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Red Wine Sangria Cake

Soft red wine cake layers infused with orange, soaked with a brandy citrus syrup, filled with a strawberry wine jam and coated in a red wine vanilla buttercream.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Buttercream, Cake Decorating, Cake Recipe
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 1 (3 Layer) 6-inch or (2 Layer) 8-inch round cake
Author Katie

Ingredients

Red Wine Cake

  • 1 cup (or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup red wine (Pinot Noir)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons orange zest (from ½ orange)
  • Fuschia gel food coloring

Strawberry Wine Filling

  • 2 cups strawberries, quartered (about 16-18 berries), fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup red wine (Pinot Noir)

Brandy Citrus Syrup

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Brandy or Grand Marnier
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 Tablespoons lime zest (from 1 ½ limes)

Wine Gel

  • 1/4 cup red wine (Pinot Noir)
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons orange zest (from ½ orange)

Sangria Vanilla Buttercream

  • 2 cups (or 4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 7 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Fuschia gel food coloring

Garnish

  • 1/2 orange, sliced and quartered
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced and halved
  • 1/2 lime, sliced and halved
  • 2 whole strawberries, cut in half

Instructions

Red Wine Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Spray three 6-inch round cake pans or two 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray, line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.

  2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk and stir together the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

  3. In the stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, oil, and sugar on medium-high for 5 minutes.

  4. Add the eggs, one at a time to the stand mixer bowl and beat on medium until well incorporated.

  5. Turn the mixer on low and add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until fully incorporated.

  6. Pour in the buttermilk and add vanilla extract. Add a drop of the fuschia gel food coloring. Mix on medium speed for 30 minutes. 

  7. Evenly divide the cake batter into three 6-inch cake pans.

  8. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.

  9. Remove cakes from oven and let cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto cooling racks to cool completely — wrap cakes in plastic wrap and place in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes.

Strawberry Wine Filling

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix the strawberries and sugar. Continue mixing with a rubber spatula over low-medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the berries begin to boil.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water. Add cornstarch mixture to the boiling berries and continue to stir with a rubber spatula.

  3. Add lemon zest and red wine. Continue cooking the mixture for 2-3 minutes until it is thickened and coats the back of a spatula.

  4. Pour the strawberry filling into a small bowl to cool. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside to fully cool.

Brandy Citrus Syrup

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium heat. Continue to heat for 5 minutes until the sugar has fully dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the Brandy or Grand Marnier, lemon and lime zest. Set aside to cool before pouring into a squeeze bottle.

Red Wine Gel

  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together red wine and cornstarch before placing it over medium heat. Begin to boil while stirring with a rubber spatula. Continue to mix until the mixture has become thick and transparent, then add orange zest. Set in the fridge to cool thoroughly.

Sangria Vanilla Buttercream

  1. In the stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  2. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the powdered sugar, followed by the heavy cream, salt and vanilla extract. Mix until incorporated completely. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

  3. Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat the buttercream for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer on low and mix for 2 minutes to push out any air bubbles.

  4. Remove all the buttercream from the stand mixer bowl and place it into another mixing bowl.

  5. Add the wine gel into the stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the wine gel until it's broken up into smaller pieces then add 1/3 cup of vanilla buttercream to continue to mix on medium for 2 minutes.

  6. Then add 2/3 cup of vanilla buttercream and add a drop of fuchsia gel food color. Mix for another minute or until all incorporated.

  7. Place the white vanilla buttercream into a piping bag and then place the fuschia red wine buttercream into another piping bag.

Assemble

  1. Remove the cake layers from the freezer and unwrap the cake layers. Next, use a serrated knife to cut off the dome of the cakes to make the layers flat and even.

  2. Add a small amount of vanilla buttercream onto the center of the cake board. Layer the chilled red wine cake, cut side up onto the cake board. Drizzle the brandy citrus syrup over all the cake layers and let them soak before stacking.

  3. Then pipe a thin layer of vanilla buttercream on the cake then use an offset spatula to smooth the layer of buttercream. Pipe a ring of buttercream close to the outside edge of the cake layer.

  4. Add ¼ cup of strawberry wine filling inside the ring of buttercream. Use an offset spatula to smooth out the filling.

  5. Place another cake layer cut side down over the top. Repeat the process for another layer — Crumb coat and freeze for 30 minutes.

  6. Add a thick layer of white vanilla buttercream to the whole cake. Use the offset spatula to distribute the buttercream. Add more buttercream to fill in any gaps. Then use a cake scraper to make the cake smooth on the top and sides.

  7. Pipe a thin line of the red wine buttercream on the top edge and top of the cake. Then use the offset spatula to swipe the red wine buttercream into the white vanilla buttercream. Start from the top edge and pull the spatula towards the right side.

  8. Then repeat this process along the top edge of the cake. It will have a fun watercolor effect where the red and white buttercreams barely come together.

  9. Add the slices of orange, lemon, lime, and strawberries halves on top of the cake. Serve and Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Be careful not to overmix this cake batter or else the cake will come out dense. 
  • Food coloring gets darker over time, so it's best to add the food coloring gradually. 
  • A single batch of this cake recipe makes three, 6-inch round cake layers or two 8-inch round cake layers. Double the cake recipe to make enough cake batter for three, 8-inch cake layers. 
  • Serve cake at room temperature.