your tricks!
oh my goodness!! Everything I learned re: frosting was from I Am Baker’s book, Surprise Inside Cakes. I think the key is the crumb coat, freezing the cake for a bit and then applying the second layer of frosting and the off set spatula is KEY!!! Thank you, Alyssa!!
This cake looks beautiful! I’ve never tried Merlot cake with merlot frosting! Planning to make it! I hope we get snow for Christmas in Chicago, where it is cold anyways!
Thanks so much, Mira!!! If you try it, please let me know what you think! 🙂
Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits says
Alice, this cake is just freakin’ gorgeous! I’ve never thought of adding wine to cake and frosting!! This is such a winner.
Thanks so much, Lisa!! if you like wine, you have to try this!!
Sarah @ SnixyKitchen says
WOW – This cake is absolutely stunning. And your PHOTOS – Oh my gosh, you captured the light beautifully and the sugared cranberries bounce off the page. I’m sorry to hear you’ll be having a snow-less Christmas, but at least you’ll have this merlot cake;)
Thanks so much Sarah!!! you are too kind!!! 🙂 and yes, at least I will have this cake! 🙂
Diana Johnson says
Wine+chocolate+cake!!! It doesn’t get any better than that. Gorgeous!
haha, agreed!! Thank you Diana!!
We had a brown Christmas here in CA last year, meaning no rain. It was literally brown and depressing! We have plenty of green now because of rain, and while it isn’t white, I’ll take it. 🙂 I will also take one of these cakes! You decorated this cake so beautifully (love the pine cones!) and since I’m a red wine drinker, I’m definitely down with that flavor here. Your Christmas plans sound wonderful, especially ending with this cake!
Awh, thanks so much Marcie!! Wishing you and your family a very happy holiday!!
Brandie @ Spoon And Saucer says
Oh my word. This cake is divinely beautiful. My birthday is the 20th, and I just make this. For myself. 🙂
Thank you so much, Brandie!! Happy early birthday and I hope you DO try the cake!!
This is just stunning! What a gorgeous cake. I could reach right into the photo and sneak a bite! I think Merlot must be the wine of the season. 😉
Love the post Alice. We don’t have family near so it’s usually just the four of us. We’ve all come to truly look forward to the day, hanging around in the kitchen, cooking, eating, going for our annual Christmas morning hike and simply time together. I treasure these moments, especially now that my girls are older.
Wishing you the most beautiful and delicious holiday season!! Merry Christmas!
Thank you so much, Karista! your Christmas sounds fabulous, hanging around in the kitchen, cooking and eating with the family. That’s what it is all about! Wishing you and your family a lovely holiday season too!!! 🙂
Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl says
You are a cake master! Look at how perfect this is. I’m going to a holiday party next week and wouldn’t this be the perfect thing to bring?!
Pamela, I hope you make this cake!!! You will love it!
Andrea @ Cooking with Mamma C says
Your cake is gorgeous! My husband makes wine, so I’ve tried baking with it before, and it’s divine.
Thank you so much,Andrea!! Oh wow, how wonderful!! you must have an abundance of wine at the house!! love that!
This cake is sincerely GORGEOUS Alice!! I love that it is flavored with Merlot!! I can’t agree that I want snow right now……even for Christmas ……….but I sure do want to be staring at this beautiful cake in front of me!! 🙂
Thank you so much, Renee!!
Ashley | The Recipe Rebel says
THIS cake. An absolute wow! I totally agree that Christmas is better with snow! I feel like I was waiting for snow since October, and we finally just got a really good covering at the end of November. It’s been strangely warm lately though and it’s looking not quite as fluffy as it should be…. I hope you guys get some after all!
Thanks so much, Ashley . . sadly, I don’t think we’re due any until January. . but it’s ok. . I’m sure when it snows, it’ll be here until April! 😛 happy holidays!
Our second year in Madison – the one where I birthed our oldest – we had a record 102″ of snow. Insanity! Not sure if that’s better or worse than a brown Christmas!
This cake looks insanely delicious, Alice – but I’d expect nothing less from you!
