Mocha Pound Cake

Mocha Pound CakeLet Them Eat Cake
There you sit. You have your turkey and gravy. You have your stuffing and your mountain of mashed potatoes. The cranberry sauce sings its siren song to you from the middle of the table. Your mouth is watering in anticipation of the feeding frenzy that is about to commence. (Step aside Joey Chestnut.)

The little voice inside your head reminds you to save room for dessert. But, you know that dessert consists mainly of pies. You are not really a fan of pumpkin pie or any kind of pie. The accompanying vanilla ice cream is always good but lacks a certain wow factor. What do you do? Leave room for the ice cream or go big on the yams?

To me, the Thanksgiving feast isn’t complete unless there is a pecan pie at the end of it. Some have the same intense feelings towards pumpkin pie. For my dad, it’s a mince pie. One of my relatives, though, is the ice cream guy. The reason? He just doesn’t like pie. Any pie. (I know. Freak of nature.) It got me thinking about what would be an appropriate cake for Thanksgiving.

My daughter suggested a carrot cake which makes a lot of sense given the spices. But, she was adamant that there be no raisins. (There is a serious raisin aversion amongst my children). I figured anything harvest-y would work well. A spicy cake with hazelnut frosting is very autumnal, or even this Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting would be lovely.

But, what about getting away from the flavors of pumpkin and other pies? You could just go crazy with a double chocolate cake. You can never go wrong with a chocolate cake. This Mocha Pound Cake recipe works particularly well for a couple of reasons. It is a bundt cake which makes it easy especially when oven space is at a premium. And, it contains coffee which is always necessary to battle the snoozies after you have stuffed yourself…

Mocha Pound Cake Recipe
Adapted from King Arthur Baking

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons espresso powder
1/4 cup water, warm
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup Dutch-process cocoa
2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (We recommend King Arthur)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 10-inch (12-cup) tube pan or 12-cup Bundt pan.

Make the batter
Using an electric mixer at medium-high speed, cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until the mixture is pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Be certain to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl while mixing to fully incorporate the ingredients.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bowl as needed.

Make the espresso
In a small bowl, dissolve the espresso powder in the warm water and combine it with the buttermilk. Set aside.

Mix the dry ingredients
Measure the flour by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess with the flat back of a knife.

In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa and flour.

Mix the dry and wet ingredients
With a mixer set on medium-low speed, beat a third of the flour mixture into the egg mixture in the bowl, then beat in half the buttermilk mixture. Beat in another third of the flour, the remaining buttermilk, and finally the rest of the flour.

Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and beat briefly to make sure everything is fully combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake
Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (about 75 to 80 minutes).

Cool the cake
Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then carefully turn it out of the pan onto the rack and let it cool completely (about 45 minutes).

Glaze the cake
Glaze the cake with chocolate ganache or simply dust it with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Store any leftover cake, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Chocolate Ganache
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons corn syrup, optional, for shine and flexibility
1-2/3 to 2-2/3 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
(The more chocolate, the thicker the ganache.)

Heat the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan until the mixture begins to steam.

Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl, and pour the cream over it. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Begin by stirring slowly to mix and as the chocolate begins to incorporate, stir more vigorously until the chocolate is completely melted. If necessary, reheat the mixture very briefly to soften any remaining hard bits of chocolate.

Use the ganache while the chocolate is still warm, but has begun to thicken. Reheat the ganache if it thickens too much to glaze the cake.



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