Today is National Bundt Day, a food holiday I'm celebrating for the first time this year thanks to Mary, The Food Librarian. She is the bundt queen, just check out her collection of bundt pans! For the past two years she's posted 30 bundts in 30 days, with the final bundt going up on November 15th to commemorate National Bundt Day. She extended an invitation for us all to join her in posting a bundt today and I'm happy to take part. In a lucky coincidence, we're mailing out goodies for Secret Baker (a monthly event in which a group of us bake treats and send them to one another) today as well, and the theme just so happened to be bundt cakes, so my bundt is a multi-tasker :)
Originally, I'd planned to make this Buttermilk Cake with Spiced Vanilla Icing for National Bundt Day. It attracted my attention last year in one of my baking magazines because it included my favorite veggie, butternut squash. I never got around to making it unfortunately so it's on my agenda for squash season this year. I even suggested the cake to Mary when she put out a request for bundt suggestions last month, and to my surprise she baked it just a few days ago (a stunning cake - I love the flecks of orange from the squash)! Since she posted it so recently, I decided to find something else to make for today. It was tempting to bake a cake that included fall flavors, but I kept coming back to this chocolate pound cake so I went in that direction instead.
Rather than bake a full size bundt cake, I made six minis. This pound cake gets its deep chocolate flavor from cocoa powder, as well as an infusion of espresso. No worries if you don't like coffee (I don't!), you won't taste it in the final cake; the espresso just enchances the chocolate flavor. The cake has a really tight crumb yet is still quite tender. The recipe suggests an optional dark chocolate ganache to dress up the cakes and I debated long and hard about whether to add it. I wasn't sure how the ganache would hold up in the mail since I was sending the cakes out. After soliciting some advice on Twitter, I wound up deciding to top just one of the cakes with the ganache. That way if it didn't hold up, the recipient would still have other cakes to enjoy. I'd also be able to get feedback from the recipient so I'd know in the future whether ganache topped cakes are a good idea to ship.
Thanks to Mary for inspiring us all to get excited about bundts! You can check out the 30 bundts she made last year here, and this year's collection here. She's planning to do a round up of those who celebrate National Bundt Day today so keep your eye peeled if you're interested.
Mini Chocolate Velvet Bundt Cakes
from The Art & Soul of Baking, by Sur La Table and Cindy Mushet
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons, 6 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 oz) sugar
1 teaspoon water, at room temperature
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (5 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 oz) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (4 oz) buttermilk, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray the wells of the bundt pan thoroughly with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium high speed until very light in color (almost white) and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. In a small bowl combine the water and espresso powder, stirring until smooth. Add the eggs to the bowl with the espresso mixture and beat to blend. With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg mixture about 1 tablespoon at a time, incorporating each addition fully before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl occasionally.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (dry, wet, dry, wet, dry). Beat just until combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and make sure everything is well blended.
Distribute the batter evenly among the six wells of the mini bundt pan (about 1/2 cup batter in each). Bake for 16-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the bundt pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out. Let the cakes cool on the wire rack.
Makes 6 mini bundt cakes