Is it possible to have too much chocolate cake? I ask this because in the last 2 weeks I’ve baked 4 chocolate bundt cakes.
As many of you know, I’m a from-scratch baker. So I’ve been on a quest to adapt the Chocolate Bundt Cake my mother made from my youth. This was a recipe floating around back then, calling for, among other ingredients, boxed chocolate cake mix and boxed chocolate pudding mix.
The original cake was known for its moistness. And therein lay the problem. I found America’s Test Kitchen recipe, which required butter for the fat. While it tasted good, the crumb was very fine and dry. Since my mom’s recipe used oil, I thought I’d try half the butter and half the oil from each recipe. I, also, used dark brown sugar thinking the molasses would add extra moisture. Better, but still not there.
Since I was moving in the right direction, I omitted the butter altogether and used all oil, increasing it a little since I wasn’t using the boxed products. Much better.
My final tweak was to switch Dutch processed cocoa for the natural cocoa. Dutch processed cocoa tends to produce moister bakes plus an extra chocolatey flavor. By jove, I think I’ve got it! However, if you only have natural cocoa, that works just fine.
So, in answer to my opening question: NOOOOO! It’s not possible to have too much chocolate bundt cake. To be honest, the hard part is restricting myself to one slice per day. (Thank goodness I have a coffin-sized deep freezer which is now full of frozen portions of chocolate bundt cake!)
Note: If you don’t have an electric mixer, you can mix by hand. Don’t use a food processor, though – it’s too powerful.
Additional Note: You experienced bakers out there may be surprised to notice that I’m using baking soda with Dutch processed cocoa. Normally, one would use baking powder as the leavener with Dutch processed. But since this recipe has sour cream and dark brown sugar (both acidic), the baking soda will be activated.
Final Note: I strongly encourage you to weigh the ingredients – particularly the brown sugar and cocoa. These ingredients tend to clump, so measuring in a cup will yield vastly different amounts. Invest in a digital scale – it will give you consistent results.
CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE
- 6 oz 60% bittersweet chocolate (use bar chocolate, not chips) (I use Ghirardelli)
- 3/4 cup (57g / 2 oz) + 1 T Dutch processed cocoa powder, divided
- 1 tsp instant coffee crystals
- 3/4 (175ml / 6 oz) cup boiling water
- 1¾ cup (8+1/8 oz) (231 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) vegetable oil
- 11 oz (312g / 2 cups, packed) dark brown sugar
- 1 T vanilla extract
- 5 eggs
- 8 oz (230g / 1 cup) sour cream
- 2 cups (330g / 11.75 0) semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Nestle’s)
- 1 T butter
Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
Chop bittersweet chocolate into 1/2″-ish or less sized pieces. If you’re using a thin bar such as Ghirardelli, then you can break it by hand. Place pieces in a medium sized bowl. Sift the 3/4 cup cocoa into the bowl. (Cocoa tends to clump. Sifting will make for a smoother chocolate mixture.) Add in the coffee crystals and pour in the boiling water. Cover with a plate and let sit for 5 minutes to begin the melting process. After 5 minutes, stir. It probably won’t be completely melted yet. Cover with plate and let sit another couple of minutes. Stir again and let sit uncovered to cool. Stir in sour cream.Into another bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. (In the picture I’ve not stirred yet.)Crack all 5 eggs into a tall glass. You’ll be adding the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Rather than cracking them one by one (and maybe getting bits of shell into the batter) as you beat the batter, you can just pour them from the glass – they’ll pour out one at a time quite easily. Set aside.Into the large bowl of your electric stand mixer put the brown sugar and oil. Turn on low to start (so the sugar doesn’t fly out), increasing to medium speed. Beat for 1 minute on medium. Add in vanilla and 1 egg. Beat for 20 seconds. Continue adding eggs one at a time, beating 20 seconds after each.Dump in about 1/3 of the flour mixture (you can just estimate) and beat on low to blend.Add in 1/2 of chocolate mixture and beat on low to blend.Add in half of remaining flour mixture and beat on low. Add in remaining chocolate mixture and beat on low. Finally, add in remaining flour mixture, beating until there’s still a little flour showing. Add in chocolate chips and beat on low, blending until all of flour is incorporated.Into a small bowl put the extra 1 T cocoa. Melt butter and pour into cocoa, stirring to make a paste. Using a pastry brush, coat the entire interior of bundt pan (even if it’s nonstick!). Use all of it – your cake will slide right out when done.Pour batter into prepared bundt pan. TIP: Cover hole in bundt pan to prevent batter accidentally spilling into hole. The lid from a spice bottle works perfectly. So does a Dixie cup. REMEMBER TO REMOVE IT BEFORE PLACING PAN IN OVEN!!! (If you look carefully, you can see an indentation in my lid caused by me forgetting to remove it. I remembered after about 10 minutes in the oven. It melted a little, but is still usable for this purpose. And, more importantly, the cake was fine. Bake at 350º F for 45 – 55 minutes, gently rotating after 30 minutes. (Mine is done at 45 minutes, but your oven may not be as hot as mine.) Check for doneness with a toothpick. Because of the chocolate chips, there may be a little chocolate on the toothpick. Try another area to be sure it’s not raw batter (crumbs are okay). Let set 20 minutes in pan.
Using a rounded knife, loosen cake from outside edge of pan. Place a rack on top and flip. Remove bundt pan – the cake will have dropped to rack. Let cool at least 4 hours.
Liberally sift on powdered sugar. (You can drizzle on a ganache if you like, but with the chocolate chips inside, I think it’s overkill.)