By appearance, it would seem that this bundt cake isn’t quite as Christmas-y as most holiday treats. There are no red or green splashes of colour nor intricate Christmas designs and shapes, but simply a rich, dark chocolate cake with an equally rich and dark glaze. The thing that adds a decidedly Christmas twist to this cake is the touch of peppermint extract I applied to the glaze. Small as that may be, I do think this is a good kick-off post for the series of holiday recipes I am excited to share!
I’ve been eyeing this recipe awhile mostly because of this photo. I just love how the glaze created this sort of shiny dark outer skin on the cake, hugging the surface of the cake like a blanket with a lovely sheen. The contrast of colours is stunning, and I could almost taste just how moist this cake is from the photo.
There are a slew of other Christmas recipes I could have picked, but I wanted to do this one before anything else because I was really excited to use my first ever bundt pan! I am just a bit overly infatuated with bundt pans right now. They are so pretty and they create these equally pretty cakes! I love how they turn boring old cakes and quick-breads into head-turners. I want to collect as many bundt pans in different shapes and sizes as possible.
My only frustration is that there aren’t that many choices locally, and the ones available are so ridiculously expensive I did not even think twice when I put them back on the shelf. The one I’ve got right now is a very basic bundt pan, but I guess I’ll have to wait to travel again before I can lay eyes on the more intricately shaped ones.
You can tell it’s my first time using a bundt pan because my cake has gaping holes on it, which means I didn’t tap out the air bubbles or smooth the cake on the pan enough to remove the spaces. How much tapping is one supposed to do anyway? I didn’t have any problems with unmolding though. My cake fell right off the pan when I flipped it over. If there’s one thing I’m extremely proud of in terms of my baking skills, it’s my pan-greasing-and-flouring ability. Haha! 😀
That aside, this is probably the most amazingly tender chocolate cake I have ever eaten. On the day it was made, it was so soft that cutting it into very thin slices would cause it to break apart. My slices were a bit messy, with crumbs falling everywhere. (Refrigerating the cake definitely helps solve this problem.) I imagine that’s good news for chocolate cake-lovers: more cake for you!
The cake itself tastes absolutely divine, especially if you use great quality cocoa powder. A bit of the glaze is poured while the cake sits inside the bundt pan, cooling. This really adds to the incredible moistness of the cake. Using my holiday-ed version of the glaze, there isn’t much of a peppermint hit at this point, only a slight cool feeling with every bite. The outer portion of the cake that is brushed with the glaze is the most minty; perfectly complemented by the deep flavour of chocolate.
I’ve been told before by some of my friends that eating mint chocolate is a bit like eating chocolate while brushing your teeth. And I always tell them, Fantastic! I’ll have your share then! Their loss, really. Why or how they could not enjoy this flavour combination is beyond me, but just in case you feel the same way, simply omit the peppermint extract and you’re good to go!
Just so you know:
- When is the best time to make this recipe? I’ve always thought chocolate cake requires no special occasion. The peppermint-less version is a dreamy one especially for chocoholics. The minty version would be good as a dessert for a holiday gathering. If you don’t like peppermint (or would prefer just a chocolatey flavour), omit it completely.
- Anything special we should know about before attempting this recipe? Make sure you grease and flour every single nook and cranny of your bundt pan before putting your batter in. If you don’t, it will be very difficult for you to unmold the cake, or even worse, parts of it are going to be stuck on the pan, and we don’t want that!
- Would I change anything from this recipe? I kind of already did by adding the peppermint extract into the original glaze recipe.
Chocolate Cake With Chocolate-Peppermint Glaze
For the Cake
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup almond meal, finely ground almonds
- 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups demerara sugar, or light brown sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
For the Cocoa-Peppermint syrup
- 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, according to preference *
Make the cake
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Generously butter and flour a 10-cup capacity Bundt pan.
- 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, cocoa, eggs and vanilla – mixture will be lumpy. Set aside.
- 3. In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the almond flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt on low speed for about 30 seconds. Add the butter-and-cocoa mixture and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.
- 4. Raise the speed to medium and beat for about 1 and 1/2 minutes. Scrape the side of the bowl then beat for another 30 seconds. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
- 5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Make the cocoa syrup
- 6. About 10 minutes before the cake finishes baking, in a small saucepan, whisk together the cocoa and sugar. Add a small amount of the boiling water, whisking until all of the mixture is moistened.
- 7. Add the remaining water, whisk, and then bring the mixture to a boil over low heat, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool for 5 minutes before using on the cake.
- 8. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, poke it all over with a wooden skewer then pour 1/3 of the cocoa syrup over the cake. Let the cake cool in the pan over a wire rack for 10-15 minutes.
- 9. Carefully invert the cake onto a plate and brush it with the remaining cocoa syrup. Cool completely before slicing and serving. **
** Remember to serve this in fairly thick slices. The cake is so tender it needs to be delicately handled when cut into thin slices. Most likely it'll end up breaking into half though, so better to just be generous. If you are really planning to serve this up in thin slices, make it ahead of time and refrigerate for a few hours. This helps harden the cake a bit for easier handling, but don't worry, it'll still be ever so moist! Adapted from Technicolour Kitchen
In case you were wondering about the colouring of the cakes, I took these photos in our garden and the sunlight turned the cake a lovely reddish hue. That’s often the case with cakes made with Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Well at least it contributes to its Christmas-y… ness. (What? I’m allowed to invent words during Christmas, aren’t I?) They remind me a little of canned jellied cranberry too. 😀