A long time ago, when I was a itty-bitty Alex who liked to run around in her PJ's all day and refused to wear actual clothes until she was well past 8 years old, my Mother baked me my own cake for my birthday.
It was a lovely box mix yellow cake with lovely Pillsbury white frosting slathered all over it. She made it in her Bundt Cake pan, and after she had frosted it completely, she decided it would be a great idea to stick a little doll figure angel in the middle of the cake. She then had an even better idea, which was to surround said doll figure with candles.
Fiery candles of death.
I don't think anyone in the room thought it was the best idea, but she went with it anyway. And as she lit the candles, I still remember to this day the image in my head of that poor helpless doll sitting on top the middle of a thickly frosted bundt cake, surrounded in flames. As if the doll was being made as an ancient sacrifice to Chthulu and the candles were the natives lighting their torches getting ready for the sacrifice to their angry God.
Ok, so I wasn't exactly thinking that when I was a kid. But when I think about it today, that's all I see.
Now-a-days, It's hard for me to look at a bundt cake without thinking about that moment. It's not often that I eat bundt cakes. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't like cake. It's not my preferred dessert of choice and given the chance I will always pick something other than cake at the dessert table or party. Sure, I'll try it to be nice, but that's about as far as it goes for me. As I've touched on numerous times in my blog, it's no specific thing about cake that makes me dislike it. I just don't like the cake/frosting combo. Doesn't sit well with me or my tummy.
The thing about cake is that often, it has a dry crumb that gives it that kind of "stick to the roof of your mouth" chew that can be both unpleasant and yucky to many people. Dry crumbs are often caused by 1. using cake mix and 2. having not enough moisture in your cake. I've always thought anyone who can pull off a moist but not "wet" cake had a one in a million skill of being able to perfect the balance between a cake that has enough dryness in it to keep it together but has enough moisture to make it both tender, sweet, and melt-in-your-mouth quality.
This cake...is nothing like that. In fact, it's a superb way to end any meal, or start any day with a thick slice for breakfast. The glaze on top is subtley sweet, giving a perfect finish to the caramely tasting insides. The crumb is both moist and satisfying, and the chocolate chips inside are just a fantastic added bonus that ties it all together and makes it much more than just a regular ol' cake with some glaze on it. Even I myself could be found picking off pieces of this cake here and there throughout the day. And that's definitely saying something.
If you wanted to, you could make the glaze a lot thicker. I like a thinner glaze on my cakes, so I used a bit more heavy cream. But if you like a thicker, more visually apparent glaze, go ahead and stick with the recipe below. And please, do not disclude the chocolate chips. They are worth the extra trip to the store. Promise.
Brown Sugar Bundt Cake with Maple Espresso Glaze
(Recipe by Bon Appétit)
(Recipe by Bon Appétit)