Updated: 02/13/2017 4:12 PM | Print Story |  Email

Chocolate for Every Meal

This valentine's day, why not treat your loved one to breakfast in bed? Author of The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, Sarah Kieffe, show us how to make a chocolate bundt cake...made with a steaming cup of hot coffee.

 

Breakfast Option Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake

3 ounces (85g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
3/4 cup (75g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup very hot brewed coffee (or hot water)
2 cups (284g) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed (396g) brown sugar
1/2 cup good olive oil
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and cocoa. Add the hot coffee, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes to melt the chocolate. Whisk the chocolate mixture until smooth, then set aside to cool slightly, about 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, olive oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add the warm chocolate mixture and mix until completely combined.

Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the batter and whisk until just a few streaks of flour remain. Repeat twice more with the remaining flour mixture, then continue to whisk the batter until most the lumps are gone. Gently stir in the chopped chocolate.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 45-60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then flip it out onto a wire rack. Let cake cool completely, about two hours, before slicing. Cake keeps well for several days at room temperature, covered.

 

Snack Option:

Brownies
makes 12 large or 24 small bars

8 tablespoons (1 stick; 113g) unsalted butter, cold
8 ounces (226g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¼ cup (25g) Dutch process cocoa powder
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (160g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
½ cup canola oil
1½ cups (297g) granulated sugar
½ cup (99g) packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking pan and line a parchment sling.

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and the bittersweet chocolate until both are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and add the cocoa powder, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, sugars, and vanilla. Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir with a spatula until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 22 to 27 minutes, until the sides of the brownies have set, the top is beginning to crackle and look glossy, and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out with crumbs. The batter on the skewer should not be wet, but should have a good amount of crumbs clinging to it.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Use the parchment paper sling to gently lift the brownies from the pan. Cut them into squares.

 

Dessert after Dinner:

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

3 ounces (85g) bittersweet chocolate
1 cup freshly brewed coffee, hot
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup canola oil
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups (284g) all-purpose flour
2 cups (396g) sugar
¾ cup (75g) Dutch process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 8 by 2-inch round cake pans (see note) and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Put the bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl. Pour the coffee over it and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on low until combined. (If the cocoa powder is lumpy, you can sift it into the other ingredients.) With the mixer running on low, slowly add the buttermilk mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat until combined, 20 to 30 seconds.

Whisk the chocolate and coffee together until completely smooth. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the coffee mixture into the batter and mix until just combined. Using a spatula, give the batter a couple of turns to make sure it is fully mixed.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, until a wooden skewer or toothpick comes out with the tiniest bit of crumb.

Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and let cool completely. Once cool, the cakes can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated overnight or frosted.

Notes: This recipe will also work with 9 by 2-inch round cake pans but you will need to take a few minutes off the baking time. You can substitute hot water for the hot coffee, but the overall chocolate flavor will lack some depth.

Chocolate Buttercream

8 ounces (226g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¾ pound (3 sticks; 339g) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups (226g) confectioners’ sugar

Put about an inch of water in a medium saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place them in a heat-proof bowl that fits over the saucepan. Set the bowl over the pan of water, being careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir constantly until just melted and set aside to cool slightly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, corn syrup, and salt, and mix until combined. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the powdered sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the chocolate to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until no streaks remain.

 

To assemble the cake

Place one layer of cake on a turntable or serving plate. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with 1 cup of buttercream. Place the second layer on top and evenly coat the cake with the remaining buttercream.

Notes: This buttercream will make just enough to cover the cake, but there isn’t a lot left for piping or decoration. It is very rich, and I’ve always felt this to be the perfect amount. If you would like to decorate the cake, you can double the buttercream recipe.