Nov 6, 2012

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Happy Election Day!  Did you go out and vote?  Good.  God Bless America.  Now it's time for cake.

I must say, bundt cakes have never been my fav.  For me, cake should be layered with loads of butter cream then slathered with it too.  In fact, if the ratio of butter cream to cake is 60% frosting 40% cake then we're cool.

And then comes the bundt.  So naked.  And what's with the hole?  Trying to look skinny or 'light'?  I don't think so.  My favorite bundt moment is from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you remember this one don't you...

However, this chocolate sour cream bundt cake meets and exceeds my standard of what a calorie-ridden diet disaster should be.  I think it has to do with the 1 1/2 cups of sour cream incorporated into the cake.  I mean how wrong can you go there?  Anything with that much sour cream HAS to be good (just a side note here, you can now find locally produced sour cream from the UAE, only 4.5dhs for 200 grams, score!  Previously I could only find the $$$ imported brands).  The addition of the sour cream provides a moist and tender texture that just sort of melts in your mouth.  If you've never tried a cake with sour cream you will be in for a pleasant surprise here. 
Another plus with this cake, you know I am always insisting to buy pricey, high quality chocolate (which you should!) however this recipe calls for semi-sweet which is not always easy to find with the high-end brands.  Instead I used Hershey's semi-sweet chocolate chips for the cake and the ganache... and it turned out like a dream!  A sour cream chocolate dream.  Wow.
This recipe is calculated for a 15-cup bundt pan.  Mine is only a 10-cup so I had a lot of batter left over and was actually able to make 2 cakes.  Not sure how many cups your bundt pan holds?  It's okay it doesn't matter, just fill your pan no more than 3/4 of the way full.  If you have batter left over, then you've probably got a 10 cupper too.  You can either refill the pan a second time if you've got enough or use the remaining batter for cupcakes if you wish.
And lastly...just what to do with that hole?  Well, flowers are always an idea.
Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake
make (1) 15-cup bundt cake
For the cake:
1 cup cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for dusting pan
7 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (plus 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips)
1 cup boiling water
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream

For the ganache:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

Have all the ingredients at room temperature (ugh I always forget to do this, but really it's quite important.  Click here for an excellent lesson from Fine Cooking on the topic of baking science and temperature).

Grease your bundt pan with butter or shortening.  I use a sandwich baggie as a glove to grease all the nooks and crannies. 

Dust with cocoa powder; tap out the excess.  This is a big f'ing pain and makes a mess.  Be patient.  Also VERY IMPORTANT!  Don't use your fancy-shamcy expensive cocoa for this part, it's not worth it.  I used regular ole' Hershey's to dust (nothin' wrong with Hershey's, just saying don't use the scharffen berger that costs an arm and a that for the inside of the cake, not the outside).


To prepare the cake, in a medium bowl, sift 1 cup cocoa powder and add the first 7-1/2 ounces of chocolate chips.  Add the boiling water and whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth and blended. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. 
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 30 to 45 seconds. Reduce the speed to low, add the brown sugar and beat until blended.

Increase the speed to medium and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating until incorporated before adding more and stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour, beating just until blended and no lumps of flour remain.


Slowly pour in the chocolate-cocoa mixture and beat until no white streaks are visible, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading the batter so the sides are about 1 inch higher than the center.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached to it, 60 to 65 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for 15 minutes.

Invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Let the cake cool completely, at least 1 hour.

Return the cooled cake to the pan. Using a serrated knife, gently saw off any excess cake that extends over the edge of the pan. Transfer your cake to its serving platter.  I lined the sides of the platter with pieces of waxed paper.  This keeps your platter clean when adding the ganache. 

To prepare the ganache, combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl.  In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream just to a boil. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and butter.

Combine slowly with a spoon until the mixture melts and is smooth.  You can whisk if you prefer, just do so slowly.  Whisking can add air bubbles to the ganache.

If you do ever have air bubbles in your ganache and need a quick fix, pour the mixture through a fine sieve to release the bubbles.  Works like a charm.

Allow the ganache to cool slightly and pour over the top of the cake, allowing to drip down the sides. Let the cake stand until the ganache is set, at least 15 minutes. 

Recipe courtesy Williams-Sonoma via Lick the Bowl Good

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