my baking therapy: chocolate bundt cake with rum

The Fourth of July was my day for baking therapy. I should have done something red, white, and blue, but I wanted to do something rich, dark, and sensual with chocolate.  This cake came out dense and moist and very dark. And because of the rum syrup, it had a slight tangy flavor. Its texture so reminded me of the steamed pudding fruit cakes we love to eat at Christmas-time in Jamaica. Naturally, I watched my favorite movie Chocolat while I was baking; there is something magical about chocolate that sweetens the mood and raises the spirit.

Rich Chocolate Bundt Cake with Rum (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

For the Cake
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (2 1/4 oz) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (I used unsweetened chocolate)
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee
3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup sour cream, room temperature (I used half sour cream, half Greek plain nonfat yogurt)
1 tablespoon vanilla
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
2 cups packed (14 oz) light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature

For the Rum Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
2 tablespoons water.

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350˚F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add 1 tablespoon cocoa powder to the melted butter or add 1 tablespoon flour. Mix well. Using a pastry brush, brush the inside of a 12-cup bundt pan with the butter mixture. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

3. Boil a cup of water. In another large bowl, combine the cocoa, chocolate, and instant espresso. Do not mix. Measure 3/4 cup of boiling water and pour over the top of the chocolate mixture. Cover and let stand 5 minutes until the chocolate is melted. Whisk the mixture smooth and set aside to cool. When cool, whisk in the sour cream and vanilla. Set aside.

Cake Baker’s Note: To chop chocolate, set the block of chocolate on a sheet of waxed paper. Using a serrated knife, thinly shave a corner of the block with a downward motion. Turn the block to shave another corner. Pick up the corners of the waxed paper and tip the shavings into a cup to measure 6 oz or 3/4 cup.

4. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 1 minute. (The batter may look curdled.)

5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the chocolate mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining chocolate mixture. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.

6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Wipe any drips of batter off the sides of the pan. Gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter.

7. Bake the cake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 50-60 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.

8. Remove the cake from the oven. Let the cake cool in the pan 10 minutes then turn it out on a wire rack. Mix the ingredients for rum syrup in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar is dissolved. Set the cake on the cooling rack over a large rimmed baking sheet. While the cake is still warm brush with the rum syrup. Cool the cake completely before serving.

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