Café Zinfandel Cake & Pinot Noir Quinoa, #SundaySupper

Dad played a decorated war hero, General MacArthur on NHK TV. (The PBS of Japan.) In real life, medals never dangled on my father’s chest. Yet, he’s always been my hero. His gentle spirit and generosity continue to influence and inspire me. More times than I care to recall, he drove me to the train station so I could catch the right train to make it on time to school. 

A content kitty cat catches up on the news with Dad.

Dad also wrote numerous forgive-my-daughter’s-tardiness notes to my homeroom teacher. Spoiled? Maybe a little. However, when all my friends were getting color TVs free and clear; I had to sign a ten-term contract. No kidding. 1. I will cheerfully turn off the TV when instructed. 2. I will cheerfully finish my homework before TV. 3. I will cheerfully…You get the picture. And, yes, I’m that old that I remember the advent of color TV!

Baking for Dad is a privilege...I do believe I inherited my sweet tooth from him!

Fond memories of Dad are popping up as I prepare for the #SundaySupper Father’s Day Feast. (Please scroll down for details on how you can take a seat at the virtual dinner table at Twitter.) Dad loves fine wines and chocolates. (Who doesn’t?) Vivacious strawberry, raspberry and watermelon flavors color Gallo Family Vineyards’ Café Zinfandel. As Zinfandel pairs especially well with chocolate, I chose the wine for my Café Zinfandel Cake.

Delightful berry flavors of Cafe Zinfandel frolic in a traditional white cake.
The chocolate is also zapped with the light 'n lovely Gallo Family Vineyards' wine.

In addition to a chocolate frosting splashed with Zinfandel, chocolate syrup was drizzled into the cake batter. Alas, it stayed at the bottom of the bundt. (I’ve corrected my recipe. Swirl some chocolate in after pouring half of the batter into the bundt pan. Then, drizzle a little more at the end.) The good news is that Café Zinfandel adds depth and berry sweetness to plain white cake. The chocolate ganache-like frosting also benefits from the zip of Café Zinfandel.

Pinot Noir Quinoa

I admire and sometimes practice the philosophy of Eat Dessert First. However, a practice of a bit of protein before sweets is probably better. Fortunately a bottle of Gallo Family Vineyards’ Pinot Noir was in reach. The medium bodied wine plays well to deep flavored meats and mushrooms. So, I cooked up a quick, easy (and delicious!) Pinot Noir Quinoa before indulging in the Café Zinfandel Cake.

Café Zinfandel Cake

Everyday white cake is transformed into sophisticated sweetness with the addition of wine. The chocolate in the cake and in the frosting also flirts well with the Café Zinfandel.

Adapted from the white cake recipe on the back of the King Arthur cake flour box.


For the cake:

  • 2 ¾ cups cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup soft unsalted butter
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • ½ cup Café Zinfandel
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Pink food coloring
  • Chocolate syrup

For the chocolate ganache frosting:

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 9 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Café Zinfandel
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam

1. In a kitchen stand mixer, whisk all of the dry ingredients on slow speed for 2 minutes.
2. Drop in pats of butter and combine until the mixture is crumbly.
3. Beat in the egg whites followed by the whole egg.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the Zinfandel and cream.
5. Slowly add the Zinfandel cream mixture to the mixer bowl.
6. Sprinkle a few drops of pink food coloring into the batter. On medium-high speed let the beaters combine all ingredients until fluffy. (About 3 minutes.)
7. Pour ½ of the batter into a well-greased and panko breadcrumb covered bundt pan. Drizzle in chocolate syrup. Cover with the remaining batter and swirl in more chocolate syrup.
8. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until a chopstick (or skewer) emerges clean when inserted into the center.
9. While the cake cools, in a small sauce pan combine ½ cup of heavy cream, 9 ounces of chopped dark chocolate, 2 tablespoons of Café Zinfandel and 1 tablespoon of strawberry jam. (Double this recipe if you want to completely cover the cake.)
10.  Drizzle the ganache frosting onto the cooled cake. (You can also use a clean paintbrush reserved only for food use to paint the frosting onto the cake.)

Tip: Scrape the bowl often to ensure all ingredients are incorporated into the yummy mixture.

Pinot Noir Quinoa

Every bite of this Pinot Noir infused quinoa tastes like wholesome goodness. The flavors of the shiitake mushrooms and vegetable gems of the earth blossom with the berry infused Pinot Noir.

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ cups Pinot Noir wine + additional ½ cup for soaking the mushrooms
  • 8 small shiitake mushrooms
  • 6 slices bacon, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup chopped Japanese daikon radish
  • ½ cup chopped carrot

1. Soak the shiitake mushrooms in Pinot Noir for 30 minutes. Then drain and slice into slivers.
2. Pour the quinoa, water and wine into the bowl of a rice cooker or a medium size pan. Add the mushrooms, bacon, daikon and carrots. 
3. Set on regular white rice if using a rice cooker. If you prefer the stovetop method, bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat. Cook for 15 minutes and fluff. (The quinoa should display a golden band around the kernels.)

Click here to find the nearest bottle of Pinot Noir and Café Zinfandel. So you can spend a little more on your Father’s Day present, here’s a link for a Gallo Family Vineyards coupon.

Gallo Family Vineyards

For more delicious details about the Gallo Family Vineyard offerings, visit their website. Or say cheers at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Here are a few more Café Zinfandel and Pinot Noir inspired recipes:

Father’s Day Salads and Main Dishes:

Father’s Day Sweets and Treats:


Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.

Wishing you hearts and wine goblets brimming with happiness on Father’s Day and always.

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.



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