The month of December is passing by rather smoothly, given that it's usually ridiculously hectic. Not so much for me. But everybody is running, in a hurry, with endless lists to tackle, buying, organizing.
Here, since we're almost starting the summer, it coincides with the end of school year and most people's vacations. Put that together with Christmas and New Year, not to mention the need to do things like go to the dentist or every doctor you didn't go to during the year, or the urgency to redecorate your living room before you leave for the beach, and you have a recipe for disaster. And crankiness.
Why is it so important to cramp everything you didn't do in a year during the last month? Beats me. And it happens every year. Add very hot days to the mix and the results can be quite agitated.
This is the cake that I promised in this post. One thing about writing this blog, is that I always want to try new things. No matter how good a recipe might be, it only gets done more than once if it's unbelievably good or I have to take something over to a friend's house and need something that I know is foolproof.
It's easy with savory because I eat twice a day, and that makes for a lot of opportunities. But the sweet stuff is not essential, I can live without much sugar, not that I do, but I can and I definitely should, so baking for myself is not a smart idea. I should get me some nice sweet-toothed neighbours.
I made this cake many weeks ago, photographed it, ate it, gave the rest to a lucky friend and just waited for the moment to post it. In the meantime I decided that my computer was too full of crap, by the way of old files, and erased many. I even erased the trash, since I was on a tech-spring-cleaning-roll. The pics were washed away.
But it was worth repeting, not only because it's pretty. It is so good, velvety, perfectly sweet and chocolaty, with that sour cream pecan tunnel running through it. It delights children and us grown-ups too. I might venture to say that it will be my chocolate bundt cake of choice from now on. Because it's perfect and versatile.
And it unmolds like a dream. Which is the ultimate test in a good bundt cake recipe.
CHOCOLATE PORT BUNDT CAKE
barely adapted from Baking for all Occasions, by Flo Braker
Makes 8 servings
For sour cream ripple:
8oz (225g) sour cream, room tº
¼ cup sugar
4 Tbs coarsely chopped pecans
1 Tbs rum or 1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup warm water
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6oz. (170g) unsalted butter, at room tº
1 ¾ cups sugar
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup sour cream, at room tº
½ cup sour cream
1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350º. Butter or spray a bundt cake pan and coat it with fine dry breadcrumbs.
For sour cream ripple: Mix sour cream, sugar, egg and rum or vanilla in a small bowl. Reserve.
For cake: In a medium bowl, mix cocoa powder with water. Reserve.
In a large bowl beat butter and gradually add sugar. Beat until very creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat for 1 minutes after the last one is added.
Add vanilla and sour cream to chocolate mixture and mix.
Sift flour, baking soda, powder and salt. Add dry ingredients in three additions to butter mixture, alternating with chocolate mixture in two additions. Don´t worry if the batter looks a bit curdled at times.
Pour into prepared pan, smooth top. Make an indentation with a spoon in the middle of the batter. It will not be too defined, don't worry.
Mix pecans into sour cream ripple mixture. Pour carefully into the indentation, trying not to let it touch the sides.
Bake for 60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool a few minutes and unmold on a wire rack. Let cool completely.
Pour glaze slowly over cake and sprinkle top with chopped pecans.
For glaze: Mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl.