|Port Wine Cake
In the seventeenth century, a rich tradition was born in the Douro Valley of
Portugal. It is a sweet wine called Port. Over 40 California wineries produce
port-style wine today. But what makes this sweet dessert wine so unique is the
variety of Portugal grapes used in the process.
Ficklin Vineyards in Madera
uses four varieties of grapes in their wine, the Touriga, the Tinta Madera, the
Souzo and the Tinta Cao. However, during the winemaking process, the fermentation
is stopped with the addition of brandy, which is the traditional method from Portugal.
This brandy is a distillate made from wine, which is very young, clean and neutral.
Besides sipping port wine, you can also use it for baking. Here's a decadent
chocolate port wine cake that will warm your heart.
Cake with chocolate sauce
4 oz. Unsalted butter
1/2 cup Ficklin
4 oz. Unsweetened chocolate
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs, separated
cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Butter and line bottom with
wax paper and dust with flour one 10" cake pan. Melt wine, butter and chocolate
together in metal bowl set over simmering water.
Set aside 2 tablespoons
Combine remaining sugar and egg yolks in mixer and beat until pale
yellow. Add melted chocolate (slowly) beat until smooth, then add flour and beat
until smooth. Beat egg whites and sugar until soft peaks form.
fold in 1/3 of chocolate mixture.
Transfer to clean bowl and fold in remaining
Bake for 30 minutes in 325-degree oven.
Cake best served warm,
ok to reheat in microwave.
Served as a one-layer cake topped with sauce below.
Chocolate port sauce
1 cup of sugar
1/4 Ficklin Port
2 cups of water
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 pint of cream
water, sugar and port to make a syrup. Reduce heat, melt chocolate. Remove from
heat and add cream. Sauce can be held at room temperature for 1 hour or reheated
in double broiler or microwave.