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!

piece of chocolate cake

Chocolate Bundt Cake Recipe

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 12 to 16.

The baking temperature is lower than one would usually use for baking a cake—275°F.

Ingredients

  • 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)

 

Method

dust bundt pan with cocoa

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.

place ingredients in double boiler whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth

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.

whisk flour beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla

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).

beat in chocolate mixture whisk flour mixture into chocolate egg mixture

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.)

pour batter into bundt pan bake chocolate bundt cake until done

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.

turn out chocolate bundt cake onto rack to cool

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.

 

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Beautiful chocolate bundt cake

32 Comments

  1. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    Looks delicious! Adding this to my must-try soon list.

  2. AJ Benham

    I use Irish Whiskey and serve it with whipped cream as Irish Coffee cake on St. Patrick’s Day.

  3. Kiran

    Hi,
    How much 4 ounces butter in kg, ?
    Can’t u please clarify this. .I really wanna make

    • Elise

      Hello Kiran, 4 ounces is 113 grams. Note that you can always use Google to find equivalents. Just Google “4 ounces in grams” and you’ll come up with the answer.

  4. Bea

    I love this recipe because my kids are not fans of frosted cakes. I always like a good cake that every one really likes.

  5. Sues

    What a beautiful cake!! Even from the photos, I can tell it’s super moist and delicious!

  6. Sandy S

    Oh my! This looks really good! Will try making it with GF flour. Wish I had your pretty Bundt pan. That extra pattern at the base adds so much and makes for a pretty slice as well.

    • Jody K

      Please let us know how it turns out with the GF flour. Thanks.

      • Janet

        I made this for my daughter with “Cup 4 Cup” GF flour that I purchased at Whole Foods. I subbed 1:1 for all purpose flour. The cake was OUTSTANDING and no one had a clue that it was GF. Moist and absolutely delicious.

  7. Kari @ Cooking with Toddlers

    Such a beautiful cake…almost too beautiful to eat!

  8. Meredith

    Wow! Another Chocolate Bourbon cake recipe! I just made the other recipe, and it was delicious. The coffee in this one makes me think I’ll like it more. Plus, there is less sugar, eggs, and butter in this recipe, so that must mean it’s the healthier option. :)

  9. Arcey

    I’ve also made the Chocolate Bourbon Cake before, and will try this one too. I use a similar Bundt pan, one that looks like a rose and makes everything I bake in it taste better. :) You should be able to find this on or a similar one at a good old-fashioned hardware/housewares store, or perhaps Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table, or certainly online. They do make everyone who sees the cake go ooh and ahh, and it seems they think you sculpted it yourself!

    Re the bittersweet chocolate, I assume you mean one with a high percentage of cacao? Also, I usually use a baking spray with flour for my Bundt pan — is that not okay to do with this one? I see that in the Chocolate Bourbon Cake recipe, flour is used to dust the pan, not cocoa. I’ve never dusted a pan with cocoa — is that for color? or flavor? Does it come out of the pan as easily?

    Thanks. Can’t wait to try this one!

    • Elise

      Hello Arcey, yes the bittersweet chocolate has a high percentage of cacao. The reason we dust with cocoa powder is for color. It works great!

  10. Julie

    My Festival Bundt pan holds nine cups of batter. Too small for this recipe? Should I go with a standard 12 cup Bundt pan?

    • Elise

      Hi Julie, good question. I just checked the bundt pan I used again. It holds 11 cups of water, but probably only 9 cups of batter, because the batter needs room to rise. I had said a 2-quart bundt pan was needed, but I think it needs a little more than that, so I’ve updated the recipe to say 2 1/2 quart bundt pan (for about 9 cups of batter).

  11. Roxanne1010

    Hi Elise,
    I don’t have a bundt pan and don’t really want to get one as it tKes so much room for an unusual mold I don’t think I’d use much.
    Can I bake it in another pan? In which case what size?

  12. Leah

    This looks fabulous! I will have to try it. Wish I had a lovely bundt pan to make it in.

  13. Robin

    Elise the cake looks absolutely wonderful! On a side note – where did you get that beautiful pan???

    • Elise

      Hi Robin, thank you! That cake pan is a Nordic Ware Star Shaped bundt pan. I forget where I bought it, isn’t it lovely?

  14. glyn

    Very delicious and look so irresistible.. Just can’t wait to try it too!

  15. eugeniakukla

    Made this tonight. As I do all your recipes :)
    L O V E it! Big glass of milk along with it……reminds me of desserts my parents would have on Sundays when I was young! Thanks for the memories and the ability to replicate something that tastes so delicious!

  16. Marcia

    this was incredible! fabulous recipe

  17. Ann

    This looks so good! Thinking about making mine with my homemade kahlua. What do you think. ( I mean it is strong coffee with some added goodness)

  18. Glynis Maruk

    Thanks so much for the recipe! We are doing on a long train trip with another couple and I plan on packing a picnic lunch for us, and I think this will be a nice addition to our plans. I also have a lovely cake mold as well.

  19. Chichi

    I so love the bundt tin you used for the chocolate cake and your cake looks so yummy. Love a good chocolate bundt cake.

  20. Gloria

    I’ve made this twice so far and both times it is absolutely delicious. So rich and decadent. I made a butter-creme icing and shaved some 90% cocao over the top of that. DELICIOUS!

  21. ellen graves

    Hi,

    I have just found this site and it is very good!

    I have a bundt cake obsession. So I tried this and it is delicious, a very smooth, consistent texture. I had to use rum though as bourbon is quite expensive here in the UK. But it worked very well. The rather unusual method and the very low oven seem to work really well! I used a mix of some chocolate chips and a bar of 85% chocolate I had. I used the same pan as you, it is very beautiful. The eaters apparently commented on how gorgeous it was!

    Another question. Do you ever put things in weight, not cup measurements, in your baking recipes? I find it is much easier to get consistent results if that is done.

    Thanks again for a really good recipe and a delicious cake!

    • Elise

      Hi Ellen, I’m so glad you liked the cake! I do on occasion include metric measurements. Thank you for your encouragement to me to do it more!

  22. ellen

    Just in case they’d be useful here are weight measurements for this recipe. I didn’t get these by going to an online table. Instead I weighed the cups I measured, as I measured them. I measured them by dipping the cup into the flour and pouring the sugar into the cup. (I rounded up also, the actual numbers of grams you get are often hard to remember (eg 283g?!) and even 15g is only a tablespoon!) I find many of the tables are a bit wonky. Alice Medrich has a really good article about weight measurements somewhere on ‘food52.com’, she explains why this is the best way to convert from volume to weight measurements, better than I can.
    (Note the sugar and flour weigh the same, Many cake recipes seem to follow this formula, don’t they?) Anyway here goes:
    7 oz/200g bittersweet chocolate
    4 oz/115g butter plus more for greasing pan
    12 fl oz/350ml strong coffee
    4 fl oz/110ml bourbon
    3/4 t salt
    10 oz/285g flour (could round up to 300g – 15g is only 1 T) NB I used cake flour.
    1t baking soda
    2 eggs
    10 oz/285g sugar (I used caster or superfine) (and see note above re flour.)
    1 t vanilla
    3 T cocoa for dusting pan
    1 T powdered sugar for dusting cake

    • ellen

      Sorry that should probably be 330ml coffee – 3x110ml. I was using a cup with lines only every 50 ml. Again, I don’t think it really matters, 20 ml is a very small amount.

  23. Gloria

    This has officially and permanently been added to our household’s menu. It has been requested a THIRD time. I don’t mind either as it’s totally enjoyable to make!

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