Baked Sunday Mornings: Black Cocoa Bundt Cake with Butter Whiskey Glaze

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While I don’t have a lot of warm, fuzzy Dad memories, I need absolutely zero excuses to make an ultra-chocolaty cake, particularly one with black cocoa in it. It’s a day that ends in “-day”? Sounds like a GREAT reason to make cake! I got out of bed today? Let me just grab the flour. This week for Baked Sunday Mornings, we’re making this luscious Black Cocoa Bundt Cake with Butter Whiskey Glaze from Baked Occasions to celebrate Father’s Day because its smoky undertones are reminiscent of the backyard barbecues that many of us grew up with.

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What’s so special about black cocoa? I’m so glad you asked. This is not the first time I’ve raved about this magical cocoa delight; in fact, my very first ever blog post for Stellina Sweets was all about black cocoa, and I recently wrote about the wonders of Ovenly’s Brooklyn Blackout Cake, and well, I just can’t get enough. AND I’M TOTALLY OKAY WITH THAT. Black cocoa powder is over-roasted to yield the deep, distinct flavor that is characteristic of Oreo cookies, as well as its signature almost-black color. Regular cocoa powder, even the darkest varieties like Valrhona, cannot produce the same flavor or color, and thus baked goods that contain black cocoa are unique. Typically recipes contain a combination of black and regular cocoa powders, rather than all black cocoa. I highly recommend getting acquainted with it if you’ve never used it before. I swear by Guittard and King Arthur Flour makes a good one as well.

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First of all, make sure to completely cover the interior of the pan with cocoa powder to reduce/prevent sticking, just like the Ultra-Lemony Lemon Bundt that needed a healthy coat of flour, which we made a few weeks back. The batter came together fairly easily, and you don’t need a stand mixer for this one.

You’ll first combine the black and regular cocoa powders and espresso powder in a bowl and whisk in hot coffee. Whisk together the rest of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) in a separate bowl.

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In a very large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, canola oil, and vanilla extract until well combined– make sure the oil is completely mixed in. Add the eggs and egg yolks all at once and whisk, then add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the cocoa mixture.

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Then comes the most interesting step: folding in whipped cream. I’ve folded egg whites into many a cake, but not cream. I probably over-whipped it a bit, but there didn’t seem to be any ill effect. The cake batter was of a medium-thick consistency and tasted strongly of coffee.

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Right after I put the cake in the oven (naturally), I noticed that the recipe calls for a *12-cup* Bundt pan, not the standard 10-cup pan, which is what I have. I’m pretty sure I’ve never even seen a 12-cup Bundt. Anyway, I was worried that it would hop the edge of the pan, so I kept a close eye on it. It did rise above the rim, but not on the edges, so there wasn’t any danger of chocolate lava all over my oven.

The recommended baking time is 50-55 minutes, and usually my BAKED cakes err on the minimum side; my testing toothpick came out clean at 51 minutes, and I certainly didn’t want to dry this cake out, so I pulled it… but it turned out to be a bit underbaked.

It was puffed up so high at first, and then I turned my back on it for a couple of minutes to wash some dishes, and I was stunned to see that it had dropped about 2 inches! I didn’t think to snap a photo as it came out of the oven. It kept sinking lower in the pan (about half its original height) as it cooled, and also shrunk inward– I thought it was a goner for sure. It started to crack a bit on top, so I flipped it out of the pan while it was still a little warm. It unmolded fine, except a few tiny chunks on top, which would easily be covered by glaze later.

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The Bundt was very small and compact after shrinking, but very cute! It was a beautifully dark color but had a slightly oily exterior– I was worried that it would be greasy, but much of it got absorbed as it cooled, and by the morning, the greasiness had mostly dissipated. I had no idea what to expect on the inside: fudgy amazingness or a collapsed greasy hunk? The toothpick test is deceiving here because it WAS clean when I tested the cake for doneness, but it was more like fudge on the inside than cake. Not that this is terrible or anything, but it could have used another 3-5 minutes. This would probably have prevented the shrinkage issue, at least to some degree. The cake was very heavy and felt super fragile– it was difficult to move from the cooling rack onto the platter without breaking it.

Once the cake is cool, you’ll make a simple butter-whiskey glaze, which is the perfect accompaniment. I always use Jameson in whiskey recipes because I’ve been instructed by Irish Husband that that is the correct whiskey. In general. 🙂 You’ll first melt the butter (I daresay browning it would be even better), then whisk in the heavy cream. Add the confectioners’ sugar in 3 parts– mine was very thick and difficult to stir, so I alternated additions of the whiskey in-between instead of stirring in the whiskey at the end. The glaze was thick, bright white, and very “ropey” as described in the book. I definitely did not need the extra ½ cup confectioners’ sugar.

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Finally, let’s talk about SPRINKLES. You don’t have to add sprinkles, but honestly, why would one not use sprinkles when they are suggested?? I used Guittard chocolate “vermicelli”, though you can certainly use any sprinkles that your heart desires.

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As you can see down at the bottom, the cake is very fudgy-looking, which again is not a bad thing per se, but I would have liked it to be a bit drier and fluffier. It was chocolaty, smoky, buttery, and all the good things you want in a dark chocolate Bundt, plus that unique black cocoa flavor. I plan to re-bake it, but I couldn’t do it before posting this because I’m in New York at the moment!

Yes, that’s right– I finally got to visit BAKED Tribeca! Since I was part of the recipe testing group for Baked Occasions, I was fortunate to attend the book release party in October, so I saw the unfinished space at that time, but I hadn’t yet seen the bakery in operation. The space is gorgeous, though very different than its Red Hook counterpart, which feels more like a homey mountain cabin ( …in Brooklyn). The Tribeca shop feels more contemporary and a little flashier, and it pays homage to its past as a burlesque club with its giant ‘B’ in red lights and a “cake pole”– yes, a stripper pole that displays cakes. And it’s awesome. It was lovely to see Matt, Renato, and Jordan, and I even got to sample a brand-new and still-experimental creation called the Beer Bar! It consists of a brownie base topped with peanut-caramel, both of which are infused with just the right amount of stout. DEAR GOD.

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Among the many highlights of my *2* visits in 3 days are the following, clockwise from the top-left: Happy girl out front; a plethora of bar treats in the case, including that gorgeous S’mores Tart (that I wish I’d gotten, but couldn’t travel with); PB Krispy Bars; Chocolate-Vanilla Birthday Cake (because it would be unthinkable to leave BAKED without cake); focaccia, amazing as always; the fabulous Cake Pole; delicious avocado toast for breakfast; and beautiful morning treats. *sigh*

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If you’re in Manhattan, do yourself a favor and make to sure to visit BAKED Tribeca! Incidentally, I asked Matt and Renato if my Bundt cake was supposed to sink and shrink, and they said… uhhh, no.

This is a pretty badass cake that I recommend for most any occasion that would benefit from chocolate cake… which is basically every occasion. You can find the recipe for Black Cocoa Bundt Cake with Butter Whiskey Glaze at Baked Sunday Mornings, and take a peek at my fellow bakers’ beautiful Bundts! 🙂

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© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2015.

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13 Responses

  1. Your cake looks great! Mine didn’t rise and fall like yours but yours looks nice & fudgy. You always have the most fun & delicious trips! Thanks for taking us with you. xoxo

  2. Ohhh! I do miss BAKED Tribeca! I’ve been there in November and not sure when will my next visit to the U.S. be.

    I couldn’t notice any shrinking effects on your final glazed cake – it looks moist and delicious to me.

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