There has been a slight chill in the air the past week – just the faintest whisperings of September – so naturally I found myself in the kitchen baking bundt cakes. I used to make an Espresso Bundt Cake back in my bakery days, but I found the recipe slightly lacking and dry when remaking it in my home kitchen. I decided to revamp my Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake, and was very happy with the results. This cake is buttery and rich, with coffee flavor from both ground and brewed espresso, and, of course, one can never go wrong with chocolate glazed anything.
A few things
*I’ve been reading up a storm the last few weeks, trying to get all my summer books in. I just finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple and Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Before that it was Leave it to Psmith by Wodehouse (which just might be my favorite Blandings Castle Wodehouse) and I just started The Women’s War by Dumas.
*I got to see Over The Rhine perform last week, which was (and always is) amazing. They played a lot of songs from their new album, but also some favorite classics. The highlight of the evening was Karin singing Given Road – a song to her mother, who just passed away. She held us all spellbound as she sang of life and death and the thin veil that separates us from those who have traveled on. Leigh Nash opened for them, and I was a die-hard Sixpence None the Richer fan back in their Beautiful Mess days, so it was lovely to hear her again (it had been 23 years since I last heard her perform!). Anyway, I highly recommend checking both of them out if you haven’t.
*My brother-in-law just opened a store at the Mall of America: Heritage Estate Co. They have a unique (and gorgeous) collection of jewelry, so please stop by and check them out if you are out mall walking in that part of town. They were previously opened in Southdale Mall for a year.
*Interesting read from the Smithsonian about the Moon landing. (Also, I recently downloaded the SkySafari app on my iphone and LOVE it. You can hold your phone up to the sky and it will tell you the names of all the stars and planets you can (and can’t) see. It’s made us take time for nighttime star gazing, and it’s quite magical.)
Espresso Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze
3 cups [420g] all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups [3 sticks | 339g] unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 ounces [170g] cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups [600g] granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely ground espresso
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee, at room temperature
3 ounces [85g] semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite-sized pieces
6 ounces [170g] bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
3/4 cup heavy cream
To make the cake
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325ºF [160ºC]. Butter and flour a 10-inch 12-cup [25 cm – 2.9L] nonstick Bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar and ground espresso and turn the mixer up to medium high. Mix for 3 to 5 minutes, making sure to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula periodically. The butter and sugar should be light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for about 30 seconds after each addition. Periodically stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
On low speed, add the milk, followed by half the flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Add the brewed espresso, and then the remaining flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the chopped chocolate, and give the mixture a few more turns with a spatula to make sure it’s combined completely. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan lightly on the counter to remove any large air bubbles.
Bake the cake until it is golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 65 minutes, depending on the pan. Let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then carefully un-mold it onto a rack to cool a bit more before glazing (I often chill the cake in the refrigerator overnight, wrapped in plastic, before glazing).
For the glaze
Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it is simmering and just about to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit for 5 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap and whisk until completely smooth. Coat the cake with the ganache while the ganache is still warm, but the cake has cooled. Let the ganache set before slicing the cake.