Makes about 18 mini cakes
This classic cake has a deep chocolate flavor and close-grained, velvety crumb. A great keeper, it's nice to have on hand in the freezer for that unexpected occasion—and even better to treat your sweetie on Valentine's Day. The mini cakes can be dressed up with a little Dark Chocolate Ganache spooned over the top and allowed to drip alluringly down the sides. Be sure to let the ganache cool to between 85 and 90 degrees F before spooning it over the cakes—at that temperature, it is cool enough to run in thick rivulets for a beautiful finish.
You can top the glaze with pretty valentine candy decorations for a great classroom-party treat, or go all out and top with Spun Sugar for a special night at home.
Mini Bundt Pan with twelve 1/4-cup Bundt molds, Stand Mixer Fitted with a Paddle Attachment or a Hand Mixer and a Medium Bowl, Silicone or Rubber Spatula, Small Bowl, Fine-Mesh Strainer, Medium Bowl, Whisk, Cooling Rack
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and position an oven rack in the center. Prepare the pan by buttering or oiling (with cooking spray) each mold thoroughly, then dusting with flour or fine dry bread crumbs and tapping out the excess.
2. Cream the butter and sugar: Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium-high until light-almost white-in color, 4 to 5 minutes. You can also use a hand mixer and a medium bowl, although you may need to beat the mixture a little longer to achieve the same results. Scrape down the bowl with the spatula.
3. Add the eggs: In the small bowl, stir together the water and espresso powder until smooth. Crack the eggs into the bowl and beat to blend. With the mixer running on medium, add the eggs to the butter mixture about 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to completely blend in before adding the next. About halfway through, turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl, then continue adding the eggs. Scrape down the bowl again.
4. Add the dry and wet ingredients alternately: With the fine-mesh strainer, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into the medium bowl and whisk to blend. With the mixer running on the lowest speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, beginning with one-third of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk; repeat, then finish with flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl and finish blending the batter by hand, if necessary.
5. Bake the cakes: Spoon 3 tablespoons batter in each Bundt mold. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake, as these small cakes dry out quickly. Transfer to a rack and cool for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out while they are still warm. Rinse the baking pan under cold water until cool, dry thoroughly, prepare again and bake the remaining batter. Fill any unused molds halfway with water so the cakes bake evenly.
Storing: The cakes can be made several days ahead and kept at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap. Or double-wrap, put in a resealable plastic freezer bag, and freeze for up to 8 weeks.
The addition of espresso here is not just an enticement for caffeine addicts. Full-bodied, bitter espresso is often paired with dark chocolate because it deepens and enhances the flavor, making it taste even more, well, chocolaty. You won't notice the coffee flavor, but if you leave it out, the cake will have a lighter chocolate profile. If you wish to omit the espresso, try adding 1 teaspoon pure chocolate extract, or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.
This page created December 2008
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