Oh wow!!! Yeah, I guess the upside is no shoveling. . which means more people get to just stay in and spend time with the family. . which is better!! thank you so much, Melanie!!! you are so sweet!
I love Frozen almost as much as I love this cake, Alice! I’m so sorry for you that you won’t be having a white Christmas. I’m in the same boat, actually it never snows here. I hope you still have a wonderful Christmas!
thanks so much, Tori!!! My girls do too!! 🙂 and I know every word to every Frozen song! 😛
Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen says
Alice, what a great looking cake! I love the candied cranberries on top (they’re so festive!). And, I’ll be that red wine adds a richness that is divine!
Thanks so much Kristi!!! The sugared cranberries were a last minute addition .. so happy everyone likes them! 🙂
What a great story and I love the meaning behind it! Hopefully the weather surprises you and you get the white Christmas for you and the girls 🙂 And this cake is beyond gorgeous, Alice! I love the addition of merlot and those sugared cranberries on top are so pretty and festive!
Thank you so much, Kelly!! so glad we have connected through our blogs!!! 🙂 Wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas!!
Such a beautiful cake to top off a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing!
Awh, thanks so much Annie!! Happy holidays to you and your family!!
Nancy @ gottagetbaked says
You’re killin’ me, smalls. This cake is all kinds of amazing. That moist, fluffy texture! That gorgeous creamy frosting! Those beautiful, festive sugared cranberries. And lady, merlot! Adding wine to cake is brilliant (I hope you were taking a few swigs while baking). We always have a brown Christmas in Vancouver (a brown, grey-skied, rain-drenched Christmas) but I love it just the same because it’s all about spending time with family. And eating, of course 😉 Love ya, Alice, and I loved this post!
love you too, Nance!! so much!!! 🙂
Eva @ Eva Bakes says
What a gorgeous cake! I will gladly eat the frosting alone with a spoon, thankyouverymuch. 🙂
haha, thanks Eva!! I may have done that too! 😛
Jen @ Baked by an Introvert says
The is one stunning cake! Adding wine is pure genius. Fingers crossed for a white Christmas surprise! Miracles do happen!
Hooray for miracles!! and a white christmas! 🙂 thank you, Jen!!
This is such a gorgeous cake Alice and I love that Frozen story! Love the addition of the wine – it must taste amazing. Pinned this beauty.
Thanks so much Jessica!! the wine enhances the chocolate so well. . this is seriously one of all-time favorite chocolate cakes now!
This cake is gorgeous! The sugared cranberries are so pretty!!!
Thank you Amanda!!! Any frosting skills that I have are from watching your videos and from your book, “Surprise Inside Cakes”. . for reals yo.
Nora @ Savory Nothings says
We’re probably going to have a brown Christmas too 🙁 So sad 🙁 But your cake Alice, this CAKE! It’s haunting me in my sleep, that’s how badly I want a slice! Yum!
oh my gosh, Nora! you are too sweet!! thank you so much! happy holidays!!
Pinkies ooooooouuuuuuuttttt for this cake! If wine is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy (per a famous quote)…then this cake is for very happy eating indeed.
very happy eating indeed!!! love that!! 🙂
It’s funny what a kids story can do to your tear ducts, right? When did we get so sappy?? But I’m totally with you Alice. Kids are only kids once, and I don’t want to miss it. Unplugging always feels so good.
Yup, Karen .. I know. . dude, ever since I became a mother, I cry during commercials. . it’s kinda crazy. . anyway happy holidays and here’s to lots of family time!! 🙂
Wow, what a beautiful showstopper, Alice! I love this wine in the chocolate cake idea. My family will go bonanza on this! As for brown Christmas, 🙁 (<-Sad face)! I once spent the Christmas in LA, and it was kind of weird and not festive enough for me. We should always have white Christmas! 🙂
yes, to a white Christmas!! 🙂 and thank you so much Shinee!!
Rachel @ Bakerita says
What a gorgeous cake! It sounds absolutely delicious, and the way you garnished it with those sugared cranberries looks stunning. Pinned!
