Last night Katy and I went to the Metropolitan Opera to see Carmen. It was a beautiful production. Sex, intrigue, betrayal, it's all alive at the Met. So much better than Television. As we left the theater the snow had begun to fall. Just a dusting and then it stopped. A bust we thought, the storm will miss New York again. When we awoke this morning, the snow was falling, covering everything, turning our neighborhood into a fairy land.
A day off, no school, work or other responsibilities. With the sound track from Carmen playing in the kitchen I decided to bake a tribute to my favorite Opera, the snow storm and of course Valentine's Day.
Baked in the Heritage Cake Pan, it came out beautiful, rich and decadent. Surrounded by roses, it looked too good to eat. But we got over that, and cut right into it.
It was the best cake I've ever made. Let me just say, this recipe is a keeper!
The original recipe came from Cooks Illustrated. It made about 1 cup more batter than was needed. I used that for mini cupcakes which were eaten before they even had a chance to cool.
Cooks suggest you blend, melted butter and cocoa and brush the mixture on the cake pan to avoid the uneven finish a bundt cake usually has. I had a "Why didn't I think about that moment" when I read it. Absolutely brilliant, it works!
Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake
adapted from cooksillustrated.com
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon cocoa
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutched
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon Via, bold coffee powder
3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups, packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs at room temperature
confectioner's sugar for dusting
Stir together the cocoa and melted butter in a small bowl until a paste forms. Using a pastry brush, coat the surface of a 12 cup bundt pan. If the mixture becomes too thick you can microwave until warm, about 10 seconds.
Adjust the oven rack to a lower middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the cocoa, coffee powder and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl; pour boiling water over and whisk until blended. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then whisk in the sour cream.
Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda in a second bowl.
In a standing mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla on medium high speed until pale and fluffy, abut 3 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Reduce the speed to medium low, batter may appear separated, add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/2 the chocolate sour cream mixture and mix until just incorporated.
Scrape down the bowl and repeat using 1/2 the remaining flour and all of the remaining chocolate mixture, beat to incorporate about 30 seconds. Add the remaining flour and chocolate mixture. Beat 30 seconds to develop the cake's structure.
Spoon the batter into the bottom of the pan, bang it on the counter to remove the air bubbles. Then fill the rest of the pan about 3/4 full. If you use a 12 cup pan, there will not be any batter left. If you use the heritage pan you will have about a cup left.
Bake until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out with just a few cooked crumbs on it about 45 to 50 minutes.
Dust with confectioner's sugar.
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