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call off the dogs

March 03 2009 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe » 29 comments


I know you know about bundt cakes. You were schooled on Betty Crocker, same as me. You know that they’re round and undulating, that they look a little bit like a caterpillar chasing his tale. You know the creviced mold can be filled with anything from cake (perhaps a cinnamon-streuseled breakfast version or a booze-soaked after-hours concoction) to jello, marshmallows and mandarin oranges suspended therein, as if by magic. (Hello, church potluck of my childhood!)


You can open up your Betty Crocker cookbook (or, for most of you, I’m betting, a more up-to-date baking handbook), letting its weathered red spine fall open to your most-oft used page. Flip to the recipe index and slide your fingertip down the “B” section until you see the word “bundt.” Indented under that word (which, by the way, is a joy to let roll off your tongue—insisting, as it does, that you emphasize both its first letter (buh) and its last (tuh), which is no small feat for a monosyllabic word and gives the word a bit of a primitive, grunting caveman sound), in any American baking book worth its salt, you know you’ll find a goodly list of options.


But here’s what you might not know. You needn’t stop there, in that compilation of bundt recipes right there in the index. Because the bundt pan is a little like other kitchen slights of hand: a dallop of crème fraiche, say, or a dusting of flaky Maldon or a final pat of butter. Like these things, the bundt pan is a tried-and-true trick to transform a ho-hum recipe into something a bit more show-stopping. Take for instance this recipe for a Moist Chocolate sheet cake, which I doubt anyone would refuse (it’s chocolate cake, for heaven’s sake) just as much as I doubt anyone would remember it and request it for years to come. Until the bundt pan comes to the rescue, that is.


But I’ve gotten a bit ahead of myself. I should tell you that I’ve been on the hunt for a chocolate bundt cake for sometime. I was envisioning an ingredient list that included some just-brewed coffee, thick sour cream and, obviously, chocolate—preferably dark. In terms of texture, I sought something sturdy and moist, a bit like Devil’s Food Cake or, dare I say it, a chocolate-frosted, white-curly-qued Hostess cupcake. But I was also looking for some restraint, not a heavyweight, death-by-chocolate type recipe.


A recipe like this seemed like the kind of thing I should have on file, ready at the waiting when I need a dessert at a moment’s notice. Something simple, but stellar, open to being dressed up (draped with ganache, for example, or showered with a dusting of powdered sugar) or stripped down (served in wedges, straight up, or maybe with a glass of milk).


The absence of such a cake in my recipe file loomed large. And it remained unfilled as a I perused recipes and tried a couple unsuccessful candidates—some too rich, others too dry. But I kept at it and when I saw Ellie Krieger’s recipe for a Moist Mocha Cake, I immediately thought BUNDT!, even though she instructs us to pour the cake batter into a 9×13 pan for baking. It’s that kitchen slight-of-hand I mention above and, thankfully, it worked here like a charm.


When you’re converting a cake recipe into bundt form, be sure to consult a conversion chart, which will help you translate between various cake pans based on a recipe’s volume. As you’ll see, your best non-bundt recipe candidates are recipes meant for a 9×13 sheet cake or two round (8- or 9-inch) cake pans. You’ll also have to fiddle with the baking time. In this case, I suggest increasing the baking time by 10 to 15 minutes.


What I got by pairing Ellie’s recipe and my bundt pan trick was this: a dense, chocolatey, delicious ring (though one not particularly coffee-flavored, so I’ve taken the liberty of dropping the “mocha” out of Ellie’s recipe title below*) and an end to my search for a go-to chocolate bundt recipe. Call off the dogs, this is it.

Moist Chocolate Bundt Cake
Adapted from Ellie Krieger

Cooking spray
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups lowfat yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon espresso powder, dissolved in 1 tablespoon of hot water
2 ounces good-quality dark chocolate
1 tablespoon powdered sugar, optional

Arrange rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Whisk together flours, cocoa, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl, then sift ingredients through a fine mesh strainer.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and oil. Add eggs and egg whites and whisk to incorporate. Fold in yogurt, vanilla, sugar and dissolved espresso powder. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 60 to 90 seconds; do so in 30 second intervals, stirring between intervals and stopping when it’s melted and smooth. Fold chocolate into batter.

Gradually add sifted dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated; do not over beat. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until cake has risen nicely and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack, in the pan. Place the wrack, upside down, on the top of the pan (the open end) and carefully invert the cake onto the wrack.

Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

* If you want more of a coffee flavor, I think you could drizzle the cake, while it’s still warm, with a bit of Kahlua.