Thank you so much, Rachel!!
Maureen | Orgasmic+Chef says
We’re having my husband’s family here for Christmas and I know I’ll overdo things. It is what it is, I suppose. I know that I’m going to have this cake. My goodness it looks good!
yes, and hey, I guess that’s what the holidays are for, right? Going all out and over doing things just a bit. . if you try this cake, please let me know! 🙂
Thalia @ butter and brioche says
You can definitely cut me a thick slice of this cake right now, it looks incredibly dense, moist and of course delicious. Love baking with red wine too.. so I can imagine how good this merlot cake tasted!
Thank you so much, Thalia!! yes, it was so good. . and moist!! the first time I baked it, I added a full cup of merlot and it was fabulous but a little too gooey for my husband, so anyway, very happy with the end result (cake #3).
This cake is absolutely gorgeous!! What could be better than chocolate and wine?!
Thank you so much, Laura!! I agree. . chocolate + wine = fabulous.
Maria | Real Life Dinner says
I want to eat that whole cake, RIGHT NOW!!! Beautiful! Your pictures are amazing!
Thank you so much, Maria!!! I could have eaten the entire thing myself. . and that’s why I needed to share!! my neighbor got some and my sister! 🙂
This looks AMAZING. I never would have thought to combine wine with chocolate in baking, but I can understand why it must work so beautifully!! Yum. Love the frosted berries on the top of the cake, too (I have never seen a fresh cranberry – we don’t have them here and I am so envious of all of the glossy cranberry posts happening at the moment!). Oh, and as for the brown Christmas? Sounds like our experience every year, haha. But I will send up a snow prayer for your little ones this year, I hope that you all have a beautiful, memorable Christmas week xxx
Laura, a snow prayer? You are the sweetest!! 🙂 Wish I could send you some fresh cranberries!!! You don’t have them there in Australia at all?
Brown Christmas sounds just tragic! Let’s call it “Snowless Christmas”! This cake totally makes up for the lack of snow. It is absolutely stunning! Love each and every photo! Pinned!
haha, those were the exact words used. . “brown Christmas” .. thank you so much, Lindsey!!
Um, wow. This cake belongs in Frozen. It’s a perfect winter cake, brown Christmas or not! My kids are obsessed withi that movie, too. And I’m obsessed with trying merlot in my chocolate cake now! It’s so exciting that this works!
Hi Mir!! oh, it works and seriously, this might be my favorite chocolate cake ever!! Hope you try it!!
Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats says
This cake is gorgeous! We are going to have a brown Christmas in Minnesota unless we get some fresh snow to, It rained last night and washed the snow away. At least you get to be with your family!
Thank you so much, Julie!! Yup, you’re right . . I’m so happy I’ll be with my family!!! My sister lives in MN! 🙂 Happy holidays to you and your family!!
What a gorgeous cake! I love how you decorated it with cranberries and pine cones. I’ve never added merlot to a cake before. I bet it tastes amazing.
Thanks so much Christine!! if you like wine, you will love this cake!!! the wine enhances the chocolate and this cake is extra moist and delicious!
Johlene @Flavours & Frosting says
What a beautiful cake!! Merlot and Chocolate combined in a cake! That´s a new one for me and I LOVE it! Genius! 🙂 xoxo
Thank you so much, Johlene!! if you like wine, you will love this cake!!! the wine enhances the chocolate and this cake is extra moist and delicious! 🙂
Oh, my gosh, Alice. Stunning. Just stunning.
Coming from you, Liz. . that’s a HUGE compliment!!! Thank you so much!!
Shannon @ Bake. Frost. Repeat. says
This is quite possibly the most beautiful cake I’ve ever seen. Seriously. I love it.
oh my gawd, Shannon, thank you so much! You just made my morning! 🙂 Happy Holidays!!
Booo to a brown Christmas—we had some snow, but the rain we had yesterday took care of that pretty quick. 🙁 But a chocolate-brown cake?! I think I can get on board with that. 😀 This cake is seriously an absolute stunner, Alice! Swooning over that fudgy frosting!
