“But we haven’t finished lunch. We still have the best part left. Unless you have to get back to the palace.”
Faelen tilted his head. “What’s left of lunch?”
“Dessert, of course.” With a grin, Maxen retrieved the pastries from the bottom of the basket and unwrapped them to reveal spirals of dough sticky with honey, nuts, and spices. “We should have something sweet, shouldn’t we?”
Faelen’s eyes were wide, and he bit his lip. “I suppose we should.” - Faelen and Maxen in The Merchant's Love
We've gotten to the bit about why I'm baking and sharing it with you and it all ties together (at least in my head, so we'll go with it).
I thought it might be fun to do some baking and take some pictures of the results with The Merchant's Love and share them, along with recipes. These aren't actual baked goods that Maxen and Faelen eat in the book (or at least not all of them will be), but I'm sure they'd—Faelen especially with his sweet tooth—enjoy them. I hope you enjoy them too and the book, and please let me know what happens if you try any of the recipes! Today's offering is a chocolate and red wine cake, because if chocolate and red wine are delicious when eaten together, why not just bake them in a cake? Someone gave me the recipe years ago, and I don't remember who or where it came from (sorry and thank you to whoever sent it my way!), though I've changed it a bit. Here's the recipe, and scroll down for more about The Merchant's Love.
Chocolate Red Wine Cake
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, to brush the pan
1/4 cup sugar, to line pan
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dry red wine
Preheat the over to 325. Brush a six cup bundt pan with melted butter and coat it evenly with the 1/4 cup sugar. Turn the pan upside down to remove any excess.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. While beating at medium speed, add the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until light and fluffy. Add a third of the flour mixture and incorporate. Then add half the red wine. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and wine, scraping the bowl between additions.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
About The Merchant's Love:
Maxen, second son of a wealthy merchant family, longs to leave Tournai and visit everywhere he can. All his life, he’s found places on maps and dreamed, planning out routes to get to them. For now, he’s tied to Tournai’s capital city by family obligations and his position in their shipping business. Someday, though, he’ll be able to travel. His sudden attraction to Faelen shocks him, but their friendship soon becomes a necessary part of his life. Love, however, has no place in his plans, especially not love for a royal cousin with secrets who wants nothing more than to stay in one place.
For Faelen and Maxen to build something real between them, they must resolve their differences, but when magic goes awry and all Faelen’s secrets are revealed, will Maxen remain at his side?
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