Pairing Wine and Cakes

chocolate-cupcake-wine

OK, so I’m still on the ‘cooking during COVID’ theme (see my recent posts Your Questions Answered About Cooking with Wine and Pairing Wine and Takeaway Food), but this time I want to build on the baking-at-home phenomenon. More specifically on the pairing of wine and cakes.

I will admit that I have a sweet tooth, but not all of my friends do so. This allows them an excuse to leave the baking to the ‘other-half’. So, I have a suggestion for these people – why not combine both. One of you bake the cake and the other pairs the wine! Simple.

So, the rest of this post is aimed at those of you who want to pair the wine. I want to help you contribute to the culinary experience and avoid unnecessary unrest in the household.

The secret to pairing delicious cake flavours with complementary wines is matching sweetness levels. If a wine isn’t as sweet as the cake, it can taste bitter and dull. 

Below, read on to discover some of my favourite wine and cakes pairings! At the end I include how to make a cheese board (and what wines to pair it with) for those of you without a sweet tooth.

The secret to pairing delicious cake flavours with complementary wines is matching sweetness levels. If a wine isn’t as sweet as the cake, it can taste bitter and dull. Click To Tweet

Wine and Cakes – An After-Dinner Treat

If you google food and wine pairings online, you will get millions of search results. You’ll discover results for wine with steak, seafood, and loads of other types of food. And while I have written on those topics previously, I have not really delved into the pairing of wine and cakes before. 

If you’re like me, when scanning a dinner menu in a restaurant, I do glance at the dessert menu, up front. If I fancy some cake as a treat, it only makes sense to have a glass of wine with it.  

The next time you plan on having some cake, the following wine and cake pairings might help you enjoy it even more:

Vanilla Cake and Riesling

If you love a sweet and classic vanilla cake, you’ll find that an off-dry Riesling is the perfect wine pairing that doesn’t overpower the flavour.

Cheesecake and Gewürztraminer

With a rich, creamy and dense,cheesecake, try a glass of Gewürztraminer with its fruity flavour and heavier mouth feel which stands up to the richness in cheesecake.

Chocolate Cake and Amarone

Like a rich chocolate cake, a full-bodied Amarone is full of rich flavour and spicy undertones. If budget is a concern, try a Ripasso-style instead. 

Lemon Cake and Prosecco 

You’ll find refreshing citrus notes and tangy flavour in both a light lemon cake and Prosecco wine.

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

Strawberry shortcake and sparkling rosé

Because rosé has such a nice, fruity flavour, it will do a wonderful job of intensifying the taste of the strawberries (Wexford strawberries, of course). 

Hazelnut Cake and Tawny Port

Both of these flavours are full of richness and sweetness. The caramel and hazelnut flavours of the cake taste delicious against the wine’s secondary notes of berry and mocha.

Coconut Cake

The gentle sweetness of a sparkling dessert wine, pairs up with the delicate, not-so-sweet coconut cake. Or even try a Champagne on its own – you might be surprised.

Fruit Cakes

Fruit cakes can differ in texture and intensity but in general, try a sweet oloroso sherry is delicious with crumbly, rich fruit cakes. Experiment with rum or a sweet 5/10 year old Madeira.

Image by Sandra Gabriel from Pixabay

White Chocolate Cake

Try a New Zealand sauvignon blanc. Those rich, fruity aromas take the understated balance of white chocolate and add a layer of fruit that doesn’t overpower.

Iced cakes (cupcakes)

Not too sure about this one as the extra sweetness from the icing may strip out the sweetness of a dessert wine. Here goes anyway – for chocolate cupcakes, try a red wine or a port. For the white cupcakes, go with a muscat or sweet riesling.

Well, I think that’s enough wine and cakes to have your mouth watering at this stage. There are many combinations that are really lovely together. Why not experiment and find combinations that you like, that are not listed above.

There is one combination that I would find hard to recommend though – Champagne and Chocolate Cake. In my opinion, the tartness of the Champagne fights against the cake’s sweetness and I just cannot find harmony in most cases.

Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

Wine and Other Dessert Pairings

I couldn’t finish this post without mentioning a few ‘other’ dessert and wine pairings. Try these:

  • Doughnuts & Riesling
  • Ice Cream & Port
  • Apple tart & Sparkling Wine
  • Cookies & Prosecco
  • Milk Chocolate & Merlot
  • Rum Cake & Pinot Noir

At the start of this post I did promise to include a cheese board as an option for dessert. Mainly because, it is a perennial favourite choice in the Green Acres restaurant. But also, because it’s an alternative to a sweet dessert. I thought it would only be fair to describe how to go about putting together a Cheese & Charcuterie Board.

Green Acres Cheeseboard
greenacres.ie

How to Construct a Cheese & Charcuterie Board

Step 1 – Pick out 3-4 cheeses. A soft cheese. A semi-soft cheese. A semi-hard cheese. And a hard cheese.

Step 2 – Pick out a couple of cured meats to pair with the cheese (e.g. Prosciutto de Parma, Italian Dry Salami etc.).

Step 3 – You need a few items that the cheese can be served on. Things like toasted baguettes, crackers, or breadsticks are great to include.

Step 4 – Fruits & Nuts. Raw Almonds, Raw Cashews, or Pistachios. For the fruits; grapes are always great, blackberries, strawberries, figs or any dried fruit.

Step 5 – You can include other stuff to fill out the board such as jams, preserves, sauces or sliced vegetables.

We always include our own homemade jam on the Green Acres; cheeseboard option on our food menu.

greenacres.ie

When it comes to pairing a cheeseboard with a wine, it really depends on the cheeses used. Here are some examples:

  • Cheddar Cheese and Aged Cheddar pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Merlot.
  • Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Chianti, Malbec, Pinot Noir, and Merlot.
  • Parmesan or other hard cheeses pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Shiraz and Merlot.
  • Gouda pairs well with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Champagne, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Shiraz and Merlot.

Conclusion

Cake and wine pairings are totally doable but can be tricky given the sugar content of each element. In any event, don’t be afraid to experiment with your wine and cakes pairings. The golden rule of wine and cake pairing is to always make sure the wine is sweeter than the cake.

If you are having an event this summer and want the perfect bottle of wine for your cake – contact us here through the website, mobile app or at 053 91 22975. Of course, we can always help you out with the cake option, fresh from the Green Acres bakery on site, and the cheeses as well.

As always – enjoy the wine and friends you’re with (in moderation).

#StaySafeSaveLives – Talk Soon – James.

christmas wine bottle and glass