Cook’s Illustrated Sour Cream Chocolate Cake
Two weeks ago I tried out a sour cream chocolate cake recipe, in my hunt to find the perfect chocolate cake. The recipe was easy to put together and it was fluffy and moist, but was missing a deep chocolate taste. I got a comment from a reader, Meryl, who recommended the sour cream chocolate cake recipe from Cook's Illustrated. Meryl was also kind enough to email me helpful tips on making the cake, and suggesting that I serve it with whipped cream.
The recipe had a few extra steps compared to the other chocolate cake recipes I've tried, as well as a few extra ingredients. But if it was really that good, then I guess it would be worth the extra effort.
It wasn't hard to put together, but there were a lot of steps. And for some reason, I was making quite a mess and managed to feed my clothes a bit of chocolate batter. Meryl had commented that the cake tastes even richer the next day, after letting it sit, but I couldn't wait that long. I could barely wait for the cake to finish cooling!
I served the cake with whipped cream, which I thought was the perfect complement to the cake. The cake is moist and had a very rich, decadent, chocolate taste. I think any icing would be too much for the cake. The whipped cream is light and not too sweet, and helps the cake from being too overwhelmingly rich. I enjoyed the cake, and think it's my favorite chocolate cake recipe so far. My siblings, who have tasted the various chocolate cake recipes, liked the cake a lot too. Little Sis, who loves chocolate flavored desserts, was especially excited to try this cake, and enjoyed it.
I followed the recipe as written, except that I didn't do the cake release. Instead, I just used some baking spay.
Cook's Illustrated Chocolate Cake (recipe found at OddMuse)
Cake Release (I used a baking pan spray and didn't do this part)
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon cocoa
- 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (2 1/4 ounces)
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
- 3/4 cup water (boiling)
- 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature
- 2 cups light brown sugar (14 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- confectioners' sugar for dusting
FOR THE PAN: Stir together butter and cocoa in small bowl until paste
forms; using a pastry brush, coat all interior surfaces of standard
12-cup Bundt pan. Adjust oven rack
to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. FOR THE
CAKE: Combine cocoa, chocolate, and espresso powder (if using) in
medium heatproof bowl; pour boiling water over and whisk until smooth.
Cool to room temperature; then whisk in sour cream. Whisk flour, salt,
and baking soda in second bowl to combine.
3. In standing mixer
fitted with flat beater, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high
speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium
and add eggs one at a time, mixing about 30 seconds after each addition
and scraping down bowl with rubber spatula after first 2 additions.
Reduce to medium-low speed; add about one
third of flour mixture and half of chocolate/sour cream mixture and mix
until just incorporated, about 20 seconds. Scrape bowl and repeat using
half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining chocolate mixture;
add remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 10
seconds. Scrape bowl and mix on medium-low until batter is thoroughly
combined, about 30 seconds. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan, being
careful not to pour batter on sides of pan. Bake until wooden skewer
inserted into center comes out with few crumbs attached, 45 to 50
minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto parchment-lined
wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 3 hours. Dust with
confectioners' sugar, transfer to serving platter, and cut into wedges.