more chocolate cake

November 14, 2009 § 2 Comments

chocolate party cake

I had every intention of bringing an elaborate and impressive cake to my friend’s potluck. But suddenly it was 2 in the afternoon, I was still in my pajamas, and the grocery store seemed very far away. So instead I rummaged through my cabinets and cookbooks, looking for a recipe that I could make quickly and only used what I had on hand. Luckily, I always have pretty much everything baking-related, so it wasn’t too hard – the main obstacle was that I kept getting distracted by pictures of pretty cakes. But eventually I overcame my tiny attention span and settled on the Chocolate Party Cake from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes.

chocolate cake batter

The cake is a sour cream chocolate batter, baked in a Bundt pan and then brushed with cocoa syrup, making the crust shiny and nearly black. How does this stack up against my go-to chocolate bundt, the Chocolate Guinness Cake? Despite their mutual resemblance, they’re pretty different. This cake is lighter and fluffier, with a more distinct butter flavour. I think I still prefer the moist denseness of the Guinness cake, but this is definitely also a nice option. Also, the lack of frosting makes it easy to transport, and it serves a ton of people, so in some ways it’s the ideal potluck dessert – especially because you generally receive a warm welcome when showing up with a giant chocolate cake.


Chocolate Party Cake – adapted from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes


  • 2/3 cup walnut halves
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup sifted cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar (this is approximate because I measured by weight: 8.7 ounces / 250 grams)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

Cocoa Syrup

  • 1/4 cup sifted cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup boiling water (or more)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a Bundt pan and coat with cocoa powder.

Toast walnuts for about 7 minutes. Pulse in food processor until medium fine, or finer if you don’t like the texture of nuts in your cake.

In a medium bowl, whisk sour cream, cocoa, eggs, and vanilla, until the consistency of slightly lumpy muffin batter.

In large bowl, mix walnuts, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add butter and half the cocoa mixture. Beat on low until moistened, then raise speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining cocoa mixture in two additions, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each one. Scrape batter into cake pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

Shortly before the cake is done baking, make cocoa syrup: whisk together cocoa and sugar. Add a small amount of boiling water and mix until moistened. Add the rest of the boiling water. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring often. Remove from heat, and add vanilla. Add water to equal 2/3 cup, and use while still hot.

When cake comes out of oven, pierce all over with skewer. Brush with one third of syrup. After 10 minutes, turn cake out of pan and brush all over with remaining syrup.

Note: to avoid my last Bundt cake’s pan-sticking disaster, I was really thorough about greasing and powdering the pan. Since there’s no ganache here to hide mistakes, I highly recommend similar obsessiveness to everyone.


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§ 2 Responses to more chocolate cake

  • Mai says:

    While most bundt cakes have an understated beauty, the chocolate shine of yours definitely deserved to be the belle of the potluck.

    I noticed that you’ve used Rose’s Heavenly Cakes for a couple of your recipes here. What do you think of the book? Would you recommend it? It certainly is a pretty tome, but how do the creations taste?

    Gorgeous, gorgeous photos, by the way. What type of camera do you use?

  • Laura says:

    Thanks so much! I have a Canon XSi, which I absolutely love. I’m not all that good at using it yet (many of the buttons confuse me), but I’ve been learning as much as I can.

    As for Rose’s cookbook, I’m actually planning to write a review of it once I’ve made a few more recipes. I’ve only done two now so it’s still hard to say. It’s definitely incredibly gorgeous, and just leafing through it is fun. Both cakes came out great, and although I didn’t proclaim them my favourite recipes ever, someone with different tastes certainly might (and I did really like them). All that to say, give me a couple weeks and hopefully I’ll have a more comprehensive story to tell.

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