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Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake (Cook's Illustrated 2004) by Michael - tips by Joe

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Joined: Dec 11, 2005


Posted to Thread #12 at 5:40 pm on Dec 18, 2005

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Amount Measure Ingredient --
Preparation Method
-------- ------------
1 Tablespoon butter -- melted
1 Tablespoon cocoa
3/4 Cup natural cocoa --
(2-1/4 ounces)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
-- chopped
1 teaspoon instant espresso
powder (optional)
3/4 Cup boiling water
1 Cup sour cream -- room
1 3/4 Cups unbleached all- --
(8-3/4 ounces)
purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
12 Tablespoons unsalted -- (1-1/2
butter -- room
2 Cups packed light brown
sugar -- (14 ounces)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs -- room temperature
Confectioners' sugar
for dusting
1 Cup cold heavy cream
1/4 Cup sour cream
1/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Cups fresh raspberries --
gently rinsed and dried
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar --
(1 to 2)

FOR THE PAN: Stir together butter and cocoa
in small bowl until paste forms; using a
pastry brush, coat all interior surfaces of a
standard 12-cup Bundt pan. (If mixture
becomes too thick to brush on, microwave it
for 10 to 20 seconds, or until warm and
softened.) Adjust oven rack to lower-middle
position; heat oven to 350 degrees.

FOR THE CAKE: Combine cocoa, chocolate, and
espresso powder (if using) in medium
heatproof bowl; pour boiling water over and
whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature;
then whisk in sour cream. Whisk flour, salt,
and baking soda in second bowl to combine.

In standing mixer fitted with flat beater,
beat butter, sugar, and vanilla on
medium-high speed until pale and fluffy,
about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and
add eggs one at a time, mixing about 30
seconds after each addition and scraping down
bowl with rubber spatula after first 2
additions. Reduce to medium-low speed (batter
may appear separated); add about one-third of
flour mixture and half of chocolate/sour
cream mixture and mix until just
incorporated, about 10 seconds. Scrape bowl
and mix on medium-low until batter is
thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Pour
batter into prepared Bundt pan, being careful
not to pour batter on sides of pan. Bake
until wooden skewer inserted into center
comes out with few crumbs attached, 45 to 50
minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert
cake onto parchment-lined wire rack; cool to
room temperature, about 3 hours. Dust with
confectioners' sugar, transfer to serving
platter, and cut into wedges; serve with
Tangy Whipped Cream and raspberries, if desired.

Whipped Cream:
With electric mixer, beat all ingredients,
gradually increasing speed from low to high,
until cream forms soft peaks, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes.

Gently toss raspberries with sugar, then let
stand until berries have released some juice
and sugar has dissolved, about 15 minutes.

""Natural (or regular) cocoa gives the cake
a fuller, more assertive chocolate flavor
than does Dutch-processed cocoa. In addition,
Dutch-processed cocoa will result in a
compromised rise. The cake can be served with
just a dusting of confectioners' sugar
but is easily made more impressive with
Tangy Whipped Cream and Lightly Sweetened
Raspberries (recipes follow). The cake can be
made a day in advance; wrap the cooled cake
in plastic and store it at room temperature.
Dust with confectioners' sugar just
before serving.""
"Cook's Illustrated, Jan/Feb 2004, Erika Bruce"
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NOTES : This is a rather plain Bundt bake; no
nuts, no chips, no fruit, just cake. But it
is one of the best-textured and most
chocolatey cakes I've ever tasted, MILES
better than the usual chocolate cake (which,
if you close your eyes, you'd have a hard
time identifying as chocolate-flavored!). One
of the unusual aspects of the recipe is the
use of boiling water with the cocoa, which,
as the author points out in her notes prior
to giving the recipe, "not only disperses the
cocoa throughout the batter, but also blooms
the flavor." Whatever the chemistry is, it
sure seems to work.

The recipe also calls for an unusual
"release" coating to be brushed inside the
Bundt pan before baking (even if the pan's
nonstick). If you have a very fancy Bundt pan
with a lot of crevices, you may need to make
extra of this coating. The cake released
beautifully. I ended up baking the cake for
slightly longer (about 5 minutes) than the
recipe called for before the cake tested
clean, but your mileage may vary.

The author highly recommends natural, not
Dutched, cocoa. Hershey's cocoa (the regular,
not the European style) is natural, and I
used it with great results. A Dutched cocoa,
like Droste's, will usually say, "processed
with alkali" or something like that on the
ingredients list.

Note that the recipe is designed for a 12-cup
Bundt pan. I only point that out because so
many of the newer, more decorative Bundt pans
are 10-cup, so if you're using a 10-cup Bundt
pan, you'll want to remove a cup or two of
batter before pouring the batter into the pan
(if you have some mini-bundt pans or
mini-loaf pans, you could probably bake the
leftover in those).

Lastly, the cake seems to keep marvelously at
room temperature for several days, if wrapped
or kept under a cake dome.

Additional tips by Meryl:

Joe, don't forget to save us a few slices! BTW, if you have any leftovers, the slices freeze beautifully, unlike >>>>
certain other cakes, which sometimes lose
quality after freezing.

Another note: I highly recommend using the
instant espresso, even though it's listed as
optional. As a matter of fact, I used 3x
more espresso than indicated, ie, 1 Tbsp
instead of the optional 1 tsp.

And yet another note: Instead of using a
bundt pan, I defied the "rules" and baked it
in a 10 x 2 1/2 inch springform pan, (which
I later found out is actually 9 3/4 x 2
1/2), buttered and dusted with cocoa powder,
about 1 hour, or until a toothpick came out
with a few moist crumbs attached.

Enjoy the cake!

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

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