Espresso-Chocolate Bundt Cake with Salted Caramel Glaze
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“I’m certainly not the first person to incorporate sourdough into sweet baked goods,” pastry chef Caroline Schiff writes in her new cookbook, The Sweet Side of Sourdough. “There’s a recipe for a chocolate sourdough cake in a 1970s edition of The Joy of Cooking I came across while working on this book, and obviously I had to make it immediately.”
As Schiff explains, this espresso-chocolate bundt cake with salted caramel glaze is inspired by that one, incorporating some of her favorite flavors but retaining the moist, rich qualities of the original.
Since the cake calls for active sourdough starter, you’ll want to make sure yours is bubbly and ready to go a few days in advance. Using a Bundt pan will yield the prettiest results, but if you don’t have one, you could also bake the cake in a 9-by-13-inch pan. Either way, make sure it’s fully cooled before glazing (good luck).
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
½ cup (44g) Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon (5g) instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (220g) active sourdough starter
1 cup (240ml) water
½ cup (120ml) buttermilk
½ cup (120ml) grapeseed or canola oil
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
½ cup (120ml) heavy cream
1 tablespoon (14g) unsalted butter
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
½ cup (120ml) water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon (3g) instant espresso powder
¼ cup (30g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Flaky sea salt, to garnish
1. Make the Cake: With a rack in the center, preheat the oven to 325°F. Generously spray a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick spray and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, instant espresso powder, salt and baking soda until the mixture is uniform. Set aside. In another mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, using a spatula to fold everything together gently until no dry bits remain. Transfer the batter to the pan and smooth out into an even layer. Bake until set and a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter to cool completely.
3. Make the Glaze: In a small saucepan, combine the cream and butter; heat to scalding—when the mixture begins to steam and you notice a few bubbles, about 5 minutes, turn off the heat and set aside.
4. In a second small, deep saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water. It should be the texture of wet sand with no sugar crystals remaining on the sides of the pot. Cook the sugar over high heat until it turns into a light, honey-colored caramel, 8 to 10 minutes. If you’re new to caramel, you can use a candy thermometer. Watch it closely, as once the sugar is fully dissolved, it will turn from clear syrup to caramel quickly. Do not stir the sugar and water until you see it start to change color, as this can cause crystallization.
5. When you see the first signs of caramelization, carefully swirl the syrup around in the pan a few times so it colors evenly. Once it takes on a honey hue and reads 355 to 360°F on a thermometer, reduce the heat to low and carefully pour in the heated dairy mixture, stirring to fully incorporate. Add the salt and espresso powder and whisk well, simmering for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and add the powdered sugar, whisking until smooth.
6. Pour the glaze over the top of the cooled cake, letting it drip down the sides. Garnish with a little flaky sea salt and allow the glaze to set for 10 minutes before slicing.