Grape Cake with Anise and Lemon

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Serves 8-10 | 95 minutes (active time: 35 min)


  • 1 cup (7 oz.) Muscat de Beaumes de Venise (or other dessert wine such as vin santo or sauternes)
  • 1 cup (7 oz.) granulated sugar, plus additional 2 tablespoons (1 oz.)
    for the topping
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz.) finely-grated lemon zest
  • 7 tablespoons (3.5 oz.) butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • 13/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon (8 oz. total) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground anise seed
  • 11/2 cups (about 6 oz.) grapes, halved



Place the wine in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced to 1/3 cup. Transfer to a heatproof measuring cup or dish and set aside to cool (you can place it in the fridge to cool it faster).

When the wine has cooled to room temperature, preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment. Butter the parchment, then flour the pan, tapping out any excess.

Place sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add lemon zest and mix just to combine. Add butter and mix at medium-high speed for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each completely before adding the next.

Stir the olive oil into the cooled wine. Add about 1/3  of the oil/wine mixture to the bowl and mix on low speed until just incorporated. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and anise seed together. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the stand mixer and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Repeat the process of alternately adding the oil mixture and flour mixture to the batter 2 more times, ending with the flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and gently tap the pan on the counter a few times to level the surface.

Scatter the halved grapes over the batter. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top and bake until the cake is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. Transfer the cake pan to a rack to cool for about 10 minutes before running a butter knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan. Cool for an additional 20–30 minutes before turning the cake out onto a plate then inverting it back onto the cooling rack or a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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