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This Chocolate Bundt Cake is the fudgiest, most perfectly chocolaty cake you’ll ever meet.
I love chocolate. That’s no secret; I’m a total chocoholic. There’s pretty much never a time I don’t want chocolate.
Chocolate cakes, however, can often be dry, overly sweet, or just bland … but not this cake!
I packed a ton of moisture-enhancing ingredients like sour cream and brown sugar into this cake, along with Dutch-processed cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate for the most perfectly balanced chocolate fudge cake with a positively irresistible texture.
The other great thing about this cake is how simple it is! Just a couple of bowls, a quick ganache over the top, and you don’t even have to bust out your mixer. No awkward cake assembling, difficult decorating, or anxiety-inducing transporting. It’s showstopping without being labor-intensive or time-consuming.
If you’re a chocolate lover like me, or you’re going to a party or potluck with chocolate lovers, I hope you’ll give this cake a try! It’s sure to be the talk of the party.
How to Make Chocolate Bundt Cake
How to Make MOIST Chocolate Bundt Cake:
- Don’t overmeasure your flour. Accidentally adding too much flour will yield a dense, dry, or crumbly cake. I highly recommend using a digital kitchen scale, but if you don’t have one, use the spoon and level method to measure your dry ingredients.
- Oil. We tested this cake with vegetable oil, but any neutral oil that’s liquid at room temperature should work (such as avocado oil or canola oil but not coconut oil). Because oil is a liquid at room temperature, it gives the sensation of moisture by coating the tongue. Learn more about that here.
- Brown sugar. Brown sugar is more hygroscopic than granulated sugar, which basically means it draws and attracts moisture more than granulated white sugar. It also provides a bit more complex flavor than white sugar in this recipe. Don’t reduce the amount of sugar in this chocolate bundt cake recipe – learn why here.
- Eggs. This chocolate bundt cake contains 5 eggs for richness, fudginess, moisture, and structure. I do not recommend using egg substitutes in this recipe. Use room-temperature eggs to ensure they blend smoothly into the batter.
- Sour cream. This helps make the cake more tender and fudgy and activates the baking soda. Be sure to use full-fat sour cream at room temperature. Full-fat plain yogurt will work as a substitute.
- Chocolate + Dutch cocoa. More on this just below.
Do I Have to Use Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder?
- I find this offers a superior intense but smooth chocolate flavor compared to natural cocoa powder. I particularly love Guittard or Penzey’s Dutch cocoa powder products.
- Additionally, Dutch-process cocoa powder typically has more fat content than grocery store natural cocoa powder products. The latter is often chalky and zaps moisture in your cakes.
- If you must, you can use natural cocoa powder with as a 1:1 substitute. Note that the color, texture, and chocolate flavor will change.
- You can find Dutch-process cocoa at many gourmet food stores, or buy it online here.
- Learn more about Natural vs. Dutched cocoa powders here.
What Kind of Chocolate is Best in Chocolate Bundt Cake?
This Chocolate Bundt Cake batter contains both bittersweet baking chocolate for richness AND Dutch-process cocoa powder for tons of pure chocolate flavor. Avoid using chocolate chips in place of freshly chopped baking chocolate, they don’t melt down as smoothly and won’t incorporate into the batter quite as evenly.
The chocolate ganache uses melted semi-sweet chocolate. Feel free to use milk or bittersweet chocolate, if you prefer – just note that this will alter the overall sweetness of the ganache.
Why Is There Espresso Powder in Chocolate Bundt Cake? Can I Omit it?
You may have noticed that some chocolate cake batters contain hot water or hot coffee. Here’s why:
- When hot liquid is combined with cocoa powder, it helps to dissolve and ‘bloom’ the cocoa, enhancing the cocoa powder’s flavor. The hint of espresso enhances the chocolate flavor without actually tasting like coffee.
- I find it easiest to use hot water and instant espresso powder instead of having to make a pot of coffee just for cake.
- Feel free to use strong, hot coffee for the same effect.
- If you don’t like the taste of coffee or espresso, just use hot water and omit the espresso powder completely.
What’s the Best Pan for Baking Chocolate Bundt Cake?
This recipe uses a 12-cup bundt pan, like this one. If your pan is a little larger, that’s fine, but don’t use a smaller pan as the cake will overflow.
How to Prevent Chocolate Bundt Cake From Sticking to the Pan:
- Coat the bundt pan with melted shortening and work it into every nook and cranny with a silicone pastry brush right before pouring the batter into the pan. If this is done too early, the grease will slide down the sides of the pan and leave you with an uneven coating.
- Alternatively, use Baker’s Joy spray. While I don’t prefer to use nonstick sprays because they can damage the nonstick coating on baking pans over time, Baker’s Joy does work well. It just may reduce the lifetime of your pan.
- Check out my article on How to Prevent Bundt Cake from Sticking for more tips.
How to Store Chocolate Bundt Cake:
Store this Chocolate Bundt Cake covered or inside an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or at room temperature for 3 days. This cake is even fudgier when enjoyed chilled!
Can You Freeze Chocolate Bundt Cake?
Freeze unfrosted bundt cake wrapped in plastic wrap and place inside an airtight container. Defrost in the fridge overnight before icing with ganache and serving. We have not tried freezing this cake once iced.
More Chocolate Recipes You’ll Love:
- Best Ever Chewy Brownies
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Best Chocolate Cake
- Classic Whoopie Pies
- Death by Chocolate Cheesecake
For the cake:
- 8 ounces (227 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup (85 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 cups (400 grams) lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 ½ cups (191 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (227 grams) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
- ½ cup (112 grams) neutral oil
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon melted shortening or Baker’s Joy, for greasing pan1
For the ganache²:
- ½ cup (119 grams) heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 4 ounces (113.5 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
Make the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a medium heatproof bowl, add the chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Pour hot water over mixture. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth, then set aside to cool until just warm (95-98°F).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda, breaking up any clumps.
- Whisk the sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Making a well, pour the wet mixture into the center of the dry mixture and use a spatula to gently fold ingredients together until just combined and no flour pockets remain. Do not overmix.
- Spray a 12-cup Bundt cake pan generously with Baker’s Joy or brush with melted shortening, using a pastry brush to brush the spray or shortening into every nook and cranny of the pan. Immediately pour the batter into the pan. Bake the cake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a platter and let cool completely. If your cake doesn’t release, run a thin spatula around the inner tube to help.
Make the Ganache:
- In a small saucepan, heat the cream and corn syrup over medium heat until hot. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, whisking until smooth. Let cool until thickened. Drizzle over the cake. Allow to set at room temperature, about 10 minutes, before serving.
- For an extra fudgy cake, serve chilled.
2 tablespoons (11 grams) cocoa powder
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt Sift powdered sugar and cocoa into a small bowl. Whisk in milk, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Drizzle onto cooled cake and let set, 15-20 minutes.
Photos by Joanie Simon.