A Really Good Chocolate Bundt Cake

The September issue of Food & Wine arrived Saturday, and flipping through the pages I found a Cookie Madness must-try recipe, another chocolate bundt cake made with red wine. It was credited to Anne Willan and very similar to one I made a few months ago – same concept, but different execution with fewer eggs, less oil, less sugar, and more wine. I was about to make it yesterday but another cake caught my attention. A chocolate bundt cake which they suggested you serve with red wine, preferably Port.

This recipe is adapted from Kate Neuman, a pastry chef at MK restaurant in Chicago. It looked interesting on paper because it was a whisk-and-bake cake (no mixer required!), called for only 1 egg, had a full tablespoon of baking soda and specified Dutch cocoa over natural. I was curious to see what kind of leavening action there’d be with Dutch cocoa and all that baking soda, so I splurged and bought a can of this cocoa, which I’d never heard of but found at the grocery store down the street.


Like the intro said, the cake was dense, but light. It reminded me of Black Magic cake, but better – less sweet and with more chocolate flavor. The ganache glaze was good too, just as simple as the cake and with a perfect consistency.

chocolate bundt cake

I didn’t make any major changes, but I broke the recipe into two parts by putting the glaze in a second section, threw in some vanilla and added gram weights of some key ingredients.  Here’s the original recipe from Food and Wine.  Adapted version is below.

Update:  a few people have tried this with natural cocoa powder (aka, regular Hershey’s as opposed to Dutch or Dark) and haven’t had great results.  It’s key to use Dutch process cocoa, so if you don’t have any Dutch process cocoa around, I recommend making either the Perfectly Chocolate Bundt Cake or the Chocolate Sour Cream Buttermilk Bundt Cake.

I’ve made this cake several times since posting it. It’s true that it is not as sweet as other cakes, but it is definitely sweet enough. If you taste it and feel like it needs to be sweeter, just put a little powdered sugar on top before glazing. It’s less sweet, but still sweet enough to be cake. And yes, it does taste sweeter on Day 2, especially if you’ve put powdered sugar on it and that sinks in. As for the baking soda, 1 tablespoon is the correct amount. It gives the cake kind of a long finish so the chocolate taste lingers in your mouth a bit longer.

A Really Good Chocolate Bundt Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An excellent and easy chocolate cake with ganache poured over the top
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (56 grams)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (192 grams)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, stir well and aerate before measuring
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup strong-brewed coffee
  • 1 cup room temperature buttermilk
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup (10 inch) Bundt pan with flour-added baking spray. If you are using a black Bundt pan, use 325 degrees F.
  2. Melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water (or just use the microwave). Scrape it into a mixing bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the oil and sugar until smooth, then whisk in the egg and vanilla.
  3. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in another bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture along with 1/2 cup of the coffee and 1/2 cup of the buttermilk; whisk until smooth. Add the remaining dry ingredients, coffee and buttermilk and whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cake cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn it out and let cool completely.
  5. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. In a heatproof bowl, combine the remaining 3 ounces of chopped chocolate with the corn syrup and butter. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand until melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Let the ganache glaze cool until thick but still pourable, about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour the ganache over the cooled cake.Let the cake stand until the glaze is set, at least 30 minutes, before serving.

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  1. Louise says

    That looks very tasty. How’s the chocolate? They sell Rodelle brand stuff at our Walmarts so I don’t know where it stands by comparison to other brands.

  2. says

    Yum, that looks wonderful. I too am interested to hear what you think of the cocoa. I have been buying mine from KAF, its a dark Dutched with a higher fat content than most. It has a depth of flavor that is lacking in the grocery store cocoa powders.

  3. says

    That looks awesome, Anna! You can tell how moist and deep dark chocolaty it is, and that glaze! It looks so fudgy! I’m bookmarking this one on Delicious!

  4. Jen says

    For heaven’s sake….I don’t even like chocolate all that much but that looks amazing. Thanks for posting. I think my subscription to Food & Wine just ran out.

  5. says

    This sounds so melodramatic but I’ve been looking for a good chocolate bundt cake that doesn’t call for a mix for years. Thanks for posting this!! I need to figure out how to keep this on my radar for the next time I “need” a chocolate bundt cake!! I’ll definitely be trying this.
    I wish I had easy access to dutch process cocoa where I live. I can get Droste’s sometimes but it’s ridiculously expensive. I should just order a bunch of it from Penzey’s or King Arthur Flour.

  6. says

    Louise, the Rodelle was bout $7.00. I’m really surprised Wal*Mart sell that. As for taste, it was good, but I don’t buy a lot of Dutch chocolate cocoa powder so it’s hard to compare. I usually buy natural.

    Carrie, I’m going to skip the ganache sandwich cookies. I’ve baked ganache into chocolate chip cookies and it was cuite and gimmicky, but chocolate chip cookies don’t really need ganache.

