The first time I made the Best Chocolate Bundt Cake was back in 2012. I was a young married lady and an even younger blogger, slowly teaching myself how to cook and bake and living on the thrill of anything even halfway decent coming out of my oven.
Then this cake happened. For a fledgling baker, tackling a homemade bundt cake with a from-scratch glaze felt like an Olympic task. I remember how nervous I was when it was time to flip the cake out of the pan. Even years later, my palms get a little sweaty during this step.
But there was nothing to fear. The cake popped easily out of the pan and onto the plate. I did a little happy dance, then smothered the cake with the glaze and cut myself a slice.
Sweet heavens. I wanted someone to hand me a medal right then and there. This was the best chocolate cake I’d ever eaten, and by some miracle I had made it myself.
After devouring my slice, I stuck the cake on a garishly red kitchen towel, took some terribly lit photos of it, and posted it on my blog. Because that’s what you did when you were a newlywed with too much free time in 2012.
Six years later, this chocolate cake is one of my most popular and best reviewed posts of all time.
Looking back on those original photos (which I will include at the end), I still feel a giddy sense of pride bubbling up inside me. This cake has a way of making you feel like a rockstar. My sister-in-law, who has made it several times, said her co-workers didn’t believe she actually made it herself, thinking something this good could only come from a professional bakery.
To that I say, “Pshaw!” You can absolutely make something as good as the local bakery. And once you discover that fact, there’s really no turning back. You’ll start making Giant Bakery Style Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Sour Cream Cheesecake, and Two Layer Strawberry Cakes and feeling like a boss all the time.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about what makes this cake the very best chocolate bundt cake of all time.
I believe there are two key ingredients at play here that really make this cake special. The first is brewed coffee, which is like chocolate’s personal hair and makeup specialist, always behind the scenes making sure the chocolate shines. The second is buttermilk, which we can thank for giving this cake its tender crumb and subtle tangy flavor.
Then there’s the glaze. Oh my. Where to begin. The glaze begins with a base of unsweetened chocolate, butter, and sugar, but it gets it’s spectacular flavor from the addition of sour cream, coffee, and cream.
The glaze feels wonky when you’re first whisking it up. One moment it looks too thick and the next moment a bit too gloppy. You might find yourself questioning your newly discovered baking skills and wonder why in the world that Courtney girl steered you wrong.
But then the coffee and cream and your gentle but persistent whisking start bringing it all together, and the glaze begins to look like a rich mocha latte, and you’ll get all the good feelings back, because now you’re basically a master baker and barista in one.
This glaze lies somewhere between spreadable and pourable. It is quite thick, and quite easy to eat by the spoonful, but I suppose that’s beside the point. If you’d like it to be a little more pourable, you can add more milk or cream.
The glaze makes a substantial amount, more than you might think is necessary. I generally use about three fourths of it then save the rest, often adding the remainder on later. It really is the proverbial “icing on the cake,” so I find it’s never a bad thing to be generous.
This cake is an excellent candidate for making a day in advance, as I think it gets even better, richer, moister on the second and third days. It is a rich cake, so technically you could probably squeeze 20 teeny slices out of it, but you’re more than likely going to want to stick with 12 or so thick, fat slices.
I would tell you to serve it with ice cream or milk, but on this rare occasion, I believe the cake stands best alone, in all of its dark chocolatey glory.
If you’re looking for a show stopping dessert, the answer to an insatiable chocolate craving, or just a way to get your baking mojo back, I can’t recommend this cake enough. If it can survive my fumbling 2012 baking skills and pictures like this to become one of my most made and best reviewed recipes, it’s certainly worth a try.
If you’d like to see what other people are saying about this cake, you can check out the comments or read the reviews on this pin on Pinterest!
For the cake:
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/3 cups brewed coffee
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt (reduce to 1 teaspoon if using table salt)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour, sifted
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the glaze:
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup half and half or cream
- 1/4 cup brewed coffee, cooled
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 6 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 in round bundt pan. Set aside.
2. For the cake: Place cocoa powder and coffee in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. In the bowl of a mixer, combine sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs, and yolk. Beat on low speed for about 1 minute. Add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and beat for another minute or so.
4. Add flour to sugar mixture and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the cooled cocoa/coffee mixture and beat on low speed for another minute.
5. Pour into the greased pan and bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before inverting onto serving tray.
6. For the frosting: Chop the chocolate into small pieces and add it to a double boiler or heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Melt chocolate, stirring occasionally.
7. Melt butter in another pan or in the microwave.
8. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter and chocolate. Add half the powdered sugar and whisk again. The mixture will seem very thick.
9. Whisk in sour cream and the remaining powdered sugar. Don't worry! It will come together! And it will be magical.
10. Add coffee and cream and whisk together until smooth and glossy. This is a thick, spreadable frosting. If you'd like a more pourable glaze, simply add additional cream or half and half until you reach your desired consistency.