Before I go all soft, light and Springy here, I thought I'd turn my attentions and yours, to this lovely, decadently moist Bundt cake I
devoured baked recently. This dark luscious cake originally came to me in the form of a whiskey cake, but given my love of bourbon and it's many uses in the kitchen I felt I needed to up the ante a bit and change things around.
Bourbon features prominently in the batter portion of the recipe and once baked, leaves behind it's trademark complexity of flavors, but really I felt that the cake needed a bit more. Just a tiny bit more. So after cooling and before icing with ganache, I decided to make this a poke cake.
Poke cakes are some of my favorite and most dense Bundt type cakes can easily benefit from the treatment. For the uninitiated, a poke cake is one that has been "poked" with small holes and doused with some lovely flavorful liquid. The liquid not need be alcoholic either. Flavored simple syrups work equally well, or even confectioners sugar dissolved in lime or lemon juice can add that extra hit of flavor and moisture. Only one word of caution though, too much of any additional liquid can compromise the structure of any cake so be judicious when basting.
In my way of thinking bourbon really does make everything better (in moderation of course) so that was where I went. However, stay away from liqueurs with cream in them. I think it would change the dynamic of the recipe significantly and you might have a mess on your hands. But you could easily go another direction, add coconut rum with toasted coconut sprinkled on top, or amaretto or hazlenut liqueurs. Oh my goodness how good would that be?
Chocolate Bourbon Berry Cake
1 C. Unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 C. Strong Brewed Coffee
1/2 C. Bourbon or alcohol of your choice
1 C. (2 sticks of 1/2 lb) Unsalted Butter
2 C. Sugar
2 C. All Purpose Flour
1 1/ 4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Large eggs
1 T. vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 10" Bundt pan, then using an additional 1-2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder, dust the inside of the pan liberally. Rotating and shaking to coat all of it with the cocoa. Tap the pan on the side of the sink to remove the excess. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, place the cocoa, coffee, butter and alcohol of your choice over low heat until warm and the butter is melted. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Set aside and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes or so.
Pour the slightly cooled mixture into the bowl of a mixer and affix a paddle attachment. In a smaller bowl, sift the flour, soda and the salt and set aside. Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl and add to the chocolate mixture while the attachment is running. Slowly add the egg mixture to prevent any scrambling. Add the vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients in additions, allowing each addition to fully incorporate before adding the next.
The batter will be very thin and bubbly. There may even be some small lumps. Do not worry about those.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan for 2 hours at least. Do not be tempted to remove it sooner. Once cooled upend the pan onto a plate or cake stand and using a toothpick poke with small holes. Brush 2-4 T. of bourbon on cake allowing it to soak in.
For the ganache:
5 oz. Dark chocolate chopped in chunks
2/3 C. Heavy Whipping cream
In a heatproof bowl, placed over a small pan of simmering water, place the whipping cream and stir until hot. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, allowing it to sit for 15 minutes or so. Stir to combine and make sure all the of chocolate has melted. If the mixture is too thin, allow it to cool for an additional few minutes and it reaches the right pouring texture. You want it to be thick, but unctuous.
Pour over the cake and decorate with berries or your choice of topping.
Serve immediately or not depending on your inclination. This cake will improve with age.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.