Whenever my Mom started reading a new novel, the first thing she did was turn to the last chapter to see how it ends.
My Dad and I used to laugh and shake our heads in disbelief.
But I think I inherited a little of that gene because I don’t always adhere to strict order, either.
I couldn’t wait to tear into Peters new cookbook, especially because I loved her first one, “Eat in My Kitchen: To Cook, to Bake, to Eat, and to Treat” (Prestel), which won a James Beard Award.
As the name implies, this new cookbook, of which I received a review copy, offers up an entire year’s worth of recipes. Yes, one for each and every day.
The recipes are arranged from January to December, with everything from soups to salads to mains to desserts. The delights include “Saffron and Clementine Cake” in February, “Salmon with Juniper-Gin Butter” in April, “Squash Pasta with Orange, Maple, and Sage” in September, and “Spiced Chestnut and Apple Pie” in November.
I know it’s October, but when it came time to try my first recipe from the book, I leaped ahead unapologetically to January. Hey, you would, too, for a taste of “Marbled Red Wine and Chocolate Bundt Cake.”
The cookbook says its ideal for a lazy Sunday. And it definitely is. Imagine a marbled Bundt cake, where the main batter is mixed with a little red wine to tinge it pale pink. Some of that batter is then mixed with cocoa powder, then dolloped and swirled into the main batter to create that pretty marbled effect we all love.
Best yet, the whole cake gets drizzled with a glaze made from confectioner’s sugar and a little more red wine, plus a shower of chocolate shavings.
For the wine in the cake, I chose to use a 2014 Siglo Riserva (Rioja) of which I had received a sample. With its plum and blackberry notes, along with a finish of milk chocolate, it was ideal.
Although the recipe calls for buttering the pan and then sprinkling with breadcrumbs, I just used an oil-and-flour spray on mine, which worked great to get into all the ridges of a Bundt pan. But feel free to do whichever is easiest for you.
This cake bakes up moist with a pronounced deep chocolate flavor from the cocoa powder. The wine adds a noticeable berry-fruitiness that enhances the chocolate taste. Although wine is used in the glaze, and is not cooked out, the cake in no way tastes boozy, just in case you’re afraid of having a piece for breakfast, and then going into the office.
It’s a cake that’s perfect any time of year. So what are you waiting for? As I learned from my Mom long ago, sometimes it pays to jump ahead.
MORE: Meet author Meike Peters at Omnivore Books in San Francisco, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 17, where she’ll be signing copies of her cookbook.
Marbled Red Wine and Chocolate Bundt Cake
For the cake:
Dry breadcrumbs for sprinkling the Bundt pan
6 large eggs, separated
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons Dutch-process or natural unsweetened cocoa powder, plus 1/3 cup for the chocolate batter
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, plus 1 heaping tablespoon for the chocolate batter
1/2 cup dry red wine
For the icing:
2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 to 1/3 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon finely grated bittersweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (preferably convection setting). Butter a 7 1/2-cup Bundt pan and sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs.
For the cake, whisk the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for a few minutes or until stiff. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar for 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, incorporating each yolk before adding the next one, and continue beating for a few minutes or until thick and creamy. Add the red wine and mix until well combined. With a wooden spoon, gently fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the butter mixture, followed by 1/3 of the flour mixture. Repeat with the remaining egg white and flour mixture, folding until combined. Scrape half the red wine batter into the prepared Bundt pan.
For the chocolate batter, add the remaining 1/3 cup of cocoa powder and the remaining 1 heaping tablespoon of granulated sugar to the remaining red wine batter and mix gently until well combined. Dollop the chocolate batter on top of the lighter batter in the pan and spread a little. Using a fork, swirl though the two batters from top to bottom, carefully pulling once all the way through the pan. Bake for about 40 minutes (slightly longer if using a convention oven as opposed to a convection one) or until golden and spongy. If you insert a skewer into the center of the cake, it should come out clean. Let cool for a few minutes then shake the Bundt pan a little and turn the cake out onto a plate. Let cool completely.
For the icing, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with 1/4 cup of the red wine in a medium bowl until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add more wine. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cake and sprinkle with the grated chocolate while icing is still soft.
From “365: A Year of Everyday Cooking & Baking” by Meike Peters
Another Meike Peters Recipe to Enjoy: Spiced Apple, Ham and Raclette Sandwich