Saturday, August 28, 2010

Make Mine Swirled

One can always rely on the fabulous bundt when it comes to last-minute occassions. This particular instance was a friend's birthday and I had a day's notice. As evinced in previous posts, I tend to put a lot of thought and consideration into recipes. Yet when I'm given a matter of hours, I either rely on bundt cakes or cookies. Both require little to no mental preparation, and the ingredients are generally pantry staples. I did have to make a quick run for milk (since I had run out) in the pouring rain, but everything else called for in this recipe I had on hand. I had never made a marble cake before, so I felt this would be the perfect opportunity, and chose to make Dorie Greenspan's Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake
The recipe is fairly simple, and stores quite well overnight. This cake is Louis Vuitton of pound cakes: while it still has the basic components of a conventional pound cake, the hint of walnut and the richness of mocha blend to make one classy bundt cake. It has a great texture as well, thanks to density of the batter and the walnuts. 

For the coffee profile, I used my newest love and addiction: a Moka pot. It creates amazing coffee in a short amount of time, thus negating any time benefit instant coffee ever provided. Make sure to set out the eggs and butter before beginning any part of the recipe to ensure they reach room temperature. The coffee's temperature (as indicated below) is irrelevant. 

Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake
By Dorie Greenspan via PastryBrush
Serves 10-12
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely ground walnuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tbsp (9 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coffee, hot or cold
  • 1 tsp finely ground instant coffee or instant espresso powder
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9- to 10-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. 

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water.  Put 2 tbsp of the butter, cut into 4 pieces, into the bowl, along with the chocolate, coffee and instant coffee.  Heat the mixture, stirring often, until the butter and chocolate are melted and everything is smooth and creamy – keep the heat low so that the butter and chocolate don’t separate.  Remove the bowl from the heat. *Note: if the mixture gets hot too quickly, it will burn. A solution to this is to shut off the heat and continue stirring. The residual heat from the water will continue to melt the chocolate at a more reasonable temperature.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining 2 sticks of butter and the sugar at medium speed for about 3 minutes (more if using a hand mixer) – you’ll have a thick paste that will not be light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition.  The mixture should look smooth and satiny.  Beat in the vanilla extract. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients and the milk alternately, adding the dry mixture in 3 portions and the milk in 2, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Scrape a little less than half of the batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate and, using a rubber spatula, stir to blend thoroughly.

To achieve a marbled look, alternate spoonfuls of light and dark batter in the pan.  When all the batter is in the pan, swirl a table knife sparingly through the batters to marble them. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a wooden skewer/toothpick inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Transfer the Bundt pan to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes before unmolding, then cool the cake completely on the rack. If storing overnight, wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge. 

*I made a quick glaze by microwaving approximately 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips and a splash of heavy cream at 10 second intervals, stirring in between.
Check out those swirls! 

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