Thank you so much Sarah!! it’s supposed to snow here in WI tomorrow!!! 🙂
Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles says
Super gorgeous cake! I want to try this with the Merlot in it!!
Thank you so much, Brenda!!
Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles says
And about that brown Christmas. We’re not happy over here, either. Our girls are so disappointed. It is so dreary! 🙁
We’re supposed to get snow tomorrow. . so maybe it will stick!! 😛 Happy holidays to you, Brenda and your beautiful family. . thankfully I’m sure there will be a lot more snow in January, right?!
Oh my, this cake is a stunner! Just look at that gorgeous frosting…I’m so intrigued by the wine and chocolate combination.
Hope you get some of the fluffy white stuff… 😉
Thank you so much, Marissa!!! if you like wine, you will love this cake! The merlot enhances the chocolate wonderfully!!
I remember the post about Christmas being better with snow…but as a consolation, Alice, this stunning cake will fill the void. Great styling and photos. Have a merry and bright holiday season!
Thank you so much, Brooks!!! Merry Christmas to you, too!!! 🙂
Elizabeth @ Enjoy Every Bite says
This cake looks divine! So so beautiful! And thanks for sharing the story of Martha and Mary! It’s always nice to take time to remember the true meaning of Christmas 🙂
Elizabeth, awh thanks for actually reading my post and clicking to that link!!! 🙂 Merry Christ-mas to you too!!
I see we’re both on a wine kick! What a stunningly gorgeous cake! I love the look of the frosted cranberries and pine cones- so festive!
Haha, yes!!! Thank you so much, Sonali!! Wishing you a very happy holiday!!
Lora @cakeduchess says
I can’t believe you’ll have a brown Christmas…boo…and I will have another very green one w/swinging palm trees. I do dream of seeing snow again on Christmas (one day!). This cake, oh….this cake !Some of your most gorgeous photos every, Alice. LOVE this recipe. I’m obsessed!
Lora, thank you so much!! You are too sweet!!! 🙂 I’ll trade you my brown for your green one w/swinging palm trees!!! 🙂
Sarah @ Savoring Spoon says
What a beautiful cake! I love the addition of pine cones on the top along with the cranberries. 🙂 So festive. And Merlot in cake? Sounds very decadent and romantic! 🙂 This cake has mystery and delicious written all over it.
Hi Sarah!! Thank you so much. . I love that description. . mystery and delicious written all over it! 🙂 Happy Holidays!
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says
Whoa girl, this cake is such a stunner!! Crushing on everything about this – the merlot and chocolate combo, the cranberries on top! WHOA!
Thank you so much, Katrina!!!
I live in central Wisconsin, and we just have a dusting of snow. My daughter is getting married Saturday, and was wanting a Winter Wonderland wedding, not happening in southern Wisconsin for sure, but the wedding will be beautiful and wonderful! On to this cake, wow! I can’t wait to try it. I am not the best at baking but I am going to give this cake a try. You have it decorated so beautifully as well! Thank you for sharing! Merry Christmas!
Hi Julie! awh thank you so much!!! and I hope your daughter gets the Winter Wonderland wedding!!! It might happen!! Merry Christmas to you too!!! 🙂
Alice, your cake is so so SO beautiful!!! My family lives in Minnesota, but I will be totally okay without seeing a single snow flake this year.. there was so much snow last year!!
haha, yeah I guess you are right Beth! And I’m sure we’ll have plenty in January!!! Thank you so much for visiting!!
Girlfriend, I seriously LOVE this cake. It’s one of the most beautiful ones I have seen yet! Pinning the heck out of this one!
Awh, thank you Connie . . coming from YOU, I take that as a huge compliment!!!
Wow – not only is this cake beautiful – but it’s chocolate and made with wine!! Win win I say.
Hi Geraldine. . yes yes, it’s a total win-win 🙂 Thank you so much!!
Baby June says
Absolutely gorgeous! I just love the sugared cranberries on top, so pretty 🙂
Thank you so much!!
