Vegan Dark Chocolate Red Wine Cake

 reading time: 4 min

This year I got to meet J's grandmother on his father's side for the very first time! She kindly invited us to her house, and we brought a homemade cake (mainly because she doesn't know we're vegan and we didn't want to cause any trouble for her). Since we already had an open dry red wine bottle, I decided to go for this dark, rich, chocolaty red wine cake that combines red wine with pieces of bittersweet chocolate and a hint of raspberry, and a red whine ganache for an intensely flavoured cake.

BTW: My Dad dubbed this the "Red Riding Hood Cake" because we were paying grandma a visit with red wine and cake, lol. Luckily, we weren't eaten by a wolf.

Red wine works great in chocolate cake because both the cacao and the red wine have dark "berry" notes that make for a decadent, slightly fruity cake. Especially chocolates with a higher percentage of cocoa (I use 70 %), and dry, full-bodied wine such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, pinot noir or even ruby port are great choices.


Preparation time: 2 hours
Main ingredients: spelt flour, margarine, chocolate, red wine
difficulty level: easy
serves: 10–14 (1 bundt cake)
suitable for: vegan, lactose-free, wheat-free, soy-free


1 1/8 cup (150 g) whole grain spelt flour
1 cup, loosely packed (100 g) spelt flour (type 1050) *
3/4 cup (50 g) ground hazelnuts

1 cup (200 g) raw cane sugar or brown sugar
1 pack (15 g) baking powder
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of sea salt (I use kala namak for that "eggy" taste)

1 tsp vanilla essence
4 tbsp soy flour
10 tbsp (100 ml) non-dairy milk

1/2 cup (125 ml) vegan red wine (dry, full-bodied wine is best)
2 tbsp rum
1 cup (2
00 g) margarine or vegan butter
3/4 cup (100 g) vegan dark chocolate, chopped
1 large handful of raspberries, fresh or frozen and thawed *

1/2 cup (80 g) vegan dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 cup (100 g) margarine (or sub vegan cream)
2 tbsp vegan red wine
3 tbsp powdered sugar

* If you are confused about that flour type, check out this website which explains the difference between German flour types and US-American flour types.  


Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C.

For the cake:

Lightly grease and flour a bundt cake pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, soy flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt. Add chopped hazelnuts. Whisk.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the margarine and sugar until fluffy and lighter in colour. Add the liquid ingredients (vanilla essence, non-dairy milk, red wine, and rum if using). Whisk until smooth.

Slowly whisk in the flour mixture until just combined. Resist the urge to overmix the batter.

Lastly, fold in the chopped chocolate and the raspberries.

Pour batter into the prepared bundt cake pan, and bake on the middle rack at 350 F / 180 C for about 50–60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan for 15–20 minutes. Gently invert the cake onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the ganache.

For the ganache:

In a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of gently simmering water, melt the chocolate pieces and margarine over low heat, stirring constantly.

Remove the bowl from the heat, and add in the red wine and powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes, or until the ganache has thickened and reached a creamy consistency that is easier to spread and stay neat.

Once the cake is cooled, pour the ganache glaze over the cake and let it naturally drip down the sides. Let the glaze set at least a few minutes before serving.

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- Use white wine instead of red wine, (vegan) white chocolate instead of dark chocolate, and almonds instead of hazelnuts for a lighter cake!
- To make this cake alcohol-free, swap the wine for grape juice, orange juice or cherry juice (or simply non-dairy milk).
- For a low-fat version, replace the 200 g margarine with 120 g unsweetened applesauce or plum puree and 80 g margarine.
- * Instead of raspberries, use finely grated zest of 1 organic orange (about 1 teaspoon). You could also use blueberries, chopped cherries or even apples! If desired, soak the fruit in the red wine overnight.
- For a more wintry version of this cake, add 1 tsp of ground cardamom to the batter, and/or 1/2 tsp of ground ginger and/or 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg. You could also use mulled wine instead of regular red wine, for that extra Christmas-y "punch"!
- You can also make cupcakes with this recipe, but use less baking time, about 18–20 minutes.
-  If you have any glaze leftover, either drizzle it atop pancakes or waffles, or on top of vegan ice cream, topped with fresh fruit. Or stash it in the fridge for a couple of hours, then roll the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls (mix with ground hazelnuts, if it's not firm enough to roll), and coat in cocoa powder, nuts, or sprinkles. Voila! You've got truffles!