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
Jim T says
Believe me, I can understand having baking flops. I’ve been working on perfecting some scone recipes the last couple of weeks and while they always have the most amazing flavor (the ginger peach ones from this morning should seriously be renamed Sex with Peaches), I’ve yet to get a good fluffy rise out of them. I get spread, I get buttery crust and soft insides, but no tall and flaky.
It may just be me, but I’m always inspired when amazing bakers (like yourself) share their flubbed desserts, the fine tuning process and the final perfected masterpiece.
Keep up the amazing work, Irvin, and congratulations on being nominated again by Saveur!
Thanks Jim! I definitely have had my share of flops and I think I’m going to try to show more of them on this blog just to let people know that it happens all the time.
And keep an eye out for some scone tips and recipes coming soon on this blog…
Brian @ A Thought For Food says
This, my friend, is why you were nominated… because you can improvise just as well as the best of them… and you come out with these miraculous creations. Sangria cake? Yes please! Do you ship to Boston or do I have to visit San Fran?
Thank you friend! I’m afraid you’ll have to visit San Francisco. But next time you do, I’ll bake up a storm for you.
Irvin, it was a pleasure to meet you at the picnic yesterday, and thank you so much for sharing your delectable creations! Our group LOVED the who-you-callin’-brownies cake squares 😉
Oh it was wonderful meeting you too! I’ll be posting about that creation sometime soon. I think. So behind on posts right now…
Sharon Beck says
I’m new to your site. I was sent here by Anita Chu who I met when she was a guest speaker/author at our Bake! Napa Valley baking club meeting. I am mad about baking but new to it. So new in fact, that when I saw “Zest of 4 large lemons” in a recipe, I thought it meant to use the grater and scrape the lemon peel right down to the flesh of the fruit. As you can imagine, that lemon pound cake had to be thrown away. There’s no saving something that taste like that did, no matter how talented you are at covering something up.
I hope I get to see you at the bake sale event on the 14th. I will look you up. You are delightful!
Oh no! Yes, sometimes there is no rescuing a baked good. How sad. I remember a cake I made right out of college at one of my first dinner parties. I had misread the recipe and used 3 tablespoons of cinnamon instead of 3 teaspoons. I served it and nearly choked when I took a bite, but my dinner guests were very polite about it.
I can’t wait to meet you at the bake sale! I will be at the 18 Reasons location most of the day so yes, do make sure to say hello.
This Sangria Cake looks amazing, it feels like I could pretty much smell it if I close my eyes 🙂 And guess what, I was planning a Spanish lunch for next Saturday and I can’t wait to see my mother in-law incredulous expression when she sees THIS CAKE. Also, I am moving to SF from Switzerland in almost one month and I guess 18 desserts could be a perfect way to meet new (baking)people 🙂
Please do drop by. Our new night is the first Thursday of the month, and everyone there is super friendly. Hope to see you there!
Jennifer (Delicieux) says
I loved how you shared your baking flop! It is so brave of you to share this, I know when I have a baking flop I get discouraged and think of all the wonderful bakers, yourself included, who I imagine never have this problem, so it’s wonderful to see it even happens to the best.
Love the sangria cake by the way, what a wonderful idea and recipe. And congratulations again on your very well deserved nomination! Your honest and sharing and caring posts are the very reason you were nominated.
Thank you so much Jennifer! I don’t really think of it as brave so much as honest. Not everything turns out great from my kitchen, and it’s all about learning from the mistakes made.
pickyin @ LifeIsGreat says
I have my share of baking flops and considered sharing the stories. However all those times I would be either too sad or too pissed off to take photos and would instead be busy scheming of ways to get rid of the flop (eat it ASAP, pass it to someone, bin it??). This would have to change and I think putting the flops up front would help me pick myself up and go for the retry sooner.
Congratulations for the nomination, you deserve it!
I actually rarely take pictures of my baking flops too. In fact, the reason there’s no picture of the cake WITHOUT fruit is that immediately went into “fix it” mode and started to pile fruit on it to see if I can cover up my mistake. But then I had the forethought to actually take a picture of the pan before I washed it.
I think I might start taking more pictures of the flops, because sometimes, no matter how sad or pissed I am, those mistakes are really how I learn in the kitchen. Thanks for the congrats!
Heather in SF says
Fun pictures Irvin, and congratulations on your nomination!
Yay, Ethan! Congrats on letting folks see behind the curtain to the less-than-successes that we all have. And Huge congrats for your well-deserved nomination for Best Baking and Dessert Blog!
Would have been great had I actually called you Irvin. Good one, Jen. And again, huge congrats to you!
Oh don’t worry about it! I’ve been called so many different names (Irving, Irwin, Aaron, Ethan, Kevin) I’m immune to it. I’ll take a congratulations regardless of the name you call me!
LOVE the cake ¡que riquisima! Congrats too 🙂
Phuoc'n Delicious says
HAHA so you’re human after all!!! We all have our off days, but it’s good that you were able to bounce back on your feet and cover up the evidence 🙂 I had a similar incident with the bundt tin too when a chunk was stuck on the tin, so I covered it up with a chocolate ganache. The perfect crime… lol
Congrats once again! All the best 🙂
Glaze, powdered sugar, ganache, frosting, icing. I’ve used them all. I’ve actually even resorted to slicing the cake and serving the slices on a serving platter! Ha. As long as it tastes good, no one will know the difference…
Thanks for the congrats!
Congrats Irvin! Wish I lived closer so we could toast each other in person! You do a phenomenal job and I was so happy to find myself in the best of company!
I am SO happy to be in the same company as you Heather. Everytime I visit Sprinkle Bakes you inspire me so, as does everyone else in out category. I don’t have to win to already feel like a winner! And perhaps one of these days we’ll meet and toast each other. Congrats to you!
I love blood oranges! This looks fantastic-thanks for sharing
thanks Erika. I love blood oranges too! I’m sad that the season is quickly ending. I’m eating them as fast as I can…
What a fun event, but what isn’t fun when it’s centered around food, right? I’m thinking the cake looks and sounds like a “hot mess” but as in hawt! I made an apple cake once that did the very same thing and I think that’s what made the dessert. Fabulous job!
thanks Kellypea. The event is actually super fun. I look forward to it each month. I will say that the second version of the cake turned out great, but everyone at the event totally enjoyed the first cake, so it couldn’t have been that bad. 😉
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La Diva Cucina says
AWESOME idea, love the idea of a sangria cake. I often put my mistakes up, warts and all, especially when I’m doing a challenge as it humanizes me and the effort. People can become intimidated and I want them to relate, so it was humble of you to admit your mistake. I like the sangria glaze with the fruit in the middle instead of in the cake, nice save!
cool essay says
Thanks for such delicious recipe!
I’ll make it for my family at the next holidays. I think that they would like it. But I don’t know where I can find raspberries in my city. That is great chance to find new healthy food shops. It would be interesting to create blog where people could share their family recipes. Unfortunately I can’t do it right now because of lack of free time.
I’m still studying at university and need to do a lot of home tasks, and write a lot of essays.
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Thank you so much for this posting.
Thanks for such delicious recipe!
I’ll make it for my family at the next holidays.
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