Let’s say you don’t have much patience for scratch cake recipes that end up dry, or boring, or gummy. Let’s say you’re ringing in the New Year in the country, with a postcard-lovely but unfamiliar kitchen without a stand mixer. Let’s assume you’d rather be with your friends, enjoying a glass of wine by a roaring fire, than fussing over an elaborate dessert preparation in the kitchen. Let’s pretend, just for a minute, that your affection for chocolate is slavish and all-consuming. If, friends, you ever find yourself in a confluence of similar events, this to-die-for bundt cake from SF’s famed Bi-Rite Market is your answer.
The cake is mixed-by-hand simple, darkly chocolatey and wonderfully moist, so much so that you don’t even need to bother with the glaze (though it’s so glossy-pretty and sets up in such picturesque rivulets of chocolate that I’ll still recommend it). The first cake I made stayed moist for days after, and the second froze beautifully (wrap well, without glazing, and defrost on the counter). My husband declared it his New Favorite Cake, and considering the amount of effort required (not much) and its midnight chocolate, grab-a-glass-of-cold-milk flavor, I absolutely have to agree with him.
Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake
adapted from Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food by Sam Mogannam & Dabney Gough, 2011
- 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, cut into large cubes
- 1/3 C (1 oz) cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 C water
- 2 C (9 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 C granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 C sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
for the glaze:
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp light agave nectar or corn syrup
- 1/2 C heavy cream
- 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa powder, salt and water over medium heat; warm, stirring, until the butter melts and the mixture is combined. Meanwhile, grease a bundt pan (10 to 12 C capacity) with butter and dust with cocoa powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and baking soda. Add half the warm butter-cocoa mixture and whisk to combine (it will be very thick). Add the rest of the butter mixture and whisk. Add the eggs, whisking in one at a time. Add the sour cream and vanilla and fold into the mixture until smooth. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes; invert onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. (You can wrap well and freeze for a month after it’s fully cooled.)
To make the glaze, place the chopped chocolate and agave or corn syrup in a medium bowl and set aside. Warm the cream and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir the cream until the sugar is melted (try to avoid letting it boil). Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute or two; whisk until smooth. Use your whisk or a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the cake (if it’s very thin at first, let it cool for a minute or so).