I have the huge blessing of living in a rural agricultural community that is known for its incredible Pinot Noir. Just beyond my home in any direction are numerous small vineyards and wineries that hand craft lovely wines characteristic of our region . Two friends of mine, Brad and Kathleen McLeroy of Ayers Vineyard, (who also happen to have children in classes with each of my children!) pour their hearts into making fabulous Pinot Noir. For quite some time now I have wanted to try making a cake with a Pinot Noir and since I had an amazing bottle of the Ayers Perspective Pinot Noir on hand I decided to dive in and give it a go!
I had seen several recipes for cake that included Pinot Noir but they all were chocolate and I felt it would mask too much of the flavor of the wine. At the same time, I thought perhaps it was necessary to mask the flavor of the wine and that was why everyone was covering it up.
Then I came across the most beautiful Raspberry Pinot Noir Sorbet recipe in Tom Douglas’s Dahlia Bakery Cookbook. The sorbet used a syrup made from sugar, raspberries and an Oregon Pinot. I decided to make my own version of his raspberry pinot syrup to infuse my prospective cake. What I discovered was that it made the most incredible raspberry syrup I have ever tasted! It was tart and full flavored and not too sweet. The wine notes were not overbearing but added a complexity that rounded out the flavor of the fruit.I used a portion of this delicious syrup in the cake and buttercream filling. I also added an additional amount of wine to the cake batter to increase its notability. The resulting cake is moist, light and full of raspberry flavor with a hint of the warmth of the Pinot Noir lingering in the background. This is the kind of cake you just can’t stop eating because you capture a different and wonderful taste with every bite.
If you voted on Facebook for my birthday cake flavor, this one came in a close second to White Mocha, so I decided to make them both. Two birthday cakes are always better than one right!? I will have White Mocha Cake up though soon for all of you White Mocha voters 🙂
Be sure to try this cake out. It is a real treat and worthy of the best birthday fare!
- 7 ounces (198 grams) granulated sugar-1 cup
- 8 fluid ounces good quality Pinot Noir
- 12 ounces raspberries, fresh or frozen
- 14 ounces (397 grams) granulated sugar-2 cups
- 5 ounces (142 grams) vegetable oil- 2/3 cup
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon (3 milliliters) raspberry extract
- 14 ounces (397 grams) all-purpose/plain flour-2 ¾ cup
- ¾ teaspoon (4 milliliters) salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons (8 milliliters) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) baking soda
- 4 fluid ounces (120 milliliters) buttermilk-½ cup
- 4 ounces (113 grams) sour cream- ½ cup
- 2 fluid ounces (60 milliliters) good quality Pinot Noir
- 8 fluid ounces (240 milliliters) raspberry syrup (from above recipe)
- 3-4 drops red food coloring (optional)
- Combine the sugar, wine and berries in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Press through a medium fine strainer or food mill. Some seeds are okay if you don’t mind them. Cool to room temperature. Save one cup for the cake recipe. The remaining amount can be added to buttercream or served alongside the cake.
- Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C). Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans. Beat sugar, oil and eggs and flavorings for 1 min on medium speed of stand mixer. Sprinkle in flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Start mixer on low to blend to moisten, then increase speed and beat for 2 minutes. Meanwhile whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream and Pinot Noir. When the beating is done turn the mixer to low and gradually add buttermilk mixture. Fold in raspberry syrup and food coloring if using. Pour into the three pans evenly and bake for 28-32 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes and then turn out onto wire racks to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill if not using immediately. Frost with buttercream or icing of your choice. Enjoy!