Chocolate Bundt Cake

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

This chocolate bundt cake is not your run-of-the-mill chocolate 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

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  • 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

Showing 4 of 32 Comments

  • Dennis

    This is a similar recipe to one I used many years ago and have since misplaced, so it was nice to find this. It was a delicious cake, so looking forward to trying it again.

    The recipe I made years ago called for the addition of raspberry in the batter. Basically, you thawed frozen raspberries then forced them through a sieve to remove the seeds. You would then add half the batter to the pan, add the raspberry puree (running a knife through it to spread it around), then add the remaining batter and bake. The combination of raspberries and chocolate is delicious.

    I don’t know though if that addition will affect the baking time or not. My general sense is that it won’t, but would love to hear what you think, and if you’ve ever done something similar before.

  • Joy

    Hi Elise, how long does this cake keep? Can I bake it 2-3 days ahead?

  • Skippy

    This looks beautiful, and, well, I just got my first bundt pan. Did you ever try mixing anything in? I was wondering about pomegranate seeds, maybe just to add some brightness. Or maybe that’s just too many flavors, maybe a clash with the coffee and bourbon…? Thanks–

  • ellen

    Have you tried ‘pan goo’? equal volumes (cups) of trex or Crisco, vegetable oil and flour. you whiz it in the food processor or blender until smooth, and then brush it on.
    I sometimes have problems with sticking too, even with wonderful nordic ware bundt pans. but using pan goo PLUS on top of that, spraying wilton’s non-stick spray, PLUS leaving the cake in for 15 minutes, plus banging it gently on the counter after 15 minutes, holding it at about a 70 degree angle and turning it round, usually does the trick. I did not have a problem with this particular cake and I used the same pan as Elise, which isn’t the most non-stick nordic ware type there is. I’ve made it twice now. I agree it is such a fabulous recipe it’s definitely worth making even if it does stick! in fact I think I’ll try my hand today, using the Nordic ware Christmas fir trees one!

  • Susan Flynn

    Hi Elise –
    Happy Holidays! Question/Help – I have made this Chocolate Bundt Cake Recipe four times in my non-stick nordicware bundt pan and it never unmolds cleanly. Always sticks. First time I did the butter with cocoa powder. Second time I used less butter then cocoa powder. Third time I used non-stick cooking spray. Fourth time I didn’t use any butter or spray. No luck. I’m a culinary school grad (Le Grand Diplome from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris) so I’m no slouch in the kitchen. Any ideas what I should do? The flavor and crumb of this cake are wonderful so I really want to get this recipe to work!
    Thanks!

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