Saturday, January 17, 2015

Chocolate Cake and Self-Doubt

Last week I ran a marathon. A marathon. Twenty six and two tenths of a mile. I actually did that.

And yet, I still hesitate when asked, "Are you a runner?"

"Well...I like to run, but..."

But I'm not that fast. I don't get out as often as I'd like. I don't do hills. I could stand to tone up a bit. Sometimes I take breaks. Sometimes I just want to walk. I'm definitely not [fill in the blank with any number of people I know who are faster, more consistent, longer-term, "better" runners].

I'm working on it, but that voice of self-doubt is my biggest enemy. It also creeps in every single month, when that Southern Living pops up in my mailbox.

"Are you a baker?"

"Well...I like to play around in the kitchen, but..."

But I don't do any big fancy gourmet types of cooking. I just make simple, down-home stuff. Sometimes it doesn't come out that pretty, but it usually tastes okay. I'm definitely not [fill in the blank with any number of people I know who legitimately could be featured on Food Network].

I'm going to work on that too. Over a nice, big hunk of Triple Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake. Because seriously, this thing is great. I am a runner and a baker, and this is delicious, gorgeous cake. Moist, rich chocolate batter with bittersweet chocolate chunks and hints of coffee. Tangy, sweet buttermilk glaze. Gooey, oozy chocolate drizzle. This was an easy cake that I will absolutely make again! (and best of all, now I've got half a carton of buttermilk to use up...fried chicken later this week, for sure!)

Here's to cake!


Triple Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups butter, softened at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons instant espresso
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate morsels
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tbsp. buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Prepare Cake: Preheat oven to 325°. Whisk together flour and next 3 ingredients. Beat 1 1/2 cups butter in a medium bowl at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yolk disappears. Combine 1 1/4 cups buttermilk and next 2 ingredients. Add flour mixture to egg mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed after each addition. Fold in bittersweet chocolate morsels.
[note: It helps to toss the morsels lightly in flour before folding them into the batter to prevent them from sinking during baking]
Pour batter into a well-greased (with shortening) and floured 12-cup Bundt pan. Sharply tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles.
[note: My preparation made more batter than my Bundt pan could hold. I actually overflowed the pan a little bit when it rose during baking, plus I ate a fair amount of batter that didn't make it into the pan at all!]

2. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on rack.

3. Prepare Chocolate Glaze: Combine semisweet chocolate morsels, 3 Tbsp. butter, and 1 Tbsp. corn syrup in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until morsels begin to melt, stirring after 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Stir in 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

4. Prepare Buttermilk Glaze: Whisk together powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. buttermilk, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Add up to 1 Tbsp. buttermilk, if desired.
[note: I added a few dashes of salt to balance the sweetness of this glaze. Also, I would err on the side of less buttermilk...mine was a little runnier than I would have preferred]

5. Drizzle warm glazes over cooled cake.

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