Late yesterday afternoon we begrudgingly packed up our bags and bid a sad farewell to Las Vegas.  Before we arrived, I wasn’t sure it would be our thing.  When it comes to vacations, we’re beach people.  Gambling and partying until all hours of the night?  Not so much.  But we knew Las Vegas had more to offer – shows, food(!!), shopping, sites – so we took a chance.  Less than 24 hours into the trip, we knew we’d made a good decision; the trip was a blast!  Even those 105 degree days weren’t nearly as scary as I anticipated.  So, it was not easy to jump on that plane and head home but unfortunately, it had to be done.  I even got some work done on the flight.  We finally pulled into our driveway around 1 am last night and crashed.

Today there are suitcases waiting to be unpacked and lots of laundry to follow once they are, but first, I think there might be some baking in my future.  Believe it or not, we didn’t overindulge on desserts on our trip, so no need to swear off treats here.  I baked this chocolate bundt a few weeks before we left, and there’s a good chance it’ll be on the agenda again this weekend.  The first cake was shared with my mom and her coworkers, the second will probably stay right here with us.  This is a lightened up version of a traditional chocolate bundt – all of the butter has been replaced with vegetable oil, and some of the chocolate replaced with cocoa powder.  It’s still decadent (especially with the glaze), and definitely a good choice if you need a chocolate cake fix.  I halved the recipe and made mine in a 6-cup bundt pan, the baking time was about 30 minutes.  I loved the consistency and flavor of the coffee glaze too, though the instant espresso granules in mine didn’t fully dissolve, which gave it a bit of a spotty appearance.  The glaze would still be delicious without it, so I’ve noted the instant espresso as optional below.


Light Chocolate Bundt with Coffee Glaze
adapted from The Best Light Recipe by Cook’s Illustrated

1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup (2 1/4 oz) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 cup boiling water
2 cups (14 oz) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

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.

Whisk the flour, salt and baking soda together in a medium bowl.

Add the chocolate, cocoa powder and instant espresso to a large heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the mixture, then cover the bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth and the mixture is combined. Let cool for about 2 minutes.

Add the brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla to the chocolate mixture, and whisk vigorously until smooth. Sift half of the flour mixture over the batter and gently whisk to incorporate. Sift in the remaining flour mixture and whisk gently until combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan and level the top. Bake for about 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out and let cool completely on the rack.

Coffee Glaze
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.

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