Apothic Red Velvet Cake

By Ross Sveback, January 20, 2013

From the moment I tried this wine I instantly thought about how it could be used to make a cake. The lush, blackberry notes were intoxicating and although it has taken me a while to get around and actually make a cake with it – I am so so happy with the result.  It is very important to prep the pans with Bak-klene and line with parchment so the cakes release since this is a moist cake. The buttercream recipe is super easy and doesn’t overwhelm the cake, the key here is to let the mixture beat in your mixer for ten minutes.  I topped it all off with chocolate ganache and a sprinkling of real gold leaf pieces, which you can get at craft stores to give it some wow.  Enjoy!

3 c. sugar
2 c. Apothic Red wine
1 c. olive oil
1 c. buttermilk
4 eggs
1.5 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. baking soda
3 c. AP flour

Prep three 8″ cake pans with Bak-klene and line with parchment. Combine the sugar, Apothic wine, olive oil, buttermilk and eggs in a bowl and stir with a whisk to combine. Add salt, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder – stirring again with a whisk to combine. Lastly, add the flour and stir to combine. Let batter sit for five minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Divide batter between the three pans and bake for 35-40 minutes – rotating pans halfway through if necessary, testing with a toothpick in the center to make sure cake is done. Remove from oven and allow to fully cool in pan, then invert out and wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer while you prepare the frosting.

2 c. (4 sticks) unsalted butter – room temperature
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste

Place the butter in the mixer and slowly add the powdered sugar in batches. Scraping the bowl if necessary to ensure all of the butter is getting incorporated. Add whipping cream and vanilla bean paste, then beat on high for ten minutes using the flat beater until mixture is light and fully. Frost cake – this recipe is the perfect amount to cover the entire cake, so do not be nervous you do not have enough. Place cake in refrigerator and chill for at least two hours before you put ganache on.

1/2 c. bittersweet chips
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp. canola oil

Place bittersweet chips and 1/4 c. cream in a microwave-safe container and heat for one minute on high. Remove from microwave and mix using a fork until the hot cream has melted all of the chocolate – then add oil and remaining 2 tbsp. cream – mix well to combine. Slowly pour over top middle of cake so the ganache has time to cool as it pours out and does not melt the buttercream. Using a spatula, gently spread the ganache toward the edge, allowing some of the chocolate to drip over the edge. Sprinkle with gold flecks. Place cake back in the refrigerator for at least one hour for ganache to set.


  1. Robyn says:

    Thank you for this recipe, Ross! I love Apothic Red as well, so I just had to make this cake for my birthday. I was a little scared about the amount of liquid in the recipe, so I ended up omitting one egg. It still turned out amazingly well, and the wine intensified the cocoa flavor the same way coffee does. This isn’t a traditional red velvet cake–it’s better. No artificial colors, cloying sweetness, or the distracting crunch of pecans. The “red” is derived from the gorgeously tinted wine, and the consistency of the cake will bring to mind the silky, luxurious texture of velvet. It’s ultra-moist (be careful not to overbake) and melt-in-your-mouth smooth. I elected to frost it generously with traditional cream cheese icing, and I’m so glad I did! The contrast of tangy and sweet was absolute perfection!

  2. Carla Cohen says:

    I made this cake for my good friends 50th birthday dinner. It was AMAZING!! The ingredients were a perfect balance of flavor and texture. The vanilla bean frosting paired great with the cake. I served the cake along side a home made black pepper ice cream which was an amazing complement to the cake. I highly recommend this cake. It may appear a bit daunting for a novice cook but I assure you it was easy and well worth it. Thanks Ross!!

  3. Joyce Loring says:

    I made this cake a couple of years ago for a family birthday party. It has become my most requested cake, and that’s saying a lot! I love baking cakes for family and friends, I do it often. The recipe is quite simple, but it produces a show stopping, delectable creation! I make 1 1/2 times the recipe for the excellent frosting, it gives me enough to add a decorative, piped border.

    Thanks, Ross, for being one of my most valued “Foodies!” I you, honey.

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