Cakes/ Dessert/ Recipes

Chocolate Cake with Pinot Noir Frosting

barefoot chocolate cake-016

I am heading out on my trip to Ethiopia today! I’m so pumped…it’s definitely a trip of a lifetime and I can’t wait to share it with you. The hashtag the team is using for the trip is #blogABLE so you can follow us through that on instagram and twitter! I did prepare some recipes to share while I am away, but hope to also be able to share some updates of our trip as well depending on the internet situation.

But first….this chocolate cake! I can’t think of anything better than this chocolate cake with Pinot Noir frosting. It’s rich, decadent and perfect for any occasion or party. The Pinot Noir gives a little something special to normal chocolate buttercream frosting…I promise, once you try this cake it will be your new go-to recipe from now on. It’s rather addicting!

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I developed this recipe for Barefoot Wine, one of my freelance clients. Y’all, it’s so great to work with a brand that I love and would buy all the time anyway. For the price and quality, I truly don’t think you can beat Barefoot. It’s our standard dinner wine…and it just so happens to be pretty fantastic in chocolate frosting.

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This cake really isn’t hard to make. I like to think a good chocolate cake recipe is like the little black dress of your recipe collection. It’s always there when you need to pull out the big guns and make a good impression.

This isn’t an overly fudgy chocolate cake, either — not that there’s anything wrong with fudgy {you want fudgy? make these. you’re welcome}. It has it’s place, for sure. This cake is lighter and fluffier though than the rest, which can make portion control a tad dangerous as it just goes down to easy.

Serve with a cup of coffee…or a glass of wine. Makes even really bad days just a little bit better.

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Chocolate Cake with Pinot Noir Frosting

Yields one 2-layer cake

Print this Recipe!


for cake ~

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1 ½ cups sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)

2 cups well shaken buttermilk

for frosting ~

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

5 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tbsp vanilla extract

¼ cup + 2 tbsp Barefoot Pinot Noir

¼ tsp salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9” cake pans. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift in the cocoa powder and stir to combine well.

In another bowl, blend together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the buttermilk and mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Batter will be slightly lumpy but be sure not to over-mix.

Divide batter between your two prepared cake pans. Bake for 40 minutes, until the edges of the cakes have separated from the pan and the cakes are light and springy. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto parchment paper to cool. Let cakes cool for at least one hour before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter until soft. Add the powdered sugar slowly, followed by the cocoa powder, vanilla, salt and Pinot Noir. Increase the speed of your mixer and whip frosting for eight minutes, until very light and fluffy.

Spread a thin layer of frosting between cake layers then frost all over the top of the cake and the sides.

This cake can be made up to two days ahead of time and kept covered at room temperature.


2 hours


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  • Kristen @ notsodomesticated
    August 9, 2013 at 3:31 am

    Can’t wait to hear about your trip, Jenna!! Enjoy! 🙂

  • Anne @
    August 9, 2013 at 4:28 am

    After making your other recipe for chocolate birthday cake many times, I will find any excuse to bake any cake recipe you create, I cannot wait to try this!

    Have a wonderful time in Ethiopia, I cannot wait to read about it!

  • Ksenija @ Health Ninja
    August 9, 2013 at 4:37 am

    Enjoy Ethiopia, I am so curious for all the pictures and reports already!

    The cake is exactly my boyfriends and my thing – rich dark chocolate and red wine – if I make cupcakes out of it, it’s justified to make it without a real occasion, right 😉 ?

  • Lauren @ The Highlands Life
    August 9, 2013 at 5:08 am

    What could be better than chocolate cake and a frosting infused with wine?!

    Can’t wait to hear about Ethiopia. I’ve been to South Africa a couple if times and it is life changing. Safe travels!

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    August 9, 2013 at 5:12 am

    I’m still thinking about your chia frosting that I just made (from your chocolate vegan cupcake recipe)! This will have to be my next frosting challenge.

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    August 9, 2013 at 5:21 am

    That frosting is lovely!!

  • Melissa
    August 9, 2013 at 5:25 am

    Thanks for the fabulous recipe. I am envisioning this as our cake for my husband’s thirtieth birthday.
    I can’t believe you found time to post before Ethiopia! What an amazing journey!

  • Karen
    August 9, 2013 at 5:34 am

    Be safe and have a total blast, Jenna!! Will be eagerly awaiting your photo recaps!

    Til soon…


  • Jenna
    August 9, 2013 at 5:48 am

    This looks so classic and wonderful! Hope you have a safe trip

  • Tieghan
    August 9, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Whoa! That frosting sound incredible and looks heavenly! Have a great trip, Jenna!

  • jenna k
    August 9, 2013 at 6:20 am

    this looks awesome! and I totally agree with you about barefoot wine. i’m not a huge wine lover, but i’m never disappointed when I buy barefoot. plus the bottles are so cute!
    have a safe and wonderful trip! I hope you’re able to soak it all in, learn, and give and receive abundantly.

