You’ve been good all year (right?) and have avoided the temptation of both chocolate and alcohol at every turn (right?!?).
But now it is the holiday season—time to let loose! And we have just the perfect dessert for you—this cake not only has chocolate but red wine. You might not think this would be a tasty combination, but once you try out the recipe you’ll be a believer.
The cake is German Christmas cake with Glühwein. Glühwein is one German Christmas tradition that is guaranteed to keep you warm and cozy. There are many variations on a Glühwein recipe, but basically Glühwein is a blend of red wine, spices such as cinnamon and cloves, and orange or raisins. It may also contain star aniseed, sugar or brown sugar, vanilla pods, and even a shot of elderberry cordial, brandy, rum, or amaretto. These tasty ingredients are mixed together and heated up.
Glühwein is quite popular at outdoor German Christmas markets, where it keeps people warm while shopping. At these markets, it is often sold in souvenir mugs for people to take home and collect.
Whether you want Glühwein to add to cake, or just to enjoy on a cold winter’s evening, it is easy enough to make. The following recipe makes enough for six people—you’ll only need ½ cup for the cake recipe that follows, but of course you’ll want extra to drink.
1 bottle of red wine (750 mL)
¾ cup of water
¾ cup of white sugar (or more, if you’d like it a little sweeter)
About 10 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
½ cup rum (optional)
(And of course, you can add other ingredients, depending on your taste and how creative you want to get!)
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine water, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil while constantly stirring. Reduce the heat and let it simmer.
Cut the orange in half. Squeeze as much juice as you can into the saucepan (or, slice oranges and remove seeds. Put cloves into the orange slices and add them to the pot). Wrap cloves in the peel and then throw the whole thing in the saucepan. Cook until it starts to thicken.
Pour in the wine and the rum. Stir and heat gradually until it is steaming, but don’t let it boil. Remove orange peels and serve, warm, in prewarmed mugs.
If you would prefer, you can use your slow cooker to make your Glühwein—just make sure you watch carefully so that it doesn’t burn.
Once you’ve made the wine, you’re all set to make your cake (which is easy to make, too).
1 cup flour
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 egg, beaten
½ cup Glühwein
½ cup oil
¼ cup boiling water
Grease and flour one 9-inch round baking pan.
In a large bowl, stir sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add in the eggs, wine, oil, and vanilla. Beat it all together at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add in boiling water and stir. The batter will be thin. Pour the batter into prepared pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, and then remove from pans and place on wire racks.
Bake this cake with Glühwein for Christmas dinner so the whole family can enjoy this German tradition. Or, bake it to enjoy in front of a roaring fire, along with a tall steaming mug of Glühwein.