Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Boont? Bundt... Boont? Bundt. BOONT? BUNDT......OH ITS A CAKE"

The visual aesthetic of a Bundt cake removes the need for frosting. As such, this cake has a variety of contexts, whether it be a pound cake or a crumb coffee cake. It is also a cake that is notorious for not coming out of the pan, which is why you have to make sure you oil the pan with a solid vegetable shortening COMPLETELY (all nooks and crannies) then flour. Let it cool completely before removing it from the pan. The two cakes I'm including in this entry are a Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Ganache and a Praline Bundt Cake with Sugared Pecans.

This Cake means business! There are three power ingredients in the recipe. One: CHOCOLATE. Who can ever deny a chocolate cake. Two: STOUT. This gives the cake a greater depth of flavor, and really compliments the chocolate. I used Guinness Extra Stout to really up the game on this one. Three: SOUR CREAM. This provides the cake with an irresistibly moist texture.

I baked this cake for my friend Luke's birthday grill party. The theme of the meal was recipes that incorporate beer, from beer bread to beer barbeque sauce, as Luke is a true beer connoisseur. As such, a stout cake was a seemingly appropriate choice. It was quite the feast!

The original recipe was from Bon Appetit and created a HUGE layer cake. This grill party wasn't expecting that many people, so I had to find an alternative. Thankfully, one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen, had seen the problem as well and created a reduced version. It was the perfect amount! Not a single guest complained, and people even went back for seconds.

Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 10 - 12


  • 1 cup stout (such as Guinness)

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2/3 cup sour cream

  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips

  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 3/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or spray a bundt pan well; make sure you get in all of the nooks and crannies. (Some people even go so far as to brush the inside of their bundt pans with melted butter–you cannot be too careful!). Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cake to rack; cool completely in the pan, then turn cake out onto rack for drizzling ganache.*

For the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over the top of cooled cake.

This second bundt cake had been on my to-bake list for quite some time. When a dinner party was scheduled at my friend Tom's house, I was finally given my chance to bake this cake! As always, he made an AMAZING meal! As for the cake? Praline + sugared pecans = delicious!!! Like the previous cake, we have sour cream as a component to create a moist texture, but added to the mix: cream cheese!!! Talk about soft consistency.

I made literally no changes to this recipe and suggest you do the same - Southern Living knows desserts, especially ones with flavors reminiscent of the South.

Praline Bundt Cake with Praline Icing and Sugared Pecans

Serves 12



  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (16-oz.) package dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Praline Icing

  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sugared Pecans

  • 1 egg white
  • 4 cups pecan halves (about 1 lb.)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

Sugared Pecans: Whisk egg white until foamy; add pecans, and stir until evenly coated. Stir together sugars; sprinkle over pecans. Stir gently until pecans are evenly coated. Spread pecans in a single layer in a lightly greased aluminum foil-lined 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan.

Bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes or until pecans are toasted and dry, stirring once after 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool 30 minutes or until completely cool.

Cake: Arrange 1 cup pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted. Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes or until completely cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add brown sugar, beating until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Sift together 2 1/2 cups flour and next 3 ingredients. Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat batter at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in toasted pecans and vanilla. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan.

Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and let cool 30 minutes or until completely cool.

Praline Icing: Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly. Spoon immediately over cooled cake.

Sprinkle top with sugared pecans and enjoy!

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