Serves 16 to 20
This recipe makes a three-layer cake with three layers of filling. You won’t have enough to coat the sides. You can double the frosting recipe to cover it.
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
2¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
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2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups red wine, any kind you like
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups Dutch cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon table salt
For the filling:
16 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment and either butter and lightly flour the parchment and exposed sides of the pans, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, at the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about three minutes. Add the eggs and beat well, then add the red wine and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven.
3. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients. Mix until three-quarters combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula.
4. Divide batter between prepared pans (about 2½ cups batter per pan). Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of each layer comes out clean. The top of each cake should be shiny and smooth, like a puddle of chocolate.
5. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack. If your cakes have domed a bit and you want nice even layers in your stack, you can trim the tops.
6. To make the filling: In a medium bowl, beat the mascarpone with the confectioners’ sugar, pinch of salt and vanilla extract at medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about one to two minutes.
7. To assemble the cake: Place the first cake layer on a cake stand or plate, and spread with one-third of the filling. Repeat with remaining two layers. Chill with cake in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.
From The Spokesman-Review by “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook,” by Deb Perelman (Knopf, 2012)