This week’s recipe: Chocolate Bundt Cake with Whiskey Glaze
The 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. What a surreal thing to type. What a surreal world to live in. People who are smarter and more eloquent than I am have written about what it feels like to be living in a world where the person who got the most votes didn’t win; a world where it seems like the only qualification for being a cabinet member is a complete lack of qualifications; a world where a man who literally praised Darth Vader and Satan as his role models penned the inaugural address; a world of “alternative facts,” in Kellyanne “The Crypt Keeper” Conway’s instantly immortal coinage. But darkness – in every sense – is Steve Bannon’s friend, not mine, so I’m going to focus on the wonderful thing that happened yesterday.
I got up in the morning and started working on my sign, which read, “Better Feminazis Than Neo-Nazis.” Mark and I made our way over to my synagogue, which was serving as the meeting place for a number of synagogues on the Upper West Side, but as we approached it we saw that there were hundreds of people hanging out on the sidewalk. I asked someone what was going on and he explained that the synagogue was over capacity and fire marshal wouldn’t let anyone else in. That basically set the tone for the rest of the day, which had a bigger turnout nationwide than any of us could have hoped for, especially considering that it started off as a random, disorganized Facebook event. The Upper West Side contingent – over a thousand of us – began marching downtown, with plans to turn east on 52nd Street, but the message came down that we’d have to go all the way down to 42nd Street and turn there because there were so many people. Everyone took the news with excellent cheer, knowing that it meant that turnout was bigger than anyone had planned.
We turned on 42nd Street and marched through Times Square, singing “This Land is Your Land,” as people on the sidewalk and in stores cheered us. The police (who could not have been more courteous and professional, by the way) escorted us and made sure we stopped for traffic every once in a while, but I’ve certainly never seem Times Square that empty. At 5th Avenue, we joined up with the main march, which had started at the UN. I’ve never seen anything like it. Every inch of the street and sidewalk teemed with women and men of all ages, sizes, and colors, cheering and chanting and holding up signs. Although it was extremely crowded and verrrrry slow progress as we made our way towards Trump Tower (seriously, doesn’t it seem like an evil dictator in a not-very-original movie would live atop a giant black glass monolith?), the sun was shining and everyone was in a great mood.
I knew what they were feeling. The inauguration was so depressing. The last several months have been so depressing. This was one of the first times I’ve felt hopeful again. They have the power, for now, but we have the numbers. There are so many women (and men) out there who are strong and funny and clearheaded, and we’ll need people with those qualities more than ever in the years ahead. We’ll need people who won’t be fooled by an administration whose members lie every time they open their mouths, even about crap as trivial and easily disproven as the size of the crowds or the weather at the inauguration. We’ll need men to stand up for women, for straight people to stand up for queer people, for white people to stand up for racial minorities, for Christians to stand up for religious minorities, for the rich to stand up for the poor, and for the able-bodied to stand up for the disabled. There is a ton of work ahead but yesterday was a heartening start. It was a reminder, after an election that was practically and symbolically crushing for women, that we are powerful. I can’t remember the exact wording now, but I once read something to the effect of, “Why is ‘pussy’ a synonym for weak? Vaginas are made of pure muscle and, despite being a small hole, can push another human being out of themselves. You know what’s actually weak and sensitive? Balls.” Trump and his buddies think they’re such strong men for pushing women around. They’d better get used to what they saw yesterday, because we’re not going away and we’re not going back.
So anyway, here’s a cake (I finally got to use the title of the blog!) For this cake’s gorgeousness, much credit must be given to my boyfriend Mark. This is our busiest time of year at work, and after having finally been released from jury duty, I’ve had to stay late most nights to catch up. In between, I searched many stores for the black cocoa powder that the recipe calls for, to no avail. Mark finally found some Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder at Morton Williams, of all places, thereby saving me from having to use (gasp) regular cocoa powder. I was overwhelmed at how beautiful the effect was. You can’t see it that well from the picture but the cake was so rich and chocolate-y looking. It was totally worth it, even though, like all Baked recipes, this one required at least three bowls. I then slathered it with a glaze that perfectly cut the sweetness with whiskey, and I have to say that, three days after I first baked it, it’s still incredibly moist and delicious, and Mark and I are eating it for breakfast like champs.
Black Chocolate Bundt Cake with Whiskey Glaze
From Baked Occasions
- ½ cup (40 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder, such as Valrhona
- ¼ cup (20 g) unsweetened black cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1 cup (240 ml) hot coffee
- 2¼ cups (285 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2¼ cups (495 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (210 ml) canola oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1½ cups (360 ml) heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2½ to 3 cups (280 to 340 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 3 tablespoons good-quality whiskey
- Chocolate sprinkles (optional)
- Make the Black Cocoa Bundt: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter the inside of a 12-cup Bundt pan, dust with cocoa powder, and knock out the excess. Alternatively, liberally apply a nonstick cooking spray, dust with cocoa, and knock out the excess. Either way, make sure the pan’s nooks and crannies are all thoroughly coated.
- Place both cocoa powders and the instant espresso powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the hot coffee directly over the powders and whisk until combined. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
- In another large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, oil, and vanilla until combined. Add the eggs and egg yolks and whisk again until just combined. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Whisk each addition gently to combine.
- Whip the cream (either by hand or with a standing mixer) just until medium peaks form. Fold one-third of the whipped cream into the batter to lighten it. Fold in half of the remaining whipped cream until just incorporated, then fold in the rest until no streaks remain.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the middle of the oven until a small sharp knife or toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Then gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack so that the crown is facing up. Place a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper, if you like, for ease of cleaning) underneath the wire rack.
- Make the Butter Whiskey Glaze: In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream. In three parts, add 2½ cups (280 g) confectioners’ sugar, whisking to combine after each addition. Add the whiskey and whisk until uniform. The glaze should be thick and ropy, but pourable—not runny and thin. If the glaze looks too thin, add the remaining ½ cup (60 g) confectioners’ sugar and whisk to combine.
- Assemble the Black Cocoa Bundt: Pour the glaze over the room-temperature cake in thick ribbons; it will slowly drip down the sides. Add a few sprinkles to the top, if you like. Let set for about 15 minutes before serving.
- How to store: The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.