Red Wine Velvet Cake ft. Coca Cola Frosting + Red Wine Reduction

There's nothing wrong with being a cheap date - and there is certainly nothing wrong with being a cheap drink for that matter. Enter the Calimocho (or Kalimotxo or Cocavino depending on your etymology of choice) - "the cheapest Spanish cocktail." Half red wine and half Coca Cola, the Calimocho is the darker version of a white wine spritzer, adding a touch of fizz to your glass of antioxidant-rich red wine.

We drank our first calimochos on a trip to Spain where a friend introduced us to the local college kids' drink of choice, favored since it is easy and inexpensive - requiring only a 2L bottle of Coke and a €2 bottle of red wine. In fact, "any average quality wine is good to make calimocho... even a bad wine will make a drinkable calimocho!" (We made ours with boxed wine - highly recommended).

I have found this drink to be a divider among those who try it. Much like cilantro or the smell of gasoline, I feel like you are either a fan or you can't stand the stuff. But whether you're for or against the calimocho in its liquid form, this remix is deep and rich - and full of antioxidants.

The cake starts with a red velvet cake mix, and replaces the usual wet ingredients with - what else - red wine and Coke (and a bit of sour cream to keep the cake from flattening). The Coke frosting is best made by reducing a cup of soda to a thick syrup and then mixing this with butter, powdered sugar, and a few more tablespoons of Coke. The frosting will turn out to be light brown in color so I added more brown food coloring to make a gradient when I frosted the cake (see below).

The most interesting part of this recipe is the reduction. Pour yourself a glass of red wine and then pour another cup of wine and some Coke into a saucepan. Simmer on low heat on the stovetop for 20-25 minutes until wine has bubbled and thickened into a syrup. I chose to stain the Coke-frosted cake with this red glaze, but you can also drizzle, pour, soak, spoon, or spritz the cake with the reduction as well. The cake is a little bitter and dry due to the wine, the frosting is sweet from the sugar and Coke, and the reduction should be the perfect blend of each.

Happy Red Wine Valentine's Day!

red wine velvet cake
1 box red velvet cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. sour cream
3/4 c. red wine
1/2 c. Coca Cola
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, grease pan with butter or a non-stick spray like PAM. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, oil, sour cream, wine, and Coke until smooth. Slowly add in cake mix into wet ingredients and beat on a high speed for 1 minute until batter is smooth.

Pour batter into greased pans until each is 2/3 of the way full. Bake according to the times on the back of the mix box, depending on the types of pans you are using. Use a toothpick to check doneness - if the toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cakes, remove from oven and let cool completely on a rack.

coca cola frosting
1/2 c. butter
2-3 tbsp. Coca Cola
2-3 tbsp. Coca Cola syrup
4 c. powdered sugar
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, Coke, and Coke syrup (see below) until blended. Slowly add in sugar and continue to mix on high until frosting forms.

coca cola syrup
1 c. Coca Cola
Heat 1 cup of Coca Cola in a saucepan over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, while stirring constantly to keep it from sticking. Let mixture cool and thicken for 2 minutes until syrup forms.

red wine reduction
1 c. red wine
1/2 c. Coca Cola
Heat wine and Coke in a saucepan over low heat for 20-25 minutes until volume has reduced to about half the original amount. Let cool, and the liquid should thicken slightly.