Merlot! Chocolate Cake! Heaven!
This post is PURE deliciousness! xxx
Thank you SO much!!! Happy Holidays!!
Oh my goodness! Alice! This cake! I am absolutely in love. It is so beautiful! I love the pinecones and sugared cranberries. And the wine and chocolate flavors sound amazing! This is going on my must-make list for sure. And I’m so happy to hear that you are going to unplug. That’s what I’ve been trying to do too and I think the whole family feels so much closer. They will look back and remember… <3
Awh, thanks so much Allie!!! yes. . looking forward to Christmas in Dallas with my family. . praying that you guys have a very lovely and peaceful Christmas .. thinking of and praying for your town. .
Kate @ Diethood says
This cake!! It’s beyond beautiful! You did an amazing job. I had a chance to taste Entwine a few months back and it was so good!
If you get that snow, keep it there. Indiana had enough last year. 😉
Are you serious with this cake!?!?!? Like, really? It looks so ridiculously pro I can’t even take it. Beautiful photos… those cranberries are gorgeous!
Michell Sanglez says
Gotta try this one :D!
ann marie whitten says
Hi I am about to bake this cake this weekend for my boss’s 50 birthday . she loves chocolate and merlot so this is perfect! I cannot find entwine merlot here at all in ontario canada. Do you have any other options or suggestions? also wondering how your sugared the berries?
Hi Ann Marie! Just like cooking with wine, I recommend purchasing a great tasting Merlot to bake with . . (not the cheap stuff) . . buy one that you would want to drink. Entwine’s website says this about their Merlot: “juicy and mouthwatering – think mid-summer plums and cherries, with a hint of black tea.” http://www.entwine-wines.com/our-wines and unless you really want them, I’d leave the sugared cranberries off. . it’s more for decoration and was more for the holidays. . but this is how I did it: http://www.bakersroyale.com/basic-baking-series/sugared-cranberries/. . Happy Baking!!! Please let me know how the cake turns out and happy birthday to your boss!! this Chocolate Merlot Cake is one of my faves!!
I made this cake for my fiance’s birthday and he loved it. His wine of choice is merlot so when it popped up on pinterest, I had to try it. He said it was like a bit dry but merlot is a dry wine but he said it was very good. The only changes I made were: #1 – I made a 2 layer cake instead of 3 (still using my 9″ springform pans); and, #2 – I had to substitute the wine (which might have changed the taste) because I couldn’t find entwine in St. Louis, so I used barefoot merlot. Those were the only things I changed and I made the icing as written. The cake only lasted a day and it was gone. Definitely a keeper recipe.
Hi Jennifer, SO HAPPY to hear this!!! Thank you for letting me know!! This cake is one of my faves too! 🙂
ann marie whitten says
I did it and must say, the batter and the icing both tasted awesome!!! I cannot wait until tomorrow to taste it 🙂 Thank you so much for such an awesome cake recipe. My sugared fruit did not look quite as pretty as yours but I chose to use Raspberries and blueberries which compliment the wine I used.
I do not know where to post the photo for you but THANK YOU!!!! Go to recipe from now on!
Cheers, Ann marie
Ann Marie, so happy to hear this!! I hope you enjoy it! If you’re on Instagram, you can tag @aleedallas and I will see it!! 🙂 or tag @aleedallas and #hipfoodiemom
Your cake is just beautiful! Please share the size of your pans used. Thank you.
Hi Angie, thank you!! It’s actually in the recipe card at the top, under “prep time, cook time, total time”. I used 3 , 6 inch round cake pans for the 3 layer cake. I hope you give this recipe a try! Thank you for stopping by!
I love your chocolate cake. It looks moist and the frosting looks just amazing! I love especially the way the slice proudly stands there, perfectly cut and firm!
I would love to try this cake, however I have never used wine in the mix. Will this be OK to serve to children? Forgive me if this is a dumb question. Thanks, looking forward to a white christmas in Wisconsin!
