Celebrate Easter By Baking One of These Vignoles Wine Cakes

Flag Hill Winery has tastings and tasting events. Be sure to check their website for details.
Flag Hill Winery has tastings and tasting events. Be sure to check their website for details. | Source

"A crisp semi-sweet white wine with notes of melon and pear"

That's how Flag Hill Winery in Lee, New Hampshire describes their Vignoles wine. Vignoles is a white grape similar to Riesling in many ways, both viticulturally and in the wines that this grape produces. Vignoles can be made into a variety of wines, including a simple semi-dry wine or a more complex, sweet, late harvest wine.

It can have pronounced floral tastes of apricots, pineapples, honey and peaches, as well as, orange blossom notes, making it a nice addition to your baking.

The Flag Hill Winery & Distillery is just one of wineries located in New Hampshire and it just so happens to be on the way to the sea coast, so my husband and I decided to make quick trip to their shop to purchase a locally crafted wine to go with our surf-side lunch..

Vignoles is also known as Ravat 51. This hearty, adaptable grape can produce wines that are comparable to wines produced in the Rhine Valley in Germany and as I mentioned earlier, it is similar to Riesling.

From my research, this white wine grape was developed in the 1930s by a gentleman named J.F. Ravat, a civil engineer from Marcigny, Saône-et-Loire, in France. Although Monsieur Ravat died in 1940, his grape breeding work was continued by his son-in-law, Jean Tissier. Ravat's breeding goal was to develop grape varieties that were more disease resistant than locally grown vinifera grapes, but which also produced superior wines.

Depending on the style of wine made, Vignoles can have a variety of tastes and flavor/ acid profiles. The color can be from pale straw to golden to almost orange. The Flag Hill Vignoles was a light straw color.

Made as a semi-sweet or late harvest wine, Vignoles can have pronounced tastes of stone fruits, such as apricots and peaches, as well as a citrus taste, with a rather tart finish. Often compared to German dessert wines, Vignoles is very nice chilled and served with cheese or packed with a light lunch. Added in the cake ingredients, Vignoles adds a little sweetness, a little yeast

Vignoles has thick skins so that the clusters can hang on the vine until late into the season. As the clusters hang and age, they do not rot, as some other varieties do. Rather,the grapes become raisins with very sweet juice. This is one of the reasons that Vignoles is suitable for the producing late harvest dessert wines.

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Ice Wine - What is it?

Ice wine is a term that I have just recently heard of. It is said to be an ultra-rich, super sweet dessert wine made from the intense liquid of naturally frozen grapes left on the vine to freeze. The tradition of making ice wine is well-rooted in both Austria and Germany. Locally, it is called "eiswein".

According to legend, the first eiswein was created by German winemaker whose harvest had frozen. Rather than waste the frozen grapes, the gentleman carried out the unorthodox process of pressing the frozen grapes. Allowing the grapes to freeze on the vine concentrates the grape’s sugars.

A few of the most common grapes utilized in the making of ice wine include Riesling and Gewurztraminer. However, as is common in the wine industry, winemakers continue to experiment with a variety of grapes including Vignoles.

Stone fruits tend to be the most common aromas found in ice wine made with white grape varietals. Red wines can also be produced.

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Quick and Easy Wine Cake Using a Box Cake Mix

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 45 min
Yields: Serves six to eight for dessert

Vignoles Box Cake

  • 1 Box yellow cake mix
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup Vignoles wine, Flag Hill Winery Vignoles wine
  • Confectioners sugar, for dusting
  • Whipped creme, berries, optional
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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bundt cake very well and lightly dust with flour. Take care to dust the entire surface of pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, blend cake mix, eggs, oil, and wine until moistened (about 30 seconds).
  3. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes using an electric mixer.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Test for doneness with a toothpick. This cake will be dense, but the toothpick should come out clean.
  6. Let pan cool in pan for a few minutes, loosen around the edges with a spatula and knock bottom of pan to loosen. Remove cake from pan and allow to cool completely.
  7. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Consider serving with whipped cream and fresh berries.
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Why Bake with Wine?

Wine is a multi-dimension ingredient. It has a wonderful way of supporting the other ingredients in dish, enhancing their flavors or adding its own subtle flavors.

Because of its sweet taste and fruit aromas, Vignoles is a perfect wine to cook with, especially when added to desserts.


Apricot-Glazed Vignoles Wine Cake

Ingredients:

Cake:
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 ½ cups white sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
½ cup shortening
½ cup milk
½ cup Flag Hill Vignoles wine
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

Glaze:
1 cup apricot jelly
½ cup Flag Hill Vignoles wine
6 T. honey
1 tsp. corn starch

Fresh Fruit:
thinly sliced peach {white peaches would be particularly nice}, raspberries

Directions:

Cake:
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Measure cake ingredients into large mixing bowl and mix for approximately 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into prepared pan. Bake cake for 30 minutes. Test for doneness. Cool on rack.

Glaze:
In a small saucepan, over low heat, warm the apricot jelly. Stir in remaining glaze ingredients until smooth. [for best results, mix wine with corn starch until smooth. Then add to pan with jelly]. Heat on low until mixture thickens. Stir often. Cool. Pour glaze over cake for presentation. Slice and serve with fruit.

Discover the Wine and Mead of New Hampshire

There are currently over twenty wineries in the state of New Hampshire.

Winery Association (NHWA) is a collective group of wine, cider, mead, and fruit wine growers, producers, and academics devoted to the New Hampshire Wine Industry.

For locations of state-wide wineries, take a look at this map.

Vignoles Carrot Cake Recipe

Cake Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Vignoles wine
  • 2 cups carrots, pared, shredded
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

Cake Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease and flour 10 inch bundt pan.
  2. Steam carrots in microwave until just tender [keep a close eye on the carrots. You want them to be softened but not soft].
  3. Stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves and nutmeg and cooled carrots in large bowl mixed.
  4. Beat eggs in small bowl, stir in oil, wine and vanilla.
  5. Pour liquid ingredients into flour mixture. Blend at low speed until mixed well. Then beat at medium 3 minutes. Scraping down sides occasionally.
  6. Stir in walnuts, coconut, and pineapple, then pour into prepared pan.
  7. Bake in lower third of oven for 45 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350° and bake an additional 30 minutes.
  8. Cool pan on rack for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan.
  9. Cool to room temperature.

Frosting Ingredients & Instructions

This is more of a glaze than a thick frosting. If you prefer a more traditional cream cheese frosting, simply omit the wine.

  • 3 ounce softened cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Vignoles wine
  • Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar in small bowl until smooth. Add wine and mix. Drizzle frosting over cake. Serve.

{Recipe adapted from St. James Winery}

Vanilla-Sparkling Wine Pound Cake
Vanilla-Sparkling Wine Pound Cake | Source

Other Wine suggestions

As you can see, I enjoy cooking with wine. Whether it is a specialty wine or a bit of leftover wine from the night prior, there is no need for it to go to waste.

Vignoles is certainly not the only wine worth using in baking. Red wine is equally delicious as proven in this cake from Food & Wine. Chocolate and red wine are a natural pairing.

With summer quickly approaching, perhaps you'll have more sparkling wines on hand. If so, this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens pound cake would make a lovely dessert or hostess gift.

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I've made this cake several times now. It makes a wonderful gift. I made a few cake stands and added a small gift tag.

If you'd like to know how you can do the same, here's a link to my DIY Cake Stand article - perfect for the Easter holiday: How to make cake stands.

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Have you baked with wine?

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