29 comments so far. »
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  1. Treehouse Chef says on March 03 2009 at 7:55 pm:

    I make Bundt cakes all of the time. There is a great recipe book called the cake mix doctor that is filled with Bundt Cakes and others. Also the pioneer woman on her blog has a great Rum Cake. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  2. Whitney Merritt says on March 03 2009 at 8:06 pm:

    I so need a bundt pan! It was my favorite pan to use as a kid. Just made everything that much more special.

  3. Jennifer says on March 03 2009 at 8:34 pm:

    This is one amazing recipe!!! I am saving this and making soon! I love that you used ww pastry flour and yogurt in this- 2 very things I find produce amazingly moist bread and pastries! Well done!!

  4. Christina says on March 03 2009 at 9:10 pm:

    Bundt pans conjure memories of my mom’s prune cake which she so proudly made in her bundt pan for every guest that walked into our home. Prune cake — not particularly appetizing. But your recipe, oh it makes me look at bundt pans in a new light! Looks scrumptious!

  5. ovenhaven says on March 03 2009 at 9:22 pm:

    I’ve always been under the impression that I can only bake bundt recipes in the bundt pan! Thanks for sharing this. Now I need to get me a new bundt pan, (my old one’s gone missing!) and give this a try :)

  6. Ellen says on March 03 2009 at 9:30 pm:

    i love bundt cakes! they’re so much easier than layer cakes in every way but no less impressive. my favorite chocolate bundt cake recipe is the guinness chocolate cake found via smitten kitchen. it is divine, but yours sounds much healthier ;)

  7. Marianne says on March 03 2009 at 10:19 pm:

    A basic chocolate bundt cake reminds me of many a dessert as a kid. We would take our thick slice of cake and put it in a bowl, still warm of course, and pour that glass of milk on top and eat it that way. Yum!

  8. Allison says on March 03 2009 at 10:37 pm:

    Dubs… Who let the Dogs Out?! This looks amazingly beautiful. Great photos!

  9. Monica h says on March 03 2009 at 10:50 pm:

    Your cake is beautiful. I love the sharp corners of the bundt. I’d definitely make this, perhaps even add a bit more “mocha”.

  10. kickpleat says on March 04 2009 at 1:28 am:

    i love making bundt cakes….in fact, i use my bundt pan more than my cake tin. i love it. it’s what my mom used and it brings back the memories.

  11. Tails says on March 04 2009 at 4:05 am:

    Oooh makes me want to make one!

    A few questions (cos nothing is ever simple with me)…we dont get ‘pastry flour’ in South Africa…what can I use as an alternative?

    When you say

    ’2 eggs
    2 egg whites’

    is that four eggs in total, or two eggs each separated? Sorry if thats a really dumb question :P

    And lastly, what is Dutch processed cocoa? I have normal cocoa…will that do?

  12. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on March 04 2009 at 5:03 am:

    Treehouse Chef: I’ll check them out!

    Whitney: Yes, you do!

    Jennifer: They’re two of my favorite things, too, and they do the trick here.

    Christina: I’m reading Molly Wizenberg’s (Orangette’s) book right now and she writes beautifully about prunes and, I have to tell you, she just might sell me on them!

    ovenhaven: Oh, no! A missing bundt. Here’s to a new one.

    Ellen: I never thought of it that, way, but you are so right. They’re easier than layer cakes by a mile.

    Marianne: I think it’s the nostalgia that had me wanting one. And that milk thing sounds interesting (in a good way!). I’d imagine it’s not much different from melted ice cream.

    Oh, Ali. Who let the dogs out? Really? Sometimes it’s like you’re not even my sister.

    Monica: Thanks! If you tinker with the espresso/Kahlua/etc, let us know!

    kickpleat: I don’t remember my mom making bundts, but my best friend’s mom made them all the time. So, I guess I get my nostalgia that way.

    Tails: Definitely not dumb questions! For the flour: you can use all all-purpose flour (or, if you’re more daring, normal whole wheat in place of the pastry flour, though this might result in a different texture). For the eggs: that’s four total (it’s a “lighter” recipe, so I’m guessing that’s why the author was reducing the yolks). And for the cocoa: great question! I used normal cocoa (I like Scharffen Berger) and it was just fine. I’ll make a note of that above.

  13. Dawn in CA says on March 04 2009 at 9:58 am:

    Sometimes if I want more coffee flavor, I’ll just double (or triple!) the amount of espresso powder, while keeping the liquid the same — as in, 2 TBL powder + 1TBL water. It usually does the trick for kicking the coffee intensity into high gear without messing up the consistency of the batter.

