Olive Oil Chocolate Cake With Sagrantino Wine


Every once in a while I crave chocolate, but it has to be dark chocolate, and I do not need much, just a taste. I rarely bake with chocolate because we do not eat many desserts in our house if it just my husband and myself at home. If I do bake anything, it is usually a rustic fruit or nut cake that can be assembled quickly without a lot of fuss that can be enjoyed both at breakfast or after dinner that I serve to guests.

I came across this cake recipe in one of my antique Umbrian cookbooks that sounded intriguing, and decided I must try it. Now this cookbook listed ingredients, but gave no amounts, and the directions were pretty brief as well. Since my strengths in the kitchen do not include baking, I decided I needed some help and went online to look for a similar recipe, then adapted it to be a little more like the one I wanted to make.

Sagrantino di Montefalco Wine DOCG is a typical red Umbrian wine obtained from the grapes of the Sagrantino wineyard, and is Umbria’s most famous red wine. You can use any full bodied dry red wine instead however, and get great results. The wine cannot be tasted in the final product, and simply adds a depth of flavor to the overall cake.

The olive oil really keeps the cake moist, and the final product was one very delicious, moist, light textured cake. I do not care for icing as a rule, so I elected to dust my cake with cocoa powder and served it with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries.

You could dust your cake with powdered sugar, or glaze it with a dark chocolate ganache, it is completely up to you. Because I cannot buy buttermilk here in Italy, I simply added a spoonful of lemon juice to a cup of milk and let it curdle as my substitution which worked out just fine. I enjoyed this cake so much that I will certainly be making it much more often in the future and it will be a great option for me to bake for our farmhouse guests as well.




Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Olive Oil Chocolate Cake With Sagrantino Wine

Olive Oil Chocolate Cake With Sagrantino Wine

Yield: Serves 10
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 2 Cups of Sugar
  • 1 3/4 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Dark Cocoa
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk (see my notes above)
  • 1 Cup Sagrantino (or Other Dry Red Wine)
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

To Finish:

  • Cocoa Powder or Powdered Sugar


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly grease a 10-inch Bundt pan.
  2. In one bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, and salt, and stir to mix well.
  3. In another bowl, add the eggs, buttermilk, wine, olive oil and vanilla, and use a hand mixer to blend well.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and continue to beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. (The batter will be very thin)
  5. Pour the batter into your prepared Bundt pan, and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan.
  7. Cool to room temperature, then dust with either the cocoa powder or powdered sugar.

Did you make this recipe?

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    1. Barbara, I usually would not choose extra virgin olive oil as it has a much stronger flavor, but our own extra virgin oil was beside me as I was baking and I used it. My usual preference when baking is a lighter tasting olive oil, not extra virgin.

  1. Although I’m not the biggest chocolate cake fan (preferring fruit cakes/simple rustic cakes), this one looks very appealing, with the wine and olive oil. I have to try it!
    I have a question though: what is the advantage/difference of using cocoa powder instead of dark chocolate?

  2. This Chocolate Cake is just the best! I have made it for family gatherings and for parties. Everyone always loves it! They rave about it!…the richness, dark cocoa and the hint of wine flavor. I’ve used various red wines, whatever I had on hand and found that I liked the Merlot the best. I also used goat milk yogurt instead of buttermilk because I cant use cow’smilk. . I love the flavor of goat milk. It’s not overpowering. I use EVOO because that’s what I always have on hand and it doesn’t seem overwhelming.
    Thank you for this delicious recipe!!!

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