When company calls

The only reason my sister visits me is for the baking.

Well, I’m not sure this is entirely accurate, but her enthusiasm for sisterly visitation does seem to be suspiciously linked to the availability of freshly baked goods. If she stops by unannounced for a cup of tea, it often seems to be in the hope that I might have a cake or a batch of cookies lying around ready for her consumption.

So I wasn’t that surprised when I called her up the other day to see if she wanted to come over for tea and a chat, and the first thing out of her mouth was, “Have you baked?”. Well no, I hadn’t. Miraculously, she agreed to come over anyway.

You can find more recipes at barbara-luijckx.com

But being the sort of over indulgent big sister that I am, and knowing that I had at least an hour before I was expecting her, I began to feel guilty that I had nothing but an months-old package of hard gingersnaps to offer. What kind of hostess was I? So I baked.

This super duper simple chocolate Bundt cake is just the sort of the recipe you need in your arsenal for times like this, when you’re called on to whip something up at a moment’s notice. It looks (and tastes) rich and impressive, but the batter is a quick and easy two-bowl affair, and the cake bakes up in just half an hour. The sour cream ganache is a nice touch but it’s totally optional – you could use cream if that’s all you’ve got on hand, or just dust the cake with a bit of icing sugar and leave it at that.

I choose to see my sister’s visiting habits as a compliment on my baking rather than a judgment on the appeal of my company. After all, there are worse things than to be loved for your cakes.

Death by Chocolate Bundt Cake

As with all chocolate cakes, the flavour of this cake really improves the next day.

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp instant espresso powder (optional)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 cup hot brewed coffee
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

150 g (5 oz) semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp golden syrup or corn syrup
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. Grease and flour a 12 cup (10 inch) Bundt pan very well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, two sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder (if using). Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, buttermilk and coffee. Add the dry ingredients to this wet mixture and fold in until everything is just combined and there are no more dry pockets.

Pour the wet batter into the prepared pan and bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the top of the cake springs back lightly when pressed and a knife inserted in the centre comes out with just a couple of crumbs clinging to it. Cool in the pan for at least ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the ganache: chop the chocolate and melt it in a small saucepan over very low heat. Once the chocolate is completely melted, remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream, syrup and salt. Let the ganache cool to a thick, shiny, spreadable consistency. Once the cake is completely cool, spread the ganache over top.