chocolate fudge bundt cake

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i remember my first bake implement purchase. like all first-things, it was special. it was at a time i knew little of baking or baking implements. when i could not tell what a springform or pushpan meant, when i could not be bothered about bake pan dimensions. and so i happened to pick a bundt pan. it looked fancy, i had no idea what would follow. i remember bringing it home and now that i had one, being motivated to bake. i picked a simple vanilla and chocolate marble cake recipe. i did not line the tin almost assuming my cake to slide off its nonstick slick surface when finished. i remember struggling to get the hot cake off in one piece, which to no surprise came off in pieces of assorted shape and size, with the bottom, burnt and stuck to the pan. i remember thinking what an oddly shaped cake the pan made, not knowing it was an upside down pan. and the rest is history.

so treasured as it were, the bundt pan found its place at the back of my store cupboard not wanting to make an appearance for long. until many years today when i felt nostalgic wanting to bake a bundt cake, this time for real, with having gained the necessary expertise a home baker ought to. and so, it happened. i chose a chocolate fudge bundt cake recipe from king arthur flour. the cake baked beautifully and came out marvelously in one piece. if it helps to know, i prepared the pan with a coating of vegetable oil followed by a dusting of cocoa powder.

coming to the cake now, this seemingly simple recipe makes for a surprisingly sophisticated cake with its dome shape and a ganache for its crown. i did not make the ganache though, i thought the cake was good even without it. this cake is incredibly moist and fudgey from the yogurt and tastes even better on the second day, that’s if it lasts that long. it keeps well too in an airtight container. it has just the right amount of chocolate to it though i now think that the ganache may have just accentuated the flavor a bit more.

i’m looking forward to putting my bundt pan on centre stage now on. it made for a good purchase after all.

ingredients

  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 1 cup / 225g unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, dutch-processed cocoa preferred
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt (regular or Greek), full-fat preferred

instructions

  1. preheat the oven to 350°F / 180degC
  2. to make the cake: place the coffee, butter, and cocoa in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. heat, stirring, until the butter melts. remove from the heat, and whisk until smooth. let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
  3. while the chocolate is cooling, put the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking to combine.
  4. pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix until thoroughly combined. scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix again to incorporate any residue.
  5. in a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, eggs, and sour cream or yogurt. mix into the chocolate batter, stirring until thoroughly combined.
  6. thoroughly grease a 10- to 12-cup bundt pan, preferably non-stick. pour the batter into the prepared pan. bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a long toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Note: a pan with a dark interior will bake the cake more quickly; start checking at about 40 minutes.
  7. remove the cake from the oven, wait 5 minutes, and turn the pan over onto a cooling rack. after 5 more minutes, lift the pan off the cake. let the cake cool completely before icing.
  8. to make the icing: combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over medium heat. heat until the cream starts to bubble around the edges.
  9. remove from the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. spoon the icing over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.
  10. store any leftover cake at room temperature, well wrapped, for several days. freeze for longer storage.
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2016 holiday baking

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how did it get so late so soon?
it’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June.
my goodness how the time has flewn.
how did it get so late so soon?

– Dr. Seuss

is it any wonder i ask myself every december how it has come to be december already from all the times the earth had revolved around the sun and it had started to get dark and yet i wasn’t one gibbous moon closer to a yearly goal or that i hadn’t set myself any. this december wasn’t any different. except i made time to do some holiday baking, the beneficiaries of which happened to be my colleagues at work. this is what i managed to put together.

chocolate brownies from the famed ‘baked’ bakery brownie recipe

ingredients

  • 155 grams all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 310 grams dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 230 grams) butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (or 1.5 teaspoons instant coffee granules)
  • 1½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (100 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

instructions

  1. preheat the oven to 180C. line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. in a medium bowl, whisk the flour and cocoa powder together.
  3. put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. the mixture should come to room temperature.
  4. add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. add the remaining 2 eggs and whisk just until combined. add the vanilla extract and stir until combined. don’t overmix at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
  5. add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and fold until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
  6. pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. cut into squares and serve.

this is my definitive brownie recipe i swear by and one that has satisfied many a happy mouths. make sure you use the finest dark chocolate around because that is what lends its taste to the final product. and use 50-60% minimum dark chocolate for best results.

nutella and walnut fudge from olive magazine

ingredients

  • 240 g salted butter
  • 250 g condensed milk
  • 300 g nutella
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300 g icing sugar
  • walnuts

instructions

add the salted butter and condensed milk to a pan and stir on low heat until the butter has melted and blended. remove pan from heat and add in the nutella and vanilla extract. pour this mix over a bowl of icing sugar and mix well. pour the mix into an 8×8 tin lined with baking parchment and sprinkle a handful of crushed walnuts over.refrigerate for upto 4-6 hours. cut into squares and place in an airtight container. these remain refrigerated for upto a week or longer. if they’re kept at room temperature they may not hold their shape depending on your climatic conditions.

ginger-nut biscuit fudge adapted from here


ingredients

  • 200 g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 100 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 100 g butter, diced
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 x 400 g tin condensed milk
  • 250 g mc vities ginger nut biscuits, each biscuit broken into thirds
  • line a loaf tin with cling film and set aside

instructions

set a heatproof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. add in the chocolate and butter and allow to melt, stirring now and then until it’s smooth. remove the bowl from the heat and mix in the espresso powder, then pour in the condensed milk, stirring well to combine. add in the biscuits and stir until they’re evenly distributed in the chocolate. pour the chocolate biscuit mixture into the lined loaf tin, pressing it down evenly and firmly with a spatula. smooth the top with the spatula, then place in the fridge for about 3 hours, or overnight, until set. cut into thin slices or small cubes (it’s very rich) to serve. wrapped tightly in clingfilm, this will keep for a couple weeks in the fridge.

Christmas fruitcake from goodhousekeeping



ingredients

  • 500g or more mixed dried fruit such as apricots/prunes/figs/black currants/dates
  • 100ml brandy/cointreau/rum
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 175g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 175g dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 125g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp mixed spice powder

instructions

1. put the fruit, orange zest, and juice, cointreau and vanilla into a large non-metallic bowl. stir, then cover with cling film and leave to soak for at least 24hr or for up to 2 days.

2. put the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat with a handheld electric whisk for 2-3min until light and creamy. gradually whisk in the beaten eggs, adding a little of the flour if the mixture starts to curdle. fold in the remaining flour, cinnamon, cloves and mixed spice.

3. tip the soaked fruit mixture into the bowl and stir well, then spoon into a greased and lined deep round cake tin and level the surface (there’s no need to make a dip in the mixture).

4. bake at 150°C mark 2 for 1hr 40min or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. leave to cool completely in the tin, then remove from tin (keep in its parchment paper) and wrap in a double thickness of foil. store in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months.

5. if you want to feed your cake in the run-up to Christmas, after it has been left wrapped for 2 weeks, prick the top of the cake all over with a skewer and sprinkle over 1tbsp brandy or cointreau. rewrap and store as before. feed every few weeks for a more intense flavour.