Want a dessert party that’s different?
How about a wine and cake tasting? As with any other food and wine, the right pairings enhance the enjoyment of both components. So as not to stress the budget, you can make it a co-op party, assigning different cakes and wines to the participants.
Select five or so pairings for a group of 10-12; more for a larger crowd. We made all of the cakes as sheet cakes, easy to cut into squares or slivers. It’s tough to cut thin slices of layer cakes.
Place each cake on a platter with place cards or index cards to identify them and provide cake/pie servers so people can help themselves, and further cut the squares for smaller tastes.
We set everything on a buffet: the cakes with the matching wines and wine glasses behind them, plus serving plates, forks, and napkins.
Re the cake/pie servers: It’s nice to have a server for each cake. You can borrow from friends, use metal spatulas and other items you already have, or buy this inexpensive set of five for $11.99.
These pairings were created by Alice Feiring, an award-winning wine writer and book author; and sent to us by Amara.com, an elegant lifestyle website.
Alice has provided explanations for why these pairings work (the “Why,” below). If your crowd is interested, you can print the information index cards underneath the name of each cake and wine pairing.
Wine Type: Off-dry spg wine, such as a demi-sec Vouvray from the Loire region of France.
Why: Off-dry sparkling wines with a hint of apple or lemon are a perfect pairing.
CAKE & WINE PAIRINGS
1. APPLE CAKE & WINE
Wine Type: Pear cider (an off-dry hard cider also called perry).
Why: Pears and cardamom accent each other so well in recipes; the same pairing translates to wine. You can also try this pairing with other spice cakes.
2. CARDAMOM CAKE & WINE
Wine Type: Ice cider, similar to ice wine, but made with apples instead of grapes.
Why: Carrot cake has spicy flavors and creamy frosting, both of which pair well with the intensity, acidity and honey notes of ice cider.
3. CARROT CAKE & WINE
Wine Type: Aromatic wine, spicy and exotic, such as Gewürztraminer from the Alsace region of France or from Germany.
Why: Aromatic wines stand up to dense cheesecakes. The low alcohol level is right for the creaminess.
4. CHEESECAKE & WINE
Wine Type: Sparkling, white, gently sweet desert wine, such as Moscato d’Asti from Italy.
Why: The light sweetness of a sparkling desert wine complements the less sweet coconut.
5. COCONUT CAKE & WINE
Wine Type: Oxidized, fortified wine such as Madeira from Portugal.
Why: Fortified wines that have been exposed to heat develop a complex muted, caramel-like saltiness—think toffee, dried fruit and orange rind—which complement the ground nuts in the cake.
6. FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE & WINE
Wine Type: Apple mint vermouth (look for Uncouth Vermouth Apple Mint)—semisweet and fragrant.
Why: The bitter from the vermouth accents the almost fruity snap of the poppy seeds.
7. LEMON POPPY CAKE & WINE
Wine Type: Sparking white wine, like a slightly sweet Malvasia Dolce Frizzante from Italy.
Why: The aromatic lightness of a slightly sweet sparkling wine matches the dense olive oil without being overpowering.
8. OLIVE OIL CAKE & WINE
Wine Type: Dry amber (orange) wine, spicy with notes of orange blossom. Look for amber wines from France, Italy and Australia—they’re relatively new in the U.S.
Why: The juicy, slightly tannic wine supports the strong cake flavors without undoing the power of the chocolate orange combination.
9. ORANGE-CHOCOLATE CAKE & WINE
Wine Type: Sweet white wine such as a Jurançon Moelleux from France—unctuous with good acid and lemon/peach notes.
Why: The tropical flavor from the grape, petit manseng, especially from the Jurançon, marries the syrupy fruit. Its extreme acidity keeps the match fresh”.
10. PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE & WINE
Wine Type: Sparking rosé.
Why: The berry fruitiness of sparkling rosé echoes the fragrant strawberries in the cake.
11. STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE & WINE
Wine Type: Savory cheesecake is an appetizer or first course rather than a dessert; or it can stand in for the cheese course or a dessert for people who don’t like sweets! Look for a Carignan, Grenache, Syrah or blend. Check out these savory cheesecake recipes:
12. SAVORY CHEESE CAKE & WINE
Why: Deep red wines are a great match for the sharp cheese flavors.
>Blue Cheese Cheesecake
>Basil, Lobster & Tuna Cheesecake Recipes
>Nacho Cheesecake Recipe
>Provolone & Corn Cheesecake
MORE DESSERT & WINE PAIRINGS
Here are THE NIBBLE’s recommendations for:
Pairing Desserts & Wine: everything from crème brûlée to mousse to pie
Pairing Ice Cream & Wine
Pairing Chocolate & Wine
CHECK OUT WHAT’S HAPPENING ON OUR HOME PAGE, THENIBBLE.COM.
 Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and filling likes an ice cider (photo © Harry & David).
 Try an Alsatian Gewürztraminer with a classic cheesecake (photo © Cinderella Cheesecake [now closed]).
 A Moscato d’Asti from Italy is beautiful with coconut layer cake (photo © Taste Of Home).
 Try a Madeira from Portugal or a glass of Port to pair with flourless chocolate cake (photo © David Glass Chocolates).
 A sparkling pairing: sparking rosé with strawberry shortcake (photo © G Bakes).
 The all-American pineapple upside down cake demands a sweet white wine, such as a Jurançon Moelleux from France (photo © King Arthur Flour).
 A savory cheesecake is often served as an appetizer, but you can serve it as dessert instead of a cheese course. Here’s the recipe for this nacho cheesecake (photo © Taste Of Home; the recipe link is at #12).
 This almond cake pairs beautifully with Muscat. Here’s the recipe (photo © California Wine Institute).