Monday, April 30, 2012

Root Beer Bundt Cake (from Baked)

Two Christmases ago, I was pregnant and my husband and I were living with my parents. All my stuff was packed away, including my kitchen stuff, but my parents have a great kitchen for cooking, so I was still enjoying my favorite pass-time (missed my stuff, though, that's for sure). I had a bunch of cookbooks on my list that year, one of which was Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. When I opened it up on Christmas day, I was so excited to break it in. It has a lot of fun recipes! (Including some of the best brownies I've ever had, which I promise to discuss with you in detail at a later time.)

Two months later, before I'd taken the opportunity to dig into trying the recipes, my gallbladder freaked out, making it necessary for me to strictly limit my fat consumption for the remainder of my pregnancy.

No brownies, is what that meant (among other things).

It was a dark time for me, my friends. A dark, dark, time.

Anyhoo. The point here is that I've had my eye on this recipe for well over a year, and I was so excited to give it a try! I mean, Root Beer Cake?!? I vote yes to cake that tastes like root beer. Add vanilla ice cream, according the authors' claim, and it would be just like a root beer float (without the textural issues that usually drive me away -- far away). In the words of the Barefoot Contessa, how bad can that be?

I also loved that it called for actual root beer instead of root beer extract, meaning that I didn't have to add to my already-overstuffed spice cabinet for something I wouldn't use much.

I have to say that I'm a fan of this cake, but you also need to know that it wasn't much like a root beer float at all. It is a delightfully complex chocolate cake that has root beer flavor in it somewhere in the background. You can find it if you're really searching your palette, but it certainly isn't the top note.

I loved how moist (moistly? moistrously? Maybe I'm just making things worse...) this turned out. The cake and frosting paired extremely well together. It was truly perfect, and the instructions were clear and concise. So the book is a winner, if you ask me. You didn't ask me, I realize, because I'm the one who brought it up,  but it's my blog, so... what ya gonna do?

This cake was universally enjoyed, to the best of my knowledge, and I know my hubby and I liked it a lot. Hopefully you will, too!

Root Beer Bundt Cake
from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

for the cake
2 c. root beer (do not use diet root beer)
1 c. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs

for the frosting
2 oz. dark chocolate (60% cacao), melted and cooled slightly
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. root beer
2/3 c. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Vanilla ice cream for serving


For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; alternatively, butter it, dust with flour, and knock out the excess. (Nonstick spray work just great for me.)
In a small saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy--do not overmix, as it could cause the cake to be tough. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a small sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.

For the frosting: Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until the frosting is shiny and smooth. Use a spatula to spread the fudge frosting over the crown of the Bundt in a thick layer. Let the frosting set before serving. Don't forget the ice cream!

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