Bourbon bundt cake can be low in fat
Editor’s note: Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful.
Don’t tell anyone; it’ll only raise suspicion if you let folks know this triple chocolate-bourbon bundt cake is low in fat. You might share that information once they’re licking the plate. But share it before the fork gets to the mouth and the usual reaction is negative. A reduction in fat so often results in a reduction in taste that few greet this revelation with enthusiasm.
What will make this experience different? Unlike many reduced-fat cakes, this one is moist and flavorful, with a tight crumb and a pleasing texture. Cocoa, which is almost fat-free, provides the prominent taste while the addition of a very small amount of chopped chocolate contributes a lovely richness. A semi-sweet chocolate glaze gives the cake a third layer of flavor and one more hit of chocolate. The glaze is optional; you could omit it and reduce the fat further by simply dusting the cake with confectioner’s sugar or a mixture of sweet ground chocolate and cocoa.
The bourbon in the recipe complements the chocolate nicely, increasing the overall success of the cake. Interestingly, testers who knew the dessert contained alcohol said they could taste it; those who were unaware that alcohol was an ingredient only noticed a welcome complexity.
Because the cake has less fat than most, it will stale quickly. So, serve it the same day that you make it. No-fat vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt or a sweetened whipped cream substitute are the obvious accompaniments.
Triple Chocolate Bourbon Bundt Cake
Adjusted for altitudes between 8,000 and 10,000 feet
Make in a six-cup non-stick Bundt pan
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of bleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
1 1/2 teaspoons of espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of milk (regular or 2 percent)
1/4 cup of bourbon
1 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 cup of granulated sugar, preferably Baker’s
1 1/4 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped finely
4 1/2 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
2-3 tablespoons of canola oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Generously grease and flour the Bundt pan (yup, even if it’s a non-stick pan). Combine the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk them vigorously to combine and aerate the dry ingredients. Set the bowl aside. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, the bourbon and the vanilla and set it aside. In a third bowl, whisk the two eggs until they’re combined.
Beat the room-temperature butter, the canola oil, and the granulated sugar with an electric mixer until they are creamed. Because of the smaller-than-usual amount of fat (butter and oil), this will take some time; you want the mixture to get fluffy and light., Add the egg mixture, a little at a time, beating until thoroughly combined after each addition. With your mixer at low speed, add the flour and the milk mixtures alternately, starting and ending with the flour mixture (4 additions of flour; three of milk). Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, leveling it as you go. Bake until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake just starts to pull away from the pan’s sides. This takes about 30-40 minutes in my oven. Take the cake from the oven and place in on a cooling rack. After about ten minutes, invert it, remove it from the pan, and return it to the rack to cool completely.
Make the glaze, if you’re using it: Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave at a low temperature (I use #4 out of a series from 1-10) for one minute, then in 20 second bursts until the chocolate is melting but some lumps of chocolate remain. Remove the bowl from he oven and stir until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Let cool until slightly warm to the touch. If it seems too thick to drizzle easily, add a little more canola until it reaches the proper consistency. Drizzle it over the cooled cake and allow it to set up before cutting and serving.
This is a variation of a recipe in “Enlightened Cakes.”
Contact Vera Dawson with your comments about this column and/or your baking questions at firstname.lastname@example.org . Dawson, a chef instructor with CMC’s Culinary Institute, lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude.