Red wine velvet cake with whipped mascarpone

Every so often a recipe comes along that makes it almost worth hosting a party just so you have an excuse to bake it. This is that recipe. Most red velvet cakes use food colouring but this one uses wine instead, giving a much richer (and more grown-up) result.

KCal: 101 per slice

Saturated fat: 3.5g

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes


  • 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing tins
  • 400g plain flour, plus more for flouring tins
  • 430g dark brown sugar
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 530ml red wine, any variety
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 130g Dutch cocoa powder (powder that has its acids neutralised, available in supermarkets)
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp table salt

For the filling:

  • 450g mascarpone cheese
  • 280g icing sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract


Step 1: Preheat your oven to 160˚C/fan 140˚C/gas mark 3. Line the bottom of three 23cm cake tins with parchment and butter and lightly flour the parchment and sides of the pans.

Step 2: In a mixer on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, beat well, then the red wine and vanilla. Sift the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together, over the mixture. Mix with the machine until almost combined, then fold the rest together with a spatula.

Step 3: Divide batter between the tins. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. The top of each cake should be shiny and smooth. Cool on a rack. If your cakes have domed a bit, level the tops using a long serrated knife.

Step 4: In a medium bowl, beat the mascarpone with the icing sugar, pinch of salt and vanilla extract at medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Place the first cake layer on a cake stand or plate, and spread with one-third of the filling. Repeat with the remaining two layers. Chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman (£20, Square Peg)


Wine expert Jane Parkinson suggests the perfect pairing

Elysium Black Muscat 2011, £12.49 (half bottle), Majestic

A pudding wine you’ll never forget, this is almost a liquid version of Turkish Delight. It’s an intensely luscious Californian wine that’s great with rich cakes like this or chocolate desserts. It’s all about succulent ripe cherries and raspberries with a little kick of dark chocolate in the mouth and is so aromatic it smells like pot pourri.