Tag Archives: Ganache

Chocolate sour cream bundt cake

This is my absolute number-one favorite chocolate cake. Hands down. And I say that as someone who usually thinks chocolate cake is a waste of chocolate. Oh, it’s tasty, no doubt, but between the flour and the butter and the sugar and the eggs, it’s often hard to taste the chocolate at all.

This cake is different. It’s a sour cream cake, the softest and plushest kind of cake there is. That means it can support a heaping helping of cocoa powder–amounts that would dry out a lesser cake. (I’ve actually increased the amount of cocoa in this cake since I started making it, and if anything I think the texture is better.) It’s also a hot water cake, which makes the texture even moister and helps draw out flavor, coffee-like, from the cocoa. And instead of a sickly-sweet buttercream frosting, it’s covered with dark chocolate ganache. What’s not to love?

In fact, this cake is so soft that I’ve had trouble with it falling apart if I take it out of the pan too soon. Most bundt cake recipes say you should cool the cake in the pan for exactly 10 minutes–no more, no less–before turning them out. When I do that, the cake slumps into a pile of delicious crumbs. I’ve found it’s best to wait a bit longer, until the sides of the cake pan are warm but not hot to the touch. That’s my cue that the cake has cooled enough to hold together, but not enough to cement itself to the pan.

When my family makes this cake, we use a standard-sized bundt pan and a demure drizzle of ganache over the top. The cake in the picture below was for a friend’s 30th birthday party, so I scaled up the recipe to fill my giant bundt pan and shellacked the entire surface with ganache. Honestly, do as you please–I’ve never seen someone turn up their nose at this cake.

chocolate-sour-cream-bundt-cake

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Hazelnut-Almond Cake with Brown Butter

I know I just wrote a lot of pretty words about cooking, and health, and fresh vegetables and herbs and spices.  But my birthday was on Friday, so that’s all on hold.  Today, I’m talking about cake.

First, let me make a confession.  I am not a great baker.  Only rarely can I summon up the patience to pull out the measuring cups.  I’m a freewheeler in the kitchen, working in pinches and splashes; scooping, fluffing, leveling and dumping a cup and two-thirds of flour is not my idea of fun.  But birthdays are different; I’ve had enough indifferent supermarket cakes in my life to overcome my disdain for precision in the kitchen.  And when I can find an interesting recipe, it actually becomes…fun.  There’s something satisfying about taking the traditional fluffy-buttercream layer cake and turning it on its head.  For my birthday, I want a sophisticated and memorable dessert, something that makes you linger just a little longer over that last lick of your fork.

And let me tell you, this year’s cake delivered.

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