Red Wine Velvet Cake with Whipped Mascarpone Review

Recipe 90 from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

WW Note: 22 points for 1/20 of the cake. Just enjoy 😍

This recipe can be found in Deb Perelman’s “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” on pages 266-268 or from the following site:

House & Garden


Dear readers.. I am cheering all over the house after finishing this cake section of the dessert chapter! I was just not looking forward to these recipes at all because I’m not a big cake person. I haven’t dabbled in anything much beyond an occasional layer cake, the last being my daughter’s 1st birthday cake. She’s turning 3 in July so needless to say it’s been a little while.

But I have learned quite a bit these past few cakes. I’m proud of myself for making it through and feeling a lot more comfortable with the art of baking cakes.

For instance, I now know how to keep a cake from sticking to a pan. I previously thought that just buttering the pan was good enough but shockingly always had cake stuck to the bottom or sides of the pan. You may laugh because it’s common knowledge to you….and for that I would direct your eyes to the title of my blog. Not an expert here.

If you’re like me and didn’t know the best way to keep your cakes from sticking let me lend you the wisdom I’ve gleaned.

First do as Deb says in this recipe and cut a round of parchment paper for the bottom of your cake pan. From there you will butter the parchment paper and sides of the pan. The parchment paper tends to curl so I would put some butter on both sides. That will help it stick to the bottom of the pan.

The last thing that I’m grabbing from another recipe…flour the bottom and sides of the cake pan after you’ve buttered it. This extra step really does make a difference and keeps your cake from sticking to the sides. When the cakes come out of the oven you will let them cool for 10 minutes. From there they should turn out onto your hand or plate very easily so you can peel off the parchment paper and flip it back over to finish cooling. Works like a charm every time 👍

Alrighty, let’s dig into this cake a bit. I can proudly say I didn’t make any big mistakes but…look up there ☝️….this was the scariest part of making this whole cake. It was after I added the red wine to the batter. Deb let’s you know it’s going to look rough but I was thinking curddled when I saw this..not rough.  This made me cringe 😬  I was very sure I had messed something up but not quite sure how I had done it. I kept going to see what would happen.

Have faith! It does end up looking like this ☝️…light, fluffy, mousse-like batter. Delightful. I tasted the red wine very heavily in the batter but it definitely cooks off a bit so it’s not overwhelming in the final product.

She gave a pretty exact measurement for each cake pan ( 2 1/2 cups) and I ended up with beautifully uniform cakes in the end by measuring out the batter in each pan. These thin cakes were perfectly flat so I didn’t even have to flatten them. Yay! 

I so very much appreciated that this was a naked cake that didn’t require a full coat of frosting. It was so much easier and I’ve decided that’s how all cakes should be “frosted.”

I was also a big fan of the mascarpone frosting! Out with cream cheese frosting and in with this tasty treat. It is less sweet which is always a win for me. And it reminds me of cannolis which are one of my favorite desserts! I’ll definitely use this recipe again for other things like cupcakes.

It’s a handsome cake isn’t it?! I have to say I’m very proud of this finale! It feels like the culmination of all I’ve learned this chapter. I am so ready for the last little section of the dessert chapter: puddings and candy! Coming at you next week! Stay tuned!