Sunday, March 09, 2008
Being a child of the 70's (and a mom who still makes bundt cakes) I knew I had to try this recipe when I saw it. It's been knocking around in my "to-make" list for a while now, so when I heard there was a bake sale last week at work (to benefit our "Green Office Committee.") it seemed like the perfect chance. Except that - as it turned out - the bake sale is next week.
Oh well, so my co-workers got some free cake. But I did make them promise to come back next week and buy something!
To go with the cake, I candied some kumquats I had on hand - inspired by a tangerine "confit" I had a few weeks ago at Cavaillon. I thought they'd be the perfect foil for the dark rich cake, and I wasn't far off. I actually thought the cake was a little under-sweetened when it came out of the oven, so I glazed it with the syrup from the kumquats, and served them alongside. This wasn't suggested in the book - but Suzanne does suggest de-seeding candied kumquats, slicing them thinly and mixing them with softened butter for a "kumquat marmalade butter" - which sounds to me like a great idea for a fancy brunch.
I was out of AP flour, so I used King Arthur's "White Whole Wheat Flour" in this recipe. It worked fine texture-wise, but I think the extra bitterness of the whole wheat called for a little extra sugar. I also doubled the recipe, and didn't have enough creme fraiche for two cakes - so I also used a little yogurt cheese (like thick sour cream) thinned with milk, and that seemed to work fine. I imagine you could also use half a cup of oil instead of melted butter in this cake - you might even be able to get away with a little less - it was extremely moist.
I made my cakes in two pans, one bundt pan and one tube pan. I actually preferred the tube pan because it was easier to get out and I could line it with parchment. I have yet to turn a bundt cake out of a pan and not have at least a little piece stick to the top. The flat top also looks a little cleaner, to my eye.
I've experimented with quite a few chocolate cakes in the past several months, and I liked this one - but it's not my absolute favorite. It's super moist and a little heavy, and I think I prefer something a little more brownie-like. I'd make the Bouchons from Thomas Keller's recipe before I'd do this again, in fact - I just might make those for the bake sale next week!
Suzanne Goin's "70's Mom's Double Chocolate Bundt Cake" with Candied Kumquats
adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques
5 ounces dark chocolate, 60-70%, plus 2 oz thinly shaved chunks
1 stick butter or 1/2 cup oil, plus enough to grease the pan
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup Valhrona cocoa powder or other good quality dutched cocoa
1 1/4 cups unbleached AP flour or light whole wheat flour (or half and half)
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 extra large eggs
3 extra large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (might take this up to 1 1/3)
1/2 cup (4 oz) creme fraiche or sour cream
About 2 cups of kumquats
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
For the kumquats:
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil
when the sugar is dissolved, add the kumquats. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the kumquats are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
For the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 and butter your pan
Melt the chocolate and butter or oil together in the microwave on a low setting, over a double boiler, or in an oven proof saucepan in the oven (as Suzanne suggests)
Whisk together 3/4 cup of water and the cocoa powder and bring to a boil, whisking constantly - when dissolved, remove from heat and set aside. Allow to cool slightly and combine with the melted chocolate and butter mixture.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder - stir in the salt.
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs a few seconds to combine, add the sugar and whip until they reach full volume (watch the edge of the mixture climb the bowl until it stops.) Add the vanilla and beat until the mixture forms a wide ribbon when the beater is lifted out. ( Make sure you don't add the sugar to the eggs before you start mixing, or the eggs will curdle - sugar will cook egg yolks slightly if allowed to sit undisturbed.)
Gently fold the chocolate and creme fraiche into the eggs and sugar, and fold in the flour mixture in thirds. It might be easier to do this in a wide shallow mixing bowl if you have one.
Pour half of the mixture into the pan and add the shards of chocolate. Fill the pan, and bake undisturbed until it is completely set, but still moist. A tester will not work - just jiggle the pan VERY slightly, and see if it moves. Be careful, it will collapse if underbaked!
Cool about 30 minutes on a rack, and turn out of the pan.
If desired, glaze the cake with the kumquat syrup, using a pastry brush. Garnish with candied kumquats.
Posted by Alice Q. Foodie on Sunday, March 09, 2008