Tips: This cake, fine-grained but fudgy, calls for ruby
port. You needn't use the most expensive brand going, just one
of decent quality. You'll need a standard 12-cup bundt pan for
this recipe, 10" in diameter. Please do not use one of the very
lightweight models so readily available. They give very poor
baking results, and it's a shame to have a cake ruined by inferior
bakeware. My bundt pan has a black, nonstick finish and a good
heft to it. The glaze for this cake is optional, but will make
it look dressier. Otherwise, you can serve it plain or dusted
with confectioners' sugar. A distinct port flavor means the
cake will probably be most appreciated by adults. If you are
going to freeze this cake, freeze (and defrost) it before glazing.
- 4 squares
(4 ozs.) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 2 cups sifted
- 1/2 cup
unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
- 2-1/4 tsp.
- 1 tsp. baking
- 1/4 tsp.
- 3/4 cup
unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups plus
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 5 eggs,
- 3/4 cup
- 2/3 cup
- 3 squares
(3 ozs.) semisweet chocolate, chopped
- Few grains
- 1/4 cup
- 1 Tbsp.
Adjust rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
(300 degrees F if pan has a dark or black finish). Grease and
lightly flour a 10" diameter, 12-cup bundt pan, knocking out
any excess flour (I do this even if the pan has a nonstick finish).
Have ready a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil with which you
can loosely cover the cake while it bakes.
In small bowl over simmering water on low heat (water should
not touch bottom of bowl), melt chocolate, stirring often until
smooth. Remove from heat and hot water; set aside. Sift together
flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer (fitted with paddle beater,
if available), cream softened butter and sugar at medium speed
for three minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down bowl
and beater(s). At a low speed, add eggs, one at a time, beating
after each addition only until incorporated. When all eggs have
been added, scrape bowl and beater(s) well, then increase mixer
speed to medium; beat one minute. At a low speed, add melted
chocolate, which may still be slightly warm, and beat just until
At lowest speed, add about one-third of sifted dry ingredients,
beating only until mixed in. GRADUALLY add port wine, again
beating just until blended. Add half of remaining dry ingredients,
then gradually add water. Follow with remaining dry ingredients.
Beat just until each addition is incorporated, and be sure to
scrape bowl and beater(s) once or twice during this time. Because
this is a thick batter and there's a lot of it, I often have
to increase the mixer speed slightly to get the ingredients
to combine. If you still have trouble getting the last of the
dry ingredients to mix in, remove the bowl from the mixer and
use a sturdy whisk to finish the job and make sure the batter
Turn batter into prepared pan. Spread smooth, then run batter
higher along pan edges and tube, leaving a deep trench in the
middle (I use the back of a spoon to do this). Place in preheated
oven; cover loosely with foil. Close oven door. Bake 30 minutes;
quickly remove foil cover and turn pan back-to-front.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes longer (total baking time is 55 to 65
minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in center emerges with
a few moist crumbs still clinging to it. Do not overbake. If
top of cake begins to get too dark, re-cover loosely with foil.
Cool in pan about 15 minutes. Gently loosen edges; invert onto
cooling rack (a nonstick cooling rack is a great help here,
or spray a regular cooling rack very lightly with nonstick cooking
spray). Cool completely before glazing or serving.
Combine chopped chocolate and salt in small heatproof bowl.
Heat cream over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very
hot. Pour over chocolate. Place bowl over simmering water on
low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl), and stir/whisk
briefly just until smooth. Remove from heat and hot water. Whisk
in port. Allow to stand at cool room temperature about 30 minutes,
whisking occasionally, until cooled and slightly thickened.
Pour slowly over top of cake so glaze runs down sides unevenly.
Allow to stand at room temperature until glaze is set, then
serve. If cake is not served within 2 hours, refrigerate. Store
leftover cake in refrigerator. Note: once this cake is cold,
it becomes less delicate, so I prefer to glaze it shortly before
12 to 16 servings
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