  • Becky
    August 9, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Yum! I love anything that combines chocolate and wine! Safe travels!

  • Kim
    August 9, 2013 at 7:08 am

    I would have never thought to put red wine in cake frosting. Thanks for coming up with yet another creative recipe, thinking outside the box!

    Safe travels! 😀

  • Kinsey
    August 9, 2013 at 7:20 am

    I love having a good cake recipe in my back pocket-it has saved the day a few times! I’ll have to try out that Pinot Noir frosting.

    Have a safe trip!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    August 9, 2013 at 7:30 am

    As if the chocolate cake didn’t look amazing enough, the Pinot Noir Frosting is the literal icing on this beautiful cake. Pinned!

    Have a wonderful, amazing, life-changing trip, Jenna! 🙂 I’m sure it will be!

  • Ashley
    August 9, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I need a slice! Can’t wait to hear about your trip!

  • Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health
    August 9, 2013 at 7:58 am

    This cake looks so decadent! Wine and cake; doesn’t get better than that!
    Have a safe trip! I saw on Emily Maynard’s blog that she’s going too. It sounds like it will be a really fun and life-enriching experience!

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action
    August 9, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Mmm- wine and chocolate. Great combination- though I’ve never thought to combine them into a cake. GREAT idea! I will definitely be making this very, very soon (possibly even tonight).

    Have a great trip! I can’t wait to hear how it is for you.

  • Fiona
    August 9, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Enjoy your trip to Ethiopia, can’t wait to hear about it!

  • Jamie G
    August 9, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Chocolate and red wine?! Yes please!

    Safe travels!

  • Joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    August 9, 2013 at 8:45 am

    This sounds amazing- love that there’s wine in the ingredients!

    Best of luck and safe travels!!

  • erin @hooleywithaz
    August 9, 2013 at 9:16 am

    wine and cake. huh. i think this falls into the “no-brainer” decision pile.

  • Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog
    August 9, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Holy yum! This looks amazing. Pinot Noir is one of my all time favorite wines – I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  • Becky @ Olives n Wine
    August 9, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Oh you had me at Pinor Noir. Anything with wine will always catch my attention 😉 This cake looks lovely and I bet would be even more lovely with a glass of pinot!

  • Farah @ Fabulously Farah
    August 9, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Wow Jenna! You never cease to amaze me with your unique recipes. This one looks absolutely delicious. I will definitely need to make this sometime soon.

    Have fun and be safe in Ethiopia! You’re going to do great things there.

  • Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry
    August 9, 2013 at 11:19 am

    My two favorites! Chocolate and wine!

  • Sarah K
    August 9, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Yum that cake looks amazing! Anything with chocolate and wine, I’m there.

  • Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie
    August 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Someone Feedly unsubscribed me from you RSS feed! So glad I caught on cause I would have hated to miss this recipe.

  • Lauren C
    August 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I’ve long been a fan of Barefoot but their Pinot Noir is my staple red wine now since you featured it in a recipe a while back. So good! This cake looks exactly like my late, dear grandmother’s famous chocolate cake (but she certainly didn’t use wine! ha!) Think I’ll have to make it this weekend and enjoy memories of my grandma. Have a wonderfully enriching trip to Ethiopia and safe travels Jenna!

  • Angelyn @ Everyday Desserts
    August 9, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    This looks so amazing! The frosting is so fluffy!

  • Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen
    August 9, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    O.M.G this cake looks insanely delicious!

  • Caroline L.
    August 9, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Absolutely nothing better than a good chocolate cake. Nothing.

    Have a blast in Ethiopia!

  • Bryony
    August 10, 2013 at 10:50 am

    This just made it’s way to the top of my baking list. It looks amazing & there’s nothing better than chocolate and red wine!

  • Morgan
    August 10, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Oh I love this! I thought of you when I made home-made Pinot Grigio Lemon ice cream with lemon cookie dough topping :p

  • Amy @
    August 11, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Yum! Kind of reminds me of an Ina Garten cake I made once. Can’t wait to try this recipe! Have an amazing trip!

  • Zainab| Blahnik Baker
    August 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    This cake looks delicious and I can’t imagine how the frosting must be!
    PS: Have a great time in Ethiopia. I hope my home continent makes a good impression on you 🙂

  • Riesling
    August 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I’m just one of those people that drinks wine for it’s happy hour effect and I truly don’t care for the taste. However, I’ll use any excuse to eat chocolate cake. Maybe one adventurous day…

  • Pam
    August 12, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I want this frosting for my birthday cake next month! Will be using coconut oil instead of butter so my tummy won’t cry.
    Have an amazing trip, can’t wait to read about it!!

  • Kim
    August 12, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Have a great time in Ethiopia!!!!!!

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  • Jennifer
    October 1, 2014 at 5:10 am

    Wow! So Yummy! Thanks for this recipe. This recipe seems to be very helpful for me as my grandfather’s birthday is near. He likes all the cakes that include Pinot Noir add up with them. Thanks once again.