    Love bundt cakes, too. I bought my first bundt pan at a second-hand store for a dollar when I first moved out on my own. Still have it. :)

  14. ingrid says on March 04 2009 at 9:58 am:

    You have a great writing style. I really enjoy reading your blog.

  15. anna says on March 04 2009 at 10:55 am:

    I love your site and check it almost daily. I have a non foodie question…I’ve been on a mission for a cake stand lately and love the one you have pictured here. Do you happen to remember where this was from?

  16. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on March 04 2009 at 11:58 am:

    Dawn: That’s a good idea. I scored my first bundt pan (the one you see here) as a wedding gift and I am realizing that I don’t use it nearly enough.

    ingrid: Thank you! That made my day.

    anna: It’s from William-Sonoma. If you’re looking for something white and simple, I also like the Martha Stewart line at Macy’s—and it’s often on sale.

  17. heather says on March 04 2009 at 1:50 pm:

    i love a good bundt!



  18. Polly says on March 04 2009 at 2:33 pm:

    Oh, I’m so relieved! I just returned from 5 weeks in Africa SANS chocolate and was hoping that upon my return you would have a recipe waiting for me to dive into. Thank you. Or as they say in Swahili, Asante Sana!

  19. Adelina says on March 04 2009 at 2:50 pm:

    I need to try out this recipe! I do love baking with Bundt pan but have so far not liking the few recipes that I tried!

    May I ask with this recipe, can I bake it using the 12-cup Bundt pan I have ? After I bought the pan I realized the 12-cup size is not a very popular Bundt pan to have!

    Thanks for sharing and for posting such delicious recipe/ photo!

  20. cate says on March 04 2009 at 7:46 pm:

    i don’t care what anyone says — i’ll eat almost anything baked in a bundt pan. unless, of course, it jiggles. my favorite bundt recipe is paula deen’s apple cake, which is so easy that you mix it directly in the pan. my kind of recipe.

    that chocolate cake looks divine — thanks for sharing!

  21. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on March 05 2009 at 6:04 am:

    heather: Me too!

    Polly: Oh, wow! Five weeks in Africa? I hope you had an amazing trip. Let us know how you like the bundt!

    Adelina: I baked this is a 12-cup Bundt, which I understand to be the standard size. The 9×13 and 8- or 9-inch conversions I mention in the post are for a 12-cup bundt pan. I hope you give this one a try! Let us know.

    cate: Oh, did the marshmallow-flecked jello bundts jiggle. It’s making me a little queasy just thinking about it. : ) I’ll have to check out Paula Deen’s recipe.

  22. Chocolate and Toast says on March 05 2009 at 9:35 am:

    Have you ever noticed how a slice of a bundt cake fits perfectly into the palm of your hand? I think bundt cakes should always be like this, no glaze or frosting to get in the way, leave the knife on the plate because I’m going to slice off a chunk ever time I walk by! Thanks for sharing the deliciousness!

  23. Jodye says on March 05 2009 at 9:58 am:

    Wow, if this cake is as rich and moist as it looks, I must recreate it!

  24. Dimah says on March 05 2009 at 1:51 pm:

    This cake looks rich, moist and delicious!

  25. Jen H says on March 10 2009 at 6:36 am:

    This looks so yummy and maybe slightly less guilty that the average chocolate cake. Or maybe I’m just telling myself that :)

  26. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on March 10 2009 at 7:44 am:

    Chocolate and Toaste: Now that you mention it, you’re right!

    Jodye: You should! Let us know what you think.

    Dimah: It was, it was.

    Jen H: You can see the nutritional information for the original recipe here. I’ve modified it a bit (particularly by omitting the frosting), so the information for my recipe is a bit different.

  27. Becky says on March 28 2009 at 10:13 am:

    *snorts, guffaws, bwoohaha’s @ reading of linguistic experience of “bundt” a la MBF Greek Wedding and comments so before bothering to finish reading the rest of the post…*

  28. Bridgett says on April 03 2009 at 5:43 am:

    Your pictures are fabulous! The bundt cake really looks good. I love that it’s from Ellie and it has whole wheat pastry flour. Will definitely try this one out. Thanks for posting :)

  29. Heidi says on May 07 2009 at 12:15 pm:

    I made this last night, to eat today, and wrapped it in a dish towel overnight. It’s was excellent. Rich, moist, and held beautifully overnight. Hard to believe all these healthy ingredients can make such a nice cake. I added chocolate chips at the end (my daughter’s request), so I guess ours wasn’t as healthy as it could have been :-)

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