A Perfect Cake and a Mediocre First Post (Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake)
While a lot of people might argue that having a soup, salad, or appetizer (or exceptional cocktail) is the ideal way of starting a meal, I disagree. Have dessert first.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some savory foods, but sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and after a starter and entrée I just don’t have much room left for a sweet. While I could just order less food (HA!), a sure solution to always have room for dessert is to just order it first.
Seeing as this is my first blog post I decided to share a delicious cake recipe.
So, I’m gradually in the process of procuring* every conceivable kitchen item. I like gadgets, I like toys, I like electronics, I like machines, I like this, I like that, I like everything. While I have two garlic presses, I recently realized I didn’t have a Bundt pan. Being unemployed and all, it only made sense to immediately purchase one.
After perusing a few zillion recipes, I settled on a Bundt cake that involved one of my favorite flavor combinations: chocolate and orange. Everything about the cake was perfect. Moist, chocolatey, and aromatic with citrus. If you’re a fan of chocolate and/or orange, I cannot recommend this recipe enough.
* I tend to have a lot of free time on my hands these days and researching words is something I find entertaining. While I’m not a complete idiot and know how to use procure in a sentence, I hadn’t actually looked it up in the dictionary before tonight. I found Merriam-Webster’s definition to be fascinating: (a) : to get possession of : obtain by particular care and effort; (b) : to get and make available for promiscuous sexual intercourse. For the record, my use of procurement is in reference to the first definition. I like clean, sanitary cooking utensils.
Orange Chocolate Cake
Recipe from smitten kitchen where it was adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
- 1/4 cup grated orange zest (from 4 large oranges)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups good semisweet chocolate chunks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
2. Cream the butter and sugar. I believe the original recipe instructed you to mix for 5 minutes, but I just turned it on, tossed my 2 cups of chocolate chunks (I actually used semi-sweet Godiva chocolate chips) with two tablespoons of flour (and set them aside), and caught up on my facebook status updates. In my humble opinion, you can’t over-mix butter and sugar. The fluffier, the better, so no need to set a timer.
3. Once you’ve run out of facebook stalking (err, when the butter and sugar is puffy like a cloud), add the eggs one at a time, and then add the orange zest.
4. Sift together 3 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. The original recipe specified a large bowl, but my large bowl was in the dishwasher so I used a medium sized bowl and kept my fingers crossed it was big enough (I’m a rebel who doesn’t follow recipes). In another bowl (use whatever size bowl you want, the sky is the limit!), combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla.
5. Freak out because the carton of buttermilk you left on the counter to bring to room temperature expired a week ago. While I googled “buttermilk substitute” and found ways of making buttermilk at home, I didn’t have milk, just rice milk, and figured you kinda needed milk from a cow. My MacGyver solution? Half rice milk and half sour cream. I figured the thickness and tang of the sour cream, when thinned out with rice milk, would do a decent job of substituting. This mixture wasn’t room temperature, and while I believe you should always bake with room temp ingredients, I was in the middle of a recipe and decided to chance it.
6. Add the flour and buttermilk (or in my case, faux-buttermilk) mixtures alternately to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Be sure you pause occasionally to scrape down the bowl. Once everything is incorporated, you’ll want to fold in the chocolate chunks coated in flour you prepped earlier.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for approximately 50-55 minutes. Your oven may be faster or slower than mine, so at 50ish minutes you can stab your cake with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s done. If the toothpick comes out with something that resembles batter on it, it probably isn’t finished since it’s still batter.
8. Whenever your cake is no longer raw in the center, take it out of the oven, and let it rest for a few minutes.
9. At some point you’ll want to make sure the syrup for your cake is done. I made my syrup while the cake was baking, but you can make it whenever you feel like it. The syrup is pretty easy (even I didn’t mess it up!) and all you do is mix together the OJ and sugar in a pan. Just heat it till the sugar dissolves. You’ll want to take the cake out of the pan relatively quickly and brush on the syrup while the cake is still hot. It absorbs the moisture and prevents the cake from drying out. Let the cake cool completely.
10. For the ganache, melt the chocolate, cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler. You’ll want to stir occasionally until everything is nicely melted together. If it looks too thick, add a few more splashes of cream. Drizzle over the completely cooled cake.