I love recipes that employ old-fashioned methods in preparation; melting chocolate on a low flame, beating an egg with a fork, actually mixing batter by hand. This is one such recipe, put to use because I had a container of sour cream staring at me from next to the buttermilk I’d been baking with all last week. Somewhere along the line, I began keeping sour cream on hand in the same way that I always have various baking chocolates, canned pumpkin, and molasses in my pantry. I never know when inspiration will strike and require a cultured dairy product.
This recipe comes from one of my favorite books, Miriam’s Kitchen, an exploration of the connections between food, family, and cultural identity. I read Miriam’s Kitchen at least once a year, usually in the fall, and I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for some time. The end result has great chocolate flavor, but is slightly drier than I’d like it to be – such can be the case with chocolate cakes, and is perhaps why they’re often paired with fudgy icing. This icing is a thick version of a chocolate drizzle; if I make this cake again, I might use a chocolate buttercream or a fudge frosting instead to add a bit of moisture.
For the cake
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 cup cake flour
For the icing
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan very well and flour lightly.
In a small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate on very low heat, stirring frequently to combine.
In a large mixing bowl, combine egg and sugar; beat with a fork to combine, then add sour cream and beat again to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.
Place a sieve over the mixing bowl and sift in cake flour and baking soda, then mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
Add melted chocolate and butter, mixing with the wooden spoon until combined.
Pour batter into prepared bundt pan; bake for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack.
Prepare the icing: in a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Remove from heat; add 1 cup powdered sugar and stir until smooth; add vanilla, milk, and remaining powdered sugar to reach a thick drizzling consistency. Pour over cake and spread with an offset spatula; icing will set fairly quickly.