Have you guys made your sourdough starter yet? No? What are you waiting for? Sorry, I don’t mean to be pushy. The scientist in me just thinks it’s a really fun project to have a living thing in the fridge, especially when it’s so low maintenance and can be used in a ton of ways (pancakes, anyone?). And the fact that it’s not dead like all of the plants I try to keep makes me feel uber responsible.
Still not convinced? Need another reason? Two words: chocolate cake. It’s pretty much the last thing I would have expected you could make with a sourdough starter, but it absolutely works! It also happens to be the perfect way to usher in the weekend I haven’t made a bundt in a while so that’s the route I took with my cake, but a 13×9 pan would also work here. And I think a naked bundt is sad, so I added a little glaze on the top to dress it up. The cake is moist and fluffy – mine was even better on the second day, so wrap it and wait if you can. If you had no idea there was sourdough starter in the cake, I don’t think you’d be able to guess. I was really trying to pick it out, and could detect the faintest hint of the classic yeasty scent, but still couldn’t taste it in the cake. The recipe makes a giant bundt, so you’ll need a few friends and a couple of glasses of milk to help you finish it off!
One quick note – you need “fed” sourdough starter to make your cake. All that means is that instead of pulling your starter from the fridge and using it immediately, you need to feed it before making the cake. The night before you are ready to bake, you remove 1 cup of the starter and feed what’s left with 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water. Let it sit overnight at room temperature, and the next morning you’ll come back to find it bubbling away. It’s now “fed” starter you can use in your recipe! Just don’t forget to feed it again after you remove the portion you need to make the cake. If this sounds at all confusing, don’t worry – it’s simple, promise. If you need more information, refer back to these tips from King Arthur Flour.
Sourdough Chocolate Bundt Cake
adapted from King Arthur Flour
(Note: You can find step-by-step photos for this recipe on KAF’s site here. If you’d rather, you can bake the cake in a 13×9 pan instead of a bundt.)
1 cup (241 g) fed sourdough starter
1 cup (227 g) whole milk
2 cups (241 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (298 g) sugar
1 cup (198 g) canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup (64 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 teaspoon espresso powder
2 large eggs
In a large bowl, stir together the fed starter, milk and flour – it’ll be fairly thick. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours. The mixture will expand slightly.
Preheat oven to 350 F and place a rack in the bottom third. Spray a 12-cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Beat on low speed to combine – the batter will be grainy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the starter mixture to the batter, and beat on low until incorporated. This may take a few minutes, and you may need to scrape the starter off the paddle (the starter will have a slightly elastic quality that makes it stick to the paddle). Continue beating until the batter is smooth.
Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan and level the top. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out and let cool completely on the rack.
adapted from The Best Light Recipe by Cook’s Illustrated
1 cup (4 oz) confectioners’ sugar
5 teaspoons brewed coffee
3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
Combine everything in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cake; let set for about 15 minutes before serving.