Chocolate Bundt Cake
My father is somewhat of a homebody. He doesn’t often drop by unannounced, but when he does, there’s usually food involved, especially if that food includes chocolate, or cake, or in this case both. This chocolate bundt cake can feed many, so I was happy to have dad’s enthusiastic support enjoying it. (He gives it “two thumbs up”!)
About the cake. It’s not your run-of-the-mill chocolate bundt cake. In it you’ll find close to 2 cups of strong coffee and a quarter cup of bourbon. Yes you can sub the bourbon for another whisky or for just more coffee. But I do recommend using the bourbon if you have some on hand. Bourbon has a wonderfully smoky flavor, and the cooking process cooks out almost all of the alcohol. So the use of it is more akin to using vanilla, just a different flavor note. The cake will not taste like coffee—the coffee intensifies the chocolate flavor.
This recipe has a bit of a history. It comes from my friend Kathi Riley who used to chef at the historic Union Hotel in Benicia, California in the early 1980s. This cake recipe was on the menu there as a “Mississippi Mud Cake,” served with whipped cream. The cake has an even, fine crumb, has a complex chocolate flavor, and is relatively light. Perfect for pairing with vanilla ice cream. I hope you like it as much as we do!
The baking temperature is lower than one would usually use for baking a cake—275°F.
- 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 4 ounces (1 stick) butter (plus more for greasing the pan)
- 1 3/4 cups of strong coffee
- 1/4 cup bourbon whisky (if skipping the whisky, just use more coffee)
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt (if using salted butter, reduce to 1/8 teaspoon of salt)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp cocoa for dusting the bundt pan
- 1 Tbsp powdered sugar for dusting the cake (optional)
- One 2 1/2-quart capacity bundt pan (or two 4x8x2 loaf pans)
1 Preheat oven to 275°F. Grease inside of a 2-quart bunt pan with a thin layer of butter. Sprinkle cocoa over the butter. Set aside.
2 Place a metal bowl over a saucepan filled with an inch or two of water, make sure that the water is not touching the bottom of the metal bowl. Place the chocolate, butter, coffee, bourbon, and salt in the metal bowl. Heat the saucepan to a low simmer. (Basically you are creating a double boiler to gently melt the chocolate mixture.) Stir occasionally as the chocolate melts. Once the mixture is melted and smooth, remove the bowl from heat and let sit to cool for 15 minutes (you can chill in the refrigerator if you want to speed up this process.)
3 In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour and baking soda.
4 In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together until light and foamy (you can use a hand mixer for this, or a stand up mixer).
5 Once the chocolate mixture has cooled sufficiently, slowly whisk it into the egg sugar mixture. Then, stir in the flour mixture, a third at a time. Whisk until smooth. (The batter will be rather liquid-y. Don't worry about it.)
6 Pour into the prepared bundt pan. Place on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake at 275°F for 1 hour 15 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
7 Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then gently remove from the pan and cool on a rack until completely cooled to room temperature.
8 Transfer cake to a serving platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if using. Slice with a serrated bread knife to serve. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.