26 October 2014

Rioja Chocolate Cake

I sort of forgot to mention, but earlier this month Cake Of The Week had its third birthday. I stop and think every now and then about whether I really want to carry on blogging. I love to bake, but sometimes writing about it and internally pressuring myself to hit deadlines (e.g. entering my own blogging challenge) can sometimes make this hobby feel more like a chore.

This blog has evolved into more than just a platform for sharing my recipes: I network with other bloggers, I run my own blogging challenge, and entering other blogging challenges encourages the experimentation with flavours and ingredients that I enjoy so much. It's true that there is no longer a cake or bake every week, but I think it's better to only present my creations a) when they go well and b) when I have wanted to make something, rather than do it only out of a sense of obligation to readers.

The long and short of it is, I'm not finished here yet. There is a lot more to come from this little blog.

Fortunately for me, the host of Baking With Spirit (yours truly) is very flexible when it comes to entries. This month the challenge is to bake something autumnal, as long as it contains alcohol. Though it doesn't look it, to me this Rioja Chocolate Cake is a grown-up way to celebrate all things autumn: the evenings getting darker (hello, autumn equinox); the days getting colder; Halloween; bonfire night. It epitomises darkness with its moist dark crumb and chocolate cream cheese icing. The wine in the cake batter adds a lovely fruity depth that marries incredibly well with the chocolate. Think "dark, cold evening spent cosied up in front of the fire" in cake form.

Sure, you could jazz it up with some fondant creepy crawlies or pipe a spider web on it, but my (2+ year old) fondant was rock hard when I pulled it out of my baking box and I thought the cake looked good without.

For the sponge
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 100g Dark Muscovado Sugar
  • 200g Butter
  • 3 Eggs
  • 150g Plain Flour
  • 50g Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 250mL Rioja (or your favourite red wine)
For the chocolate cream cheese icing
  • 300g Philadelphia Cheese
  • 70g Caster Sugar
  • 25g Cocoa Powder
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan and line an 8-10" springform tin with baking parchment.
  • Cream the butter and sugars together until soft and fluffy. 
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the batter is smooth.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into the batter and fold in until well combined.
  • Fold in the wine.
  • Pour the batter into the springform tin and bake for 30 minutes, or until the sponge springs back when pressed and a skewer comes out clean.
  • While the cake cools completely, make the icing.
  • Beat the Philadelphia cheese in a bowl until soft and smooth.
  • Add the caster sugar, and beat until it has dissolved in the cheese (there won't be any visible grains left)
  • Sift the cocoa powder into the bowl and stir into the cream cheese mixture until well combined.
  • When the cake is completely cool, spread the icing over the top and decorate as desired.


  1. Ah, so now I know what Rioja is. This looks delicious, and perfect for this time of year. Though, with chocolate cake, any time of year is perfect for me! I love how you have only used a bit of sugar in the cream cheese icing - so many have been diluted down with loads of butter and sugar so there isn't much cream cheese any more. Also, I totally get where you're coming from when you say you question whether you want to continue blogging. I ask myself the same questions and inevitably end up deciding that I enjoy it too much to give it up and so head straight into the kitchen.

    1. SO delicious that I had to have two pieces... I am with you on the cream cheese icing; I'm really not into anything overly sweet these days and the icing sugar-filled buttercreams really don't appeal to me.

  2. Happy blogiversary. Such a great accomplishment and I hope you do continue with your blog. This cake sounds lovely and definitely autumnal. The frosting in particular is calling me....

    1. Thank you! I think it's always nice to know what you're doing is enjoyed by others. The frosting is awesome - didn't need the cake, it was good enough by itself!

  3. Happy bloganiversary. I enjoy reading your blog posts so hope you continue with sharing your cake and bakes x

    1. Thanks Charlene, that's really nice to hear!

  4. Happy Anniversary! And, I totally agree with you about the hobby of blogging. I now take my time and don't worry about 'growing the blog.' If it were my sole source of income, well then, yes I'd be posting tons. But, it's not, so the pressure to post isn't as strong as when I first started. I love the look and flavors of this cake! Cheers to you, Janine!!


Did you try this recipe? Let me know what you think! Comments are always appreciated. Unless they are spam.