I truly loved the idea and look of this cake. Today I made it and wish I knew what I did wrong. The cake seemed dry and left a bitter after taste, perhaps from the cocoa. Hopefully, someone can give me some suggestions, I would like to try it again. Also I found I had way too much frosting left over. I used the 5 cups of confectioners sugar.
I was wondering if you know how deep the cake pans were that you used? 2 inches, 3 inches?
Hi Shaela! how deep? yeah not more than 2 to 2 1/2 inches tall. Hope that helps! Let me know if you try this cake!
Thank you –
I don’t bake often but I saw this and I had to try it out! It’s in the oven as we speak!
One other question, is the batter supposed to be kind of thick? I feel like when I made cake with my mom as a child the batter was slight runny. Thoughts?
Thank you –
I don’t bake often but I saw this and I had to try it out! It’s in the oven as we speak!
One other question, is the batter supposed to be kind of thick? I feel like when I made cake with my mom as a child the batter was slight runny. Thoughts?
Hi Shaela, I sent you an email yesterday. . I couldn’t respond to this yesterday here on the blog because my site was down. Anyway, yes this batter is a little thick but not too thick. I hope it turned out ok! What kind of wine did you use? and please let me know how the cake turned out!
Jennifer M says
This just came out of the oven and smells DIVINE!! Baking for my husband’s birthday 🙂
I only made two layers though and they aren’t nearly as thick as yours. If I had done three they would have been very thin. Any tips!? Thanks!
Hi Jennifer, what size cake pans are you using? My cake pans were 6″ x 2″ round cake pans, so a lot smaller than the normal or average 8 or 9″ size.
This cake is divine! What’s an alternative for apple sauce? If i dont have any?
Hi April, I love the apple sauce it helps to add a little moisture and I have only tested this recipe with it, so I would suggest just picking some up from the store. you can even buy a 6 pack of little containers so you don’t have to open a jar container just for this. You could try vegetable oil, HOWEVER again, I have not tested this cake with anything else so cannot guarantee the results. I would just go buy some apple sauce. . if you’ve never baked with it before, it’s divine!
this is cake sounds and looks beyond gorgeous! I cannot wait to try it out! Your point of spending time with family during the holidays……I cannot agree more. We live in beautiful San Francisco, so no snow for us, but a white Christmas is definitely a beautiful scene of the nature.
you mentioned Entwine is recommended for this recipe, but I don’t have that, can I use another?
Thank you so much! I used to live in San Francisco, from 1999 to 2001! I loved it! Yes, you can certainly use any Merlot wine. . I would highly recommend a good quality wine! Rule of thumb for me when cooking or baking with wine, use a wine that you would actually drink. Don’t buy the cheap stuff. 🙂
Thank you for your advice! Happy holidays and may the new year brings you more inspiration and good health!
I can’t wait to try this!! Do you think 2 8in layers would work? It’s all I have at the moment.
Sure! The cake will be larger and shorter but should still taste great!!
This cake is for very happy eating indeed.
Really a huge variety of cake for Christmas party. Thanks for sharing such an awesome post just before Christmas. It really useful to me.
Really a huge variety of cake for Christmas party. Thanks for sharing such an awesome post just before Christmas. It really useful to me. Awesome
Delicious batter and icing, haven’t tasted the completed cake yet. My parents will be at my house tomorrow and we will devour this cake. Then I plan to make one for my 93 year old grandma, she loves cake and wine 🙂 I used two 9″ rounds and it baked up beautifully. Bravo on this recipe!!!
Joanna, I hope you and your grandma love it!!!!
mary anderson says
Yum – this look fantastic – I love the fluffiness. This come out perfect.
WOW..The cake looks soo perfect and drooling..
Lesley Wright says
Ohhhh! Wow! I made this recipe but did it as cupcakes (cos they are easy to eat/manage with alot of people). I also just made a merlot syrup and brushed it on the cupcakes before I Ice them! Ohhh It’s so delicious! Thank you !
Merlot syrup sounds incredible!!! I’m so happy you loved them! thank you, Lesley!
Wow awesome blog. Thanks Again. Really Great.