Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday party: Bourbon Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake

   I recently went to a good friend's home for a Holiday party and brought along with me a bundt cake that has become my favorite.  I've made many bundt cakes now but this cake really shined and may have aided in gaining me new friends!  

   I often clip recipes that look interesting to me from the New York Times as well as from various food magazines. Now I've got blogs to bookmark online too! So many recipes and so little time. I like recipes that look easy to do and sounds like the food will be tasty, but I also like challenging recipes for the days when I want to learn new skills.

   One of the recipes I clipped from several years ago that I've been wanting to try is Melissa Clark's Whiskey-soaked dark chocolate bundt cake. I am glad this month's bundt-a-month theme is Boozy December because this recipe is perfect for that! To learn more about bundt-a-month, see and Cake Duchess.  Back to my bundt, Melissa Clark writes good recipes - easy to follow, interesting flavor profiles and delicious results. This particular recipe always sounded intriguing to me. If you've followed my blog, you know that chocolate is one of my favorite foods.  But more than the fact that I love chocolate, chocolate goods are one of those items that almost always bring a smile to a gift recipient. I know that not everyone loves chocolate or cocoa. (Gasp!) But I have found that to most people, chocolate represents a kind of luxury. So for me, my various chocolate baked goods have been welcomed gifts to friends and colleagues.

   When I was thinking about what to bring to my friend's party, I thought I can't go wrong with chocolate.  Problem was other than my friend, her husband and children, I don't know the others at her party. I decided to take a gamble and go with Melissa's Whiskey-soaked dark chocolate cake. Wow, was I glad I did! The recipe sounded luxurious and simple enough to do, even after work one night. I was tired but determined to get a cake baked for my friend's party.  As I was mixing the bourbon with the cocoa and espresso powders, I was struck by just how much whiskey this recipe called for! I've read other similar recipes, like one for Kentucky Bourbon cake, but all called for half the amount of alcohol.  I mean, just look at that deep dark color of the sauce.  I could smell the bourbon from afar! 

I started to get worried because my friend really doesn't drink and I wasn't sure if her friends drank.  I may not get invited back for another party...

   I need not have worried because everyone at her party Loved the cake!   It was a cold windy day with some snow flakes floating in the air. I carried that cake and gifts through NJ Transit train then the NYC subway to my friend's home. Once there, my friend had lots of yummy savory items for us to enjoy.  She made delicious chicken wings and pernil.  Other friends had brought along little cupcakes and cookies for all the kids to enjoy.  We laughed and we ate.  We had coffee, talked, laughed and ate more. My new friends all generously told me how they loved the cake.  And I did too.
  I followed Melissa's recipe pretty closely (full recipe by clicking here). I used Valhrona cocoa powder and King Arthur Flour's espresso powder because that's what I had left from my other chocolate baked adventures. My cake was done in less than an hour so make sure you start checking your cake after around 50 minutes. I've read a lot of people say how hard it is to get the cake to come out of the bundt pan in one piece and I used to have the same problem.  My best solution has been the oil spray with flour.  Baker's Joy has it and so does Spectrum oil.  I've found it at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, and of course, at baking supply shops. The oil spray works like wonder for the bundt pan. Just spray all over the pan. If you have just oil spray, not one with flour, you can then dust your pan with flour, or in this case, cocoa powder after thoroughly spraying pan with oil.  Just tip pan around and turn it over to dump out extra powder. Also I used honey bourbon so I called my cake Bourbon Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake. 

   Whatever you called this cake, it is moist on the inside but the crust has a little crunch. It's not too sweet and it has a clear mocha taste.  Personally, I like cakes that are not too sweet so I actually went back for more slices. Just a fair warning, you can also taste the bourbon.  I don't think the alcohol is overwhelming, it adds to the depth of flavor. But this cake is not your usual store-bought chocolate cake, which I find is more sugar-sweet than anything else. This cake beautifully blends the alcohol and espresso with the chocolate into a decadent treat that you want to go back for again and again. Thanks Melissa for such a great recipe.  

   We ate so much of it that I do not have an extra slice to show you! 

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