Saturday, January 2, 2010

Chocolate-Sour Cream Bundt Cake

 IMG_12511 by you.

Have I mentioned that I love the new bundt pan I got for Christmas from my lovely sister-in-law?  It's not often that I will bake twice in the same day, let alone using the same pan, but I couldn't resist trying out the recipe that came on the back of the box last night.

You can also find a slightly different, scaled-down version of this recipe on the Williams-Sonoma website that's geared towards fitting a 10-cup pan.  It leaves out the chocolate chips and uses a glaze in lieu of ganache. I think it's probably pretty close to this recipe, but having never made it, I can't vouch for it.

1 c. non-alkalized cocoa powder, sifted; plus more for dusting pan
7 1/2 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1. c boiling water
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten (room temperature)
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. sour cream (room temperature)
1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a large bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess.

2. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and 7 1/2 oz chocolate.  Add boiling water and whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.  Set aside to cool.

3. In a separate bowl or over parchment paper, sift together flour, baking soda and salt.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs a little at a time, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add vanilla and beat in.

5. On low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the sour cream in 3 parts, beginning and ending with the flour, beating until just combined.  Slowly pour in the chocolate-cocoa mixture and beat until no white streaks are visible, occasionally stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.  You want to mix until no white streaks are visible.  Then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips.

6.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading the batter so that the sides are about 1-inch higher on the sides than in the center.  Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, approximately 60-70 minutes.

7. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for 15 minutes.  Invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan.  Let the cake cool completely, at least 1 hour.

This recipe makes a LOT of batter.  Seriously, a crazy amount.  Like, it filled most of my mixer bowl, most of my 15-cup bundt pan, and puffed up and over it during baking.  You either need to have a BIG bundt pan to make this, or be prepared to make cupcakes on the side.

I made a few very minor changes.  I didn't have enough cocoa powder left to dust my pan, but it didn't end up being an issue since my fancy new pan is still super nonstick.  I did, however, substitute white sugar for a cup of the brown since I ran out.  And I used regular old table salt instead of kosher, which I find to be a pain to measure as accurately.  The original recipe also called for you to return the cooled cake back to the pan so that you could "gently saw off" any excess than extended over the edge of the pan and have a level bottom, but honestly, I didn't bother.

Also, when it says to scrape down the sides (steps 4 & 5), make sure you do a thorough job.  I thought I had, but when it came time to pour the batter into the pan, I found a pool of batter at the bottom that had not been mixed properly with the chocolate mixture.  If this ever happens to you, you basically have two options.  If you've already poured most of the batter out, just leave it.  Mixing it in now is only going to make your cake all streaky and weird.  Otherwise, you can try to mix it in with the rest of the batter by hand.

The original recipe also called for a ganache topping (6 oz chopped semisweet chocolate, 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, 1/2 c. heavy cream; heat cream to boiling and pour over butter & chocolate, whisking until smooth), but it really doesn't need it.  It is probably one of the most insanely chocolate-y cakes I have ever baked or eaten in my life.  The combination of cocoa powder, melted chocolate and then chocolate chips too bordered on unnecessary, and coming from me, that's saying something.  I think next time I may use mini-chocolate chips or leave them out altogether.

IMG_12515 by you.

All in all, this earned raves.  It was rich, moist, super chocolatey and delicious. We all ate the cake with a generous scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream to cut the intensity a bit.  SO good.  In fact, this might be my new favorite cake recipe.  But like I mentioned before, it's enormous, so you may want to save it for really special occasions or large gatherings.

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