Friday, March 10, 2017

Bundt #6 - Cherry Cheesecake Chocolate Bundt Cake

You know how, sometimes, the world just wants you to do something - and won't let you go until you do? That's kind of what the backstory on this Bundt cake was like.

A cousin of mine posted a link to the cake online and I watched it and thought "Looks interesting, but maybe too fussy." Then one of my sisters shared the link with me and suggested that it might be interesting. Then - just when I thought I'd forgotten about it - a friend from college posted an unrelated "Maybe you should make another Bundt cake" comment. So I gave in.

I started by watching the video. Not because I really wanted to, but because it's one of those really annoying autoplay videos that Facebook seems to be so proud of.

(The recipe and video are from "Tip Hero" - though I found the video on YouTube, having been placed there by someone promoting "Healthy Recipes" - which I find incredibly ironic, all things considered.)

Once I clicked through the video, I finally was able to find the actual recipe in the comments on the FoodNetwork Facebook page. I'll save you the hassle by putting it here (you should be able to click on the photos to enlarge them):

So... yeah... as I mentioned earlier - it's a little fussier than I usually go for, but - overall - it looked like it could be good.
As usual, we start by amassing ingredients. There were kind of a lot of them. And I had to actually go out and buy maraschino cherries and cherry pie filling, since they're not things we typically have in the house (unlike the Costo-sized bags of chocolate chips).

If you watched the video, you already have the basic idea of how this all comes together. We start with the dry ingredients:

Then we add butter to water on the stove: 
Not gonna lie. This felt very weird.
Then we realize that the recipe called for bittersweet chocolate, and not semi-sweet, and go dig around in the pantry to find the right kind of chocolate...

...which goes into the pan with the water, butter, espresso powder, and cocoa:

Are you ready for some exciting action shots? Check out the steam rising from the molten chocolate mixture in this next series of pictures!

For the record: that chocolate mixture, on its own, was really bitter, since all of the sugar was with the dry ingredients. Not that I was tasting it. Because that would mean that I put my fingers in it. And that would be bad. So it definitely did not happen. Maybe.
Sour cream goes in...

Eggs go in...

And it all gets beaten together:
At this point, it's the kind of dark chocolate batter you really want to eat with a spoon. Seriously.
In a separate bowl, the cream cheese, other egg, other flour, and vanilla get whipped up.
You know that spoon I mentioned, above? With this mixture, I'd drop the spoon and go for a spatula.
And the layering begins!

We start with the prepped pan getting melted butter, brown sugar, and maraschino cherries in it. I guess this is supposed to make it pretty when you flip it out. But we all know (if you've been paying attention) that nothing stays exactly where you want it to in these cakes. (We'll discuss this more, below.)

Next, I poured in a whole bunch of the batter. Then a "centered" layer of the cream cheese. (The recipe is very specific about making sure it does not touch the sides.) And covered that cream cheese with the canned cherry pie filling.
As we've discussed in the past, sometimes my pan gets a bit close to the edge of the counter. If that bothers you, please don't look.
The final step before baking is to pour in the rest of the batter to cover all of the filling. Unfortunately, since you have to guess at how much batter is going to need to go over the top, it makes it hard to know how much to reserve. (I think practice would help on this.)
That looks pretty good, right?
Well... we've still got a few cherries peaking through.
I was actually kind of amazed that this cooked up in a normal amount of time. The toothpick came out dry at about 55 minutes - right in the middle of the projected timeframe.
The cherries mostly disappeared... mostly.
What didn't work according to plan (and time) was the cooling and flipping out. I was following the recipe to the letter (I always try to do this on the first time through - especially for these blog posts), and I probably should have gone with my gut instinct, instead.

You see, if you don't let a cake cool long enough, the middle of it doesn't hold together when you're trying to flip it out. But... I don't want to take all of the blame on this one. I think that the whole "butter and brown sugar and maraschino cherries" business in the bottom of the pan may have played some part in this sticking to the pan.

Luckily, I'm persistent, so I eventually scraped most of the cake out of the pan and glued it back together. 
Remember how those cherries were placed in the bottom of the pan, ostensibly to decorate the top? Can you see how they migrated to about halfway down the sides? Not pretty.
And, thankfully, the whole thing got glazed, so the cracks disappeared by the time it went onto the table. 

And, even better, it actually held together well when we cut into it at book club that night. 
Now... really... what was the point of the maraschino cherries?
Alright... So... Fate really wanted me to make this cake. But was it worth it?

I think I might have to say yes. The flavors all worked really well together. The chocolate was pretty dark, and the cream cheese filling provided a sweet contrast. And - I'm a fan of chocolate and cherry, so that helped, too.

I would definitely change a few things if I make it again:
  • Get rid of the brown sugar/butter/maraschino cherry "garnish." It didn't add anything.
  • And... okay... that might be it. That stuff just really bugged me.

This was originally promoted as a Christmas/Holiday cake. And it would probably also go great for Valentine's Day. I have to say that it would be a bit dark and heavy for any of the warmer months of the year, so I'd recommend stocking up and making it when the next late-winter snowstorm rolls through. (Or - if you live somewhere warm - crank the A/C and enjoy!)

Thanks to those of you who nudged me into the Bundt cake. Keep the suggestions coming, and I'll see what I can do, next!

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