There's something about sangria. For me, it's right up there with a mimosa, comfort-wise. Having sangria means I'm out, which is a treat. It also means that I'm taking my time and relaxing (or at least trying to). I love sangria in the summertime. As such, of course I had to make it into a summertime dessert! 😀 This Sangria Cake is a taste of summer for sure!
There's an Italian restaurant that my husband and I love in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We don't go there all that often (um, especially now that we live in Texas), but we go when we can. In the summer, you can sit on their rooftop. They have a great ambiance, with white lights strung overhead. The food is good and the portions are huge. We always order a pitcher of sangria when we visit. We usually go just before the sun sets, finishing our pitcher of sangria just as the lights overhead start to really glow.
That's how sangria is for me. I can close my eyes and there's a glow and you can almost feel a summer breeze. I end up making all my favorite flavors into desserts at some point. It's a little surprising it took this long for me to give a nod to sangria.
This beauty is a triple-layer red wine cake. The cake's pale pink color is from a red wine reduction added to the batter. The sangria buttercream is a creamy, dreamy Swiss meringue buttercream. A reduction of mixed berries, red wine, and orange zest give the buttercream its color and sangria flavor. I topped the finished product with all the fruit flavors in the cake: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and oranges.
This recipe is for a 6" triple-layer cake. If you're looking to get some 6" pans for yourself, these are the ones that I use [here]. To ensure I have the same amount of batter in each pan, I use my kitchen scale (link [here]) and weigh the pans. It's hard to eyeball the amount when you're using three pans, especially if you don't have three and you're baking the cake layers individually.
If you prefer to make an 8" triple-layer cake, double the cake recipe as written here. Bake time will be about 35-40 minutes. For the buttercream, increase the recipe by about one third.
The summer days are starting to slip by. My kids started school last week, and all the apple orchards are opening in my home state. There's still plenty of time for summer sangria, especially here in Texas where the summer weather continues into October (and sometimes beyond). I hope this Sangria Cake will help you to hold onto the last days of summer, too. <3
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Red Wine Reduction:
- 1 cup red wine
- orange zest (from one orange)
Red Wine Cake:
- 6 oz mixed berries (I used strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ cup red wine
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
- berry reduction (should have about ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp)
- orange zest (from one orange)
- fresh fruit, if desired (I used strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and oranges.)
For Wine Reduction:
- Combine red wine and orange zest in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by half. Cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease three 6" cake pans (see note) and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt). Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing only until just combined. Pour in red wine reduction, mixing to combine, then the remaining dry ingredients. Mix only until incorporated.
- In another mixer bowl, whip egg whites with the whisk attachment until they reach stiff peaks.
- Add whipped egg whites to batter in three additions, carefully folding in each addition using care not to deflate the egg whites. Continue folding until egg whites are fully incorporated and no white streaks remain.
- Divide the batter between the prepared pans (see note).
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning the cakes around at the halfway point to help ensure an even bake. A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
For Berry Reduction:
- In a small saucepan, combine berries, sugar, and wine. Warm over medium heat until the berries are soft.
- Transfer berry mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture is smooth. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the mixture back into the saucepan, discarding the seeds and pulp. You should have about ¾ cup of juice.
- Return the juice to the stove and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. Allow berry reduction to cool completely.
- Combine egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, taking care that the water doesn't touch the bowl. Cook mixture on medium heat until it reaches 160° F.
- Once the mixture reaches temperature, carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until white, glossy, and bowl is no longer warm to the touch, about 10 minutes.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add butter a few pieces at a time. Allow each addition to incorporate before adding the next. Once all butter is incorporated, add orange zest and whip until smooth, another 3-5 minutes.
- Add berry reduction and whip until fully combined.
- Frost the cooled cakes with the buttercream. Top with fresh fruit, if desired.Enjoy!