Baked Sunday Mornings: Dad's Black Cocoa Bundt with Butter Whiskey Glaze

This week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe, Dad's Black Cocoa Bundt with Butter Whiskey Glaze, would seem to be pretty self-explanatory. I wasn't expecting anything special from this Bundt cake with glaze. I was wrong.

Although this recipe calls for a mix of black cocoa and regular cocoa powder, I used Valrhona Dutched cocoa powder only. I used to always bake with King Arthur Double Dutch Dark Cocoa, which is a mix of black and Dutch cocoas. But it was starting to get a little expensive, so last year I switched to Valrhona, which is roughly 25% cheaper if you buy it three kilos at a time (a completely reasonable quantity for someone who bakes as much as I do). The recipe headnote mentions that this cake is wonderful when made completely with a dark cocoa powder like Valrhona, so I wasn't too worried about not having black cocoa.

The first step in the recipe is to dissolve the cocoa powder and some instant espresso in a cup of hot coffee. Because my husband was out of town when I made this cake, I had to fake my way through brewing the coffee myself (a challenging task for a non-coffee drinker like me, especially because we don't own a coffee maker and I had to use a pour-over dripper).  I didn't measure or weigh the coffee but tried to approximate the amount of coffee my husband uses when he makes coffee -- which is to say that I think I brewed it pretty strong.

To make the batter, you mix together dark brown sugar, oil, and vanilla; add eggs and egg yolks; alternately add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda) and the coffee mixture; and fold in heavy cream that has been whipped to medium peaks. You pour the batter into a well-greased Bundt pan and bake.
When I poured the batter into the pan I was a little concerned because there seemed to be way too much. The batter came up within an inch of the top of the pan and I was worried that the cake might overflow. I set the cake on a foil-lined sheet pan before sliding it into the oven, just in case. The cake did rise about an inch above the rim of the pan during baking, but it rose straight up and didn't overflow the pan. This cake smelled incredible while it was in the oven. The intense chocolate fragrance in my kitchen was heavenly.

The recipe instructs you bake the cake for 50-55 minutes but I baked mine for an hour. Even though a skewer came out clean when I tested the cake, the cake seemed a little soft when I pressed down on the top with a finger. I wasn't 100% confident it was fully cooked but I decided to chance it.
I let the cake cool completely in the pan overnight. The cake deflated significantly and was about a half inch below the rim of the pan when I turned it out out of the pan. The chocolate aroma coming off the cake was still strong and intoxicating. The cake smelled so good and I was so looking forward to tasting it that I made a small change to the glaze recipe -- I decided to leave out the whiskey. I never drink alcohol and I have never developed a taste for it. While I'm not averse to using alcohol in my baking -- especially if it's in small amounts or will be cooked to burn off some of the alcohol -- I was afraid that having an uncooked glaze with three tablespoons of whiskey was going to ruin this cake for me.

So I made the glaze with melted butter, heavy cream, and powdered sugar. Instead of the whiskey, I added a dash of vanilla and a little more heavy cream to thin it out to a pouring consistency. The glaze set semi-firm relatively quickly and I added a few chocolate sprinkles to finish it off.

This cake was so freakin' good. I was totally unprepared for how extraordinary this chocolate cake would be. The cake had a very dense crumb but it was springy and so moist that it was borderline oily. Even though the cake was light, the flavor was intense and deeply chocolatey, with strong notes of coffee. The glaze was a very nice complement and offset some of the intensity. I'm not sure if I have ever tasted a better chocolate cake. My tasters loved this cake as well. It's so good it doesn't need the whiskey -- even as Dad's Cocoa Bundt with Butter Glaze, this cake makes a lasting impression!

Recipe: "Dad's Black Cocoa Bundt with Butter Whiskey Glaze" from Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.


Anonymous said…
I'm so glad this cake turned out so well for you! You were smart to leave it in the oven a little longer-- I took mine out too early and it REALLY deflated, and the interior was a little too fudgy. Still delicious, but you can't trust the toothpick test on this one! Your sliced cake looks so gorgeous-- I hope to re-bake this summer and get it to look just like that. :)
Louise said…
You were smart to leave out the whiskey from the glaze. I baked this cake a couple of days ago and used the mix of cocoas. The flavor and texture of the cake are terrific. The first day the whiskey almost overpowered the frosting, but it mellowed by the second day. I think I'd almost prefer the right chocolate glaze, instead of whiskey.