Last month, at 18 Reasons (a non-profit organization dedicated to the building community through food) I co-hosted the DIY Desserts event with my friend Melanie. DIY Desserts is an evening where bakers from all walks of life (from fancy schmancy pros to down home beginners) bring a dessert that they made centering around themes. April’s theme was boozy desserts, like happy hour in baked good form. And boy were they awesome. My contribution: The Sangria Cake!
The evening wasn’t super crowded, but the people that showed up were all Quality (with a capital Q). My cohost Melanie showed up with mouthwater Mucho Margarita Cupcakes, that were vegan no less! Sweet, soft and ever so slightly tart, the cupcakes were a perfect way to start off the evening and get the juices flowing.
Heather of Souffle Days presented her gorgeous Bourbon Carmelized Pecan Tart. Every bite was sweet chewy nuttiness. I’m bummed that she’s moving to Prague in a month, because I’ve only just gotten to know her as she’s come to the past couple of DIY Desserts but I’m super excited for her and can’t wait to read about her new adventure on her blog.
Jo showed up with an awesome Bread Pudding with Brandy Sauce. I adore Jo and I adore bread pudding. So, clearly, I was going to adore her dessert. I took a big helping and then took an even bigger helping home, to enjoy afterwards.
But the most impressive dessert was brought by Joyce, who brought a Guiness Chocolate Cake with Jameson Ganache and Bailey’s Italian Meringue Buttercream. Rich, dense and beautifully decorated with gold luster dust and gold leaf, it was Joyce’s first time at the DIY Desserts and I can only hope she’ll come back.
As for my dessert, I’ll be honest with you. The cake I brought wasn’t my top form. An obviously first attempt at a new recipe I was developing, sadly the fruit that I lovingly layered in the batter, soaking in homemade sangria, all sunk to the bottom of the pan. It looked rather like a total hot mess when I unmolded my cake.
But I rescued it (somewhat), and made it presentable. And in the end the people at DIY Desserts and 18 Reasons were nothing but gracious about it. There were many things wrong with it, but Melanie ate a bite of it and then turned to me and proclaimed “It’s like rich people having brunch!”
Which, of course, made me love her all the more.
So here’s the thing. Not every dessert I make is perfect, gorgeous and stunning. Not every dessert is show stopping delicious. But, like most all food bloggers, I tend to self edit, putting on my blog my best desserts – it’s just human nature to do that. I so rarely show you the mistakes or the blunders. But they happen. Oh do they happen. And this cake wasn’t even close to the worst things that I have come out of my kitchen. But we all learn from our mistakes. We learn how to patch up a cake, cover it with fruit, glaze or powdered sugar or worse case scenario, we learn to love the fact that here in San Francisco we can compost – and send our mistakes back to the earth.
My friend Nina once looked at me in amazement when I told her that I make horrible things in the kitchen all the time. She didn’t believe me. But it happens. And all you can do it pick yourself up, shake the flour off your shirt and start again.
So I did. I knew I could do better. I was going to a picnic this past weekend, so I radically revamped the recipe (and made it simpler in the meanwhile) hoping to nail it for this blog post. I brought it along with a few other desserts. And you know what? EVERYONE there proclaiming the cake a winner. Some people going so far to say it was the favorite of the three desserts I brought with me (don’t worry, the other two desserts, which had their fans, are going to be popping up on this blog too).
So I present to you my new and improved, blog worthy Sangria Cake. Just in time for Cinco de Mayo. Enjoy. My friends did. They demolished the cake by the end of the day.
DIY Desserts is moving to the first Thursday of the month at 18 Reasons. Please join us on Thursday, May 5th for our next event. Everyone is welcome. Bring a dessert around the theme of Mom’s Best, a nostalgic dessert that conjures up your mom (or dad, or grandpa or grandma) that sends you back to childhood with every bite. If you aren’t a baker, but love to eat, drop by and just partake of the goodies. We need eaters too!
[NOTE: For everyone who has come here via Saveur's Best Food Blog Awards Nomination, thank you for stopping by. Feel free to poke around, I hope you like what you see. I am thrilled to be nominated and to be in the same company as such wonderful food bloggers like Desserts for Breakfast, Evan's Kitchen Ramblings, Joy the Baker, She Who Eats and Sprinkle Bakes. If you haven't voted yet, I encourage you to check out all the wonderful blogs and vote for the one you think deserve it most. I applaud Saveur Magazine for digging deep and finding some hidden gems along with the usual suspects.]
By Irvin Lin
This cake was inspired by the flavors of sangria, but isn’t as boozy or as wine filled as you might expect. I used a combination of kiwis, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries as my fruit filling, but feel free to use any fruit you would use in sangria, like apples, pears, peaches, star fruit, whatever you love to use in sangria. It’s perfect for a Cinco de Mayo or any old brunch (especially if you are rich person, or just pretending to be one).
3/4 cup red wine (suitable for sangria, like good juicy Spanish one)
1/4 cup blood (or regular if unavailable) orange juice
1/4 cup (50 g) white sugar
2 teaspoons arrowroot flour or cornstarch
Cake fruit filling
3 oz (1 medium kiwi) of kiwis, peel and diced into 1/2” pieces
3 oz blackberries
3 oz blueberries
3 oz raspberries
1/4 cup (50 g) white sugar
1/4 cup (50 g) brown sugar
2 1/2 cups (350 g) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (70 g) almond meal
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (113 g, 1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cup (250 g) white sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup sour cream (not fat free)
1/2 cup of citrus juice (I used a combination of lemons, limes and blood oranges, but feel free to use whatever you want)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup of assorted berries, sliced kiwis, sliced oranges, lemons and/or limes
1. Preheat an oven to 350˚F. Liberally grease a bundt pan with butter and then dust with a coating of all purpose flour. Place all the sangria glaze ingredients in a small pan and turn the heat onto medium. Bring the mixture to a boil, stir with a whisk. Once it starts to boil, immediately remove from heat and stir to cool slightly.
2. Place the cake filling ingredients together in a medium bowl and drizzle about 1/4 cup of the sangria glaze on top of the fruit. Gently toss together and set aside to macerate (a fancy term for just letting it sit around in the sugar).
3. Place the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Take a whisk and vigorously stir until uniform in color. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter by turning the mixer to medium and blending the butter and sugar together until the mixture starts to lighten up in color (two or three minutes). Slowly pour the olive oil into the batter, with the mixer turned on, until the it looks light and creamy.
4. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then add one egg and blend on medium until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and repeat with both remaining eggs, stopping between additions to scrape down the sides.
5. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, citrus juice and almond extract together. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on medium until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add 1/3 of the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated. Repeat with 1/3 of the dry and then 1/3 wet ingredients, scraping down the sides, and then the final 1/3 dry ending with the wet ingredients.
6. Spoon 2/3 of the batter into the prepared bundt pan, evenly distributing the batter throughout the pan. Then spoon and spread the fruit only (discard the juice) on top of the batter. Spoon the remaining 1/3 cake batter on top of the fruit. Bake in the preheated oven, for 35 minutes. Then rotate the cake 180˚ and bake for 15 to 20 more minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes.
7. Release the cake from the pan (you might have to use a thin knife to help remove it from the pan). After the cake has cooled to room temperature, decorate with any leftover fruit you have by filling the center of the bundt cake. Then pour the sangria glaze over the fruit and the cake, making sure to drizzle some of the glaze down the sides of the cake. Serve immediately.
Makes 1 bundt cake, serves 12 slightly tipsy folks