High Country Baking: Make a moist and tender chocolate Bundt cake
Special to the Daily
High elevation makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips that make baking in the mountains successful.
Looking for a little effort-big payoff dessert? Here’s a moist and tender chocolate Bundt and it’s so simple to prepare that I feel like I’m getting away with something every time I serve it.
To increase its richness and chocolate taste, top it with chocolate glaze and a crown of piped whipped cream, like the one in the photo. For a lighter version, serve it with raspberry sauce and a scatter of fresh berries. If you’re in a hurry, add a shower of powdered sugar instead of a glaze; a scoop of coffee or vanilla ice cream; and commercial chocolate or caramel sauce.
This beauty is actually at its best one to two days after baking, so make it ahead if you can.
One-Bowl Chocolate Bundt Cake
Adjusted for elevation of 7,800 feet and higher
Make in a non-stick 6-cup Bundt pan
¾ cup superfine granulated sugar, preferably Baker’s
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour, spoon and level
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons strong brewed coffee, room temperature
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
Chocolate Glaze, optional
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup, optional
3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Whipped Cream Topping, optional
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, cold
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees, with a rack in the center position. Generously grease your pan (even though it’s non-stick) with a baking spray that contains flour. Don’t grease with butter or the cake may stick.
2. Add all of the dry ingredients (sugar through salt) to a mixing bowl and, at your mixer’s lowest speed, stir until completely combined. Add the egg, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and beat at medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Be sure to beat the batter the full amount of time. Give it a few stirs with a silicone spatula, going all the way to the bottom of the bowl, to make sure it’s smooth and fully blended. If needed, beat another 30 seconds.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling it two-thirds of the way to the top, and tap it on a counter several times to remove any air bubbles. Place the pan directly on the oven rack and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake just starts to pull away from the pan sides, 35-40 minutes. Like many Bundt cakes, this one may rise higher in the middle as it bakes, creating a ridge; no worries, it won’t be visible when the cake is inverted.
4. Cool the pan on a rack for 10-12 minutes, take it off the rack and grease the rack with baking spray (so the cake won’t stick to it), invert the pan onto the greased rack, let the cake slip out and cool it completely. At this point the cake can be covered airtight and stored in the fridge for a day or frozen for a month.
5. Optional chocolate glaze: Combine the cream and corn syrup (this adds shine to the glaze) in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until very hot, almost boiling. This can also be done in a saucepan on the stovetop. Remove from the heat, add the chopped chocolate, submerging it completely in the hot liquid, cover and set aside for several minutes while the chocolate melts. Stir until smooth and shiny and cool until it thickens but is still pourable. Drizzle decoratively over the cool cake and let the glaze set.
6. Optional whipped cream topping: 1 to 2 hours before serving, place a metal or glass bowl and the beaters for your mixer in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Pour the cold cream into the chilled bowl and beat with the cold beaters to soft peaks, add the sugar and vanilla and beat to stiff peaks. Pipe (with a closed star tip) a ring of rosettes on top of the set chocolate glaze. Refrigerate until serving. Serve at room temperature.
The cake recipe is a variation of one published by Taste Of Home.
Vera Dawson’s column “High Country Baking” publishes biweekly on Thursdays in the Summit Daily News. Dawson is a high-elevation baking instructor and author of three high-altitude cookbooks. Her recipes have been tested in her kitchen in Frisco, where she’s lived since 1991, and altered until they work at elevation. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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