If you know me, you probably also know that I am and always have been inspired by all things 'Big Sur'. There's something about the air, or is it the water, or is it the sky, or the mountains...? It's all of those things, the most magical place I know where the mountains meet the sea to dramatic effect. I love it there, a place where I really feel truly at home and at ease. Anyhow, my latest muse is the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook.
The Big Sur Bakery itself is an unassuming place, in an old house, on the side of the highway, behind a gas station. However you'll be pleasantly surprised by the excellent food that awaits you inside. They have an Allen Scott wood fired oven which turns out some awesome pizzas, breads, and baked goods and a couple of very talented chef/owners running the kitchen. Go there! But before you do, try my Chocolate Chai Bundt Cake, inspired by the chocolate bundt cake recipe in their book.
I love Chai and am always looking for ways to incorporate teas into my baking so I added Masala Chai black tea from Teapod, my favorite organic tea bar, in this cake. I think the spicy, savory, cardamom-y flavor carries really well with the chocolate. I hope you'll try making it and will enjoy sharing it!
For the cake:
1 TB unsalted butter, softened, for the pan
1 1/4 cups plus 1 TB strong brewed Chai tea
3/4 cups best quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I use El Rey)
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup plus 2 TB canola oil
1 TB vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups flour (I use unbleached Spelt)
For the icing:
6 oz bittersweet chocolate (I use El Rey 70%)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temp
1/3 cup strong brewed Chai, cooled
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly butter the inside of a 10 cup Bundt pan with the 1TB softened butter.
2) Whisk the cocoa powder into the hot brewed tea to combine thoroughly. Let cool.
3) In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the sugar, salt, baking soda, whole eggs, and egg yolk until combined. Add the milk, canola oil, vanilla, and mix again to combine. Add the flour and mix until well incorporated. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and whisk again until all the ingredients are well mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 60 minutes. Cool in the pan 10 minutes, invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
4) Meanwhile, make the icing. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, heating in 20 second intervals and stirring between. Be very careful not to burn the chocolate. Just keep heating and stirring until all the chocolate is melted. Melt the butter in a separate bowl and whisk into the chocolate. Add half of the sifted powder sugar into the chocolate mixture, whisking to remove any remaining lumps, followed by the butter. Then add the rest of the powdered sugar, followed by the Chai. The icing should be thick and shiny. Pour the glaze over the bundt cake so you get those drippy fingers of icing in all of the creases. (You will probably have extra icing. Save it in the refrigerator for icing cupcakes or to fill cake layers. It's yum).