  7. Karen says

    That looks great, I’m a chocolate bundt cake fiend – how does it compare to the Cooks Illustrated bundt with sour cream? I know you’ve done that one in the past.

  8. says

    Karen, I’d have to taste them side by side to say which one is better. It’s been a while since I’ve had the CI cake which I remember as being excellent and one of the best ever. But this one is definitely easier, probably less expensive to make and very, very tasty. It’s more like the old black magic cake, but moister, maybe a little richer (definitely with the ganache) and ages well. This is really a good cake and maybe even better on day 2.

  9. says

    This is one of the few Bundt cakes I’ve seen that would be worthy of a special occasion–I can totally see it with candles and maybe a swirl or two of vanilla or pink icing.

    Intrigued by the mention of the cc ganache cookies, I Googled them and would have to agree, even by sight and the recipe with Anna–they looked way OTT (over the top).

  10. says

    I made this cake this afternoon. But, I used dark chocolate with a hint od espresso. Just used strong coffee, not espresso, because I didn’t want to overpower the cake.

  11. says

    I just recieved my F&W issue in the mail yesterday and also noticed this chocolate wine cake, thinking it sounded interesting and different. This chocolate cake you chose to make, however, sure sounds better. With buttermilk in it, too…how can you miss?!! BYW, that Rodelle brand makes a great vanilla extract, too!

  12. Louise says

    This looks like a great cake for when I need to take a cake but don’t feel like knocking myself out. 🙂

  13. Payal says

    Hi Anna, i tried this cake yesterday and it had an awesome flavor and texture..i think a lil extra sugar wouldn’t hurt..maybe 1/6 cup more…but maybe that’s just me..or maybe i feel that way because i omitted the glaze. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  14. says

    I made this cake for Valentine’s Day. It’s GREAT. The texture is really nice and I like that it isn’t overly sweet. My ganache would have benefited from another minute or two of cooling. Live and learn. This is definitely the best chocolate bundt cake I’ve made so far. Thanks Anna!

  15. Tanis says

    Made this cake this week. I don’t know if it was the Dutch Choc, or that I personally did not think it was sweet enough. Maybe it was the bittersweet choc, just did not care for it. I was too alkaline or bitter, don’t know what words to use to describe it. I am glad I tried it because I had bought some Dutch Choc some time ago with no recipe to try it. Now, I need to try something else with it to determine if it is that choc that I don’t care for or what. Have you got any recommendations for cookies, etc using Dutch Choc?

  16. says

    Hi! I love your blog 🙂 I thought that dutch processed cocoa had to be used with baking Powder …. i’m surprised to see that they’ve specified dutch processed cocoa with baking Soda in this recipe… Any thoughts?

    Looking forward to trying this recipe!

  17. says

    Hi Alison,

    When I first made this, I wondered the same thing. Maybe the alkalinity of the batter helps make the cake tighter crumbed?

  18. LinC says

    I made this cake for my writers group, and it turned out really well. Very dark and moist. I like that it’s not too sweet, which means the chocolate flavor stands out. The recipe specifies a 12-cup Bundt pan, but my 10-cup pan was large enough because the cake didn’t rise that much. It took longer than 45 minutes to bake in my oven so definitely test with a toothpick.

  19. kelly says

    I have made this recipe for the past several years and everyone begs me to make it again. I did modify it a little by using EXTRA dove candy bars (large) and Hershey syrup to add to the topping as sauce.

  20. Carrie says

    Hi Anna,

    Is there another glaze that I could use for this cake? No corn syrup. Could you use honey or molasses? Or can you recommend another kind of glaze or topping?



  21. Katie says

    This cake is BEAUTIFUL. But, it is not nearly sweet enough! For the ganache I even changed it to 1/2 CUP of corn syrup, instead of 1/2 Tbs. Next time I will definitely use semisweet chocolate, instead of bittersweet and maybe even some extra sugar. But it was very moist.

  22. Jacqueline says

    Made the ganache only. My first ganache and it was perfect. Husband and guests were all wowed. Couldn’t ask for more. Easy peasy , looked great . Tasted heavenly. .i prefer milk chocolate so was thinking i would use milk chocolate instead next time . Would you know how i should change the amount of choc for that?

  23. says

    Hi Jacqueline, I’m so glad you liked the cake! For the ganache, you can just switch out the dark chocolate for milk. I would keep the bittersweet chocolate and cocoa as is for the cake itself, though. Using milk chocolate might make it too sweet, and if you cut the sugar than you change the chemistry of the recipe. That being said, there are a few good milk chocolate bundt cake recipes out there. Better Recipes has one made with milk chocolate and Hershey’s Syrup. I prefer a more chocolaty cake so I stick with dark. I do think a milk chocolate ganache would be good.

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