Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Espresso Bundt Cake

I fell pretty quickly for the brand new The Model Bakery Cookbook of which I received a review copy. Right away, the book felt like one I’d want to settle in with to do lots of baking. The sight of the big, beautiful English Muffins that greet you at the start of the Breads chapter was the first sign that I was really going to like this book. Like most of the bread recipes in the book, this one includes a pre-ferment which results in great flavor. I can’t wait to try them. A few pages later, I jumped right in and baked the Toasted Walnut and Sage Pain au Levain which makes two sourdough boules and might just be the most perfect bread ever for a turkey sandwich. And, then I discovered the Yeasted Sweets chapter. There are croissants, Danishes, Bear Claws, and the Morning Buns made with croissant dough, rolled into swirls, and covered in cinnamon-sugar that look irresistible. The recipes are classics from experienced bakers who know what works, what’s delicious, and what people love. I’m looking at the Plum Galette recipe right now and hoping I can find some perfectly ripe, dark purple plums to use for it later this week, and then I want to bake the Carmelita Bars just to try this version with walnuts. In the Cakes chapter, there’s a Sunny Lemon Cake layered with lemon curd and topped with a lemon buttercream, a Coconut Cake with coconut in the batter as well as sprinkled on the frosting, and a Carrot Cake kept simple with just shredded carrots and walnuts and nothing extra. These are all familiar treats but made in particular ways that have proven to work well. As I looked over the recipe for the Espresso Bundt Cake, call me psychic, but I sensed it would be tasty given the cup of butter and two cups of sour cream in the batter. I was absolutely correct. 

The photo in the book shows a nicely layered cake in which the espresso batter is baked into the middle of the cake with plain batter above and below. Mine ended up more marbled, but regardless, this is one delightful Bundt cake. The batter is made with butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla into which sifted cake flour with baking powder, baking soda, and salt is mixed alternately with sour cream. Next, you separate a third of the batter into a second bowl and whisk some cold espresso into it. You first place half of the plain batter in a prepared Bundt pan, then the espresso batter, then the remaining plain batter. The cake bakes for almost an hour and is left to cool. I always fear cakes sticking to the ridges of a Bundt pan and butter them excessively. Thankfully, the cake slipped right out. The glaze was made with confectioners’ sugar and more cold espresso and was poured over all those pretty, Bundt ridges. 

To say this cake was a winner is a huge understatement. I always go for espresso flavor in sweets, and it was insanely good in this tender-crumbed cake and glaze. Kurt agreed and at one point asked me to cut a piece for myself so he could have the rest of the cake. I have a feeling there will be similar experiences with everything else I bake from this book. 

Espresso Bundt Cake
Recipe reprinted with publisher’s permission from The Model Bakery Cookbook


We have customers who can’t get enough coffee. Even though Karen is a tea lover, and is rarely without a glass of iced tea within reach, we pay a lot of attention to the quality of our coffee beans and their preparation. This caffeinated Bundt cake is great any time of day, but it is especially good with a morning cup of freshly brewed coffee. 

1 cup/225 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan 
Unbleached all-purpose flour for the pan 
3 cups/390 g cake flour (not self-rising) 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
1 1/2 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp fine sea salt 
2 cups/400 g granulated sugar 
3 large eggs, at room temperature 
1 tsp pure vanilla extract 
2 cups/480 ml sour cream, at room temperature 
1/2 cup/120 ml cold brewed espresso or Italian roast coffee (or 1 Tbsp instant espresso dissolved in 1/2 cup/120 ml boiling water) 

1 cup/115 g confectioners’ sugar, sifted 
3 Tbsp brewed espresso (or 1 tsp instant espresso dissolved in 3 Tbsp boiling water), as needed 

1. TO MAKE THE CAKE: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F/180°C/gas 4. Butter the inside of a 12-cup/2.8-L fluted tube pan. Dust with all-purpose flour and tap out the excess. 

2. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. Beat the butter and granulated sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes (or beat by hand with a wooden spoon for about 10 minutes). Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating them with two equal additions of the sour cream, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, mixing until smooth. 

3. Transfer one-third of the batter to a medium bowl. Whisk in the cold espresso. Spoon half of the plain batter into the prepared pan. Top with the espresso batter, and then the remaining plain batter. Smooth the batter with a spatula. 

4. Bake until a long bamboo skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes. 

5. Run a dinner knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert and unmold onto a wire cooling rack and let cool completely. 

6. TO MAKE THE GLAZE: Put the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Whisk in enough of the espresso to make a glaze about the thickness of heavy cream. 

7. Put the cake, while still on the cooling rack, over a large plate. Drizzle the glaze over the cake, letting the excess glaze drip down the sides. Let stand until the glaze sets. The cake can be stored, wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 3 days. 

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  1. This book sounds so fantastic, Lisa, and as you know, I'm not even a baker! It must have been so difficult to choose a recipe.

    I think you picked the perfect recipe, not only because it looks delicious, but also because September 29th is National Coffee Day! I can just imagine enjoying a piece of this cake with a nice warm cup of coffee.

    Thank you so much for sharing...

  2. Such a gorgeous bundt cake Lisa - I definitely will have to give this a go!

  3. Beautiful, reminds me of the swirl cake my mom made for us so many times as a child. I always found the swirl so magical because she wouldnt tell me how it 'got in' there!

  4. Mmmhh, it looks divine! I'm a bundt cake and espresso addict, so I'm bookmarking this wonderful recipe.



  5. That soft brown swirl in the fluffy pound cake has outdone me, it looks lovely :D


  6. With that amount of sour cream and butter, I am not surprised to know this cake is a WINNER!

  7. I think I like the marbled look better than if it were three layers! What a beauty!

  8. Gorgeous bundt cake! I've never made one myself but this would be one to strive for. I agree with Joanne's comment, I like the marbling!

  9. That's a very pretty bundt cake and I always like coffee cake and especially when there's espresso in the icing xx

  10. Another non-baker, cake-challenged blogger who would love to be brave enough to make this gorgeous cake...

    flavors are sounding too good together!

  11. Un elegante marmoleado me ha encantado,abrazos.

  12. I hope you're having a great weekend!

  13. Sounds like a terrific book! Certainly this bundt looks wonderful. And I love espresso, so the flavoring is just right for me! Good stuff - thanks.

  14. Everything sounds so wonderful, I wouldn't know where to start! This bundt cake would be a great place, and that Sunny Lemon Cake sounds great too!

  15. This bundt cake looks so perfect. I loved the recipe. Just pinned it!

    Your photos really make me want to bite into the monitor! :)

  16. This is a stunning cake, the marbling is lovely and that espresso glaze is calling to me!!

  17. This looks heavenly!!! Nice job with this cake!!

  18. what a pretty swirl! that's not the biggest draw for me, though, and it's not the very presence of espresso either. it's that glaze--fantastic!

  19. This sounds like just the kind of book I need for some fall baking inspiration. Beautiful cake.

  20. Oh how I want that book.
    The cover is just so appealing too.

  21. I love the marbled effect on your cake - it looks so beautiful, Lisa!
    I've been thinking about purchasing this book for a while now.


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