Cake Walk...

Ordinarily, the arrival of my birthday would be a source of much anticipation and planning when it comes to cake selection. There aren't a lot of occasions during the year that justify the baking of an elaborate, multi-layered cake with frosting and festive decorations, so I try to seize them when they come along. This year, however, I just couldn't seem to muster much enthusiasm for the cause. I looked at my dessert board on Pinterest over and over trying to will inspiration to strike, but nothing captured my imagination.

Honestly, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted my standard, go-to chocolate cake, the one I've made maybe a dozen times before, often for my birthday. I've made it as a Bundt cake, like the recipe calls for, with and without the accompanying chocolate ganache, in a variety of decorative pans, and I've made it as a layer cake and blogged about it in the past. There really wasn't anything new that I could bring to this cake, nor did I wish to -- I just wanted the comfort of revisiting an old favorite.

So I apologize that I don't have something more interesting to share with you for this occasion, but the heart knows what it wants, and it's my birthday and I'll bake what I want to. Besides, in all my baking experience, I've still yet to come across another chocolate cake recipe that is this good. As a Bundt cake, it really couldn't be simpler, so this time around, I'm going to give you the instructions for that variation as well. If you want the best, uncomplicated chocolate cake for your baking repertoire, this is it my friends. Happy birthday to me!

Double Chocolate Bundt Cake 
adapted from The Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2007
For cake:
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. sugar
1 egg
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 c. water
1 c. buttermilk

For chocolate ganache:
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 c. heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with Pam.
1. Chop 2 oz of the chocolate in to small pieces of more or less equal size. In a large glass bowl, melt the chocolate by microwaving it for 10-second increments, stirring between each. Allow chocolate to cool slightly.
2. Stir vegetable oil and sugar into the chocolate until the mixture is smooth. Whisk the egg into the mixture.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and 1/2 cup of buttermilk and 1/2 cup of water. 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 into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Turn cake out of pan and allow to cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Melt the other three ounces of chocolate in a small glass bowl (as before), and combine with corn syrup and butter. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and and let it stand until melted, about 5 minutes.
6. Whisk ganache mixture until the texture is smooth. Allow the ganache to cool to a point where it is thick but still pourable (usually about 5 minutes).
7. Pour the ganache over the cake and allow it to stand until the glaze is completely cooled, usually about 30 minutes.

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