Food

Tired of Sourdough Loaves? Try This Chocolate Sourdough Bundt Cake Recipe.

Mercy Me chef Johanna Hellrigl puts a twist on classic chocolate cake

Chocolate sourdough bundt cake is a great way to use sourdough discard. Photograph by Johanna Hellrigl.

So, you jumped on the sourdough bandwagon, eh? And now on day 568 (who’s counting?) of quarantine you are bored of loaves of bread. Johanna Hellrigl, executive chef of forthcoming “sorta South American” restaurant Mercy Me, has been giving away sourdough starters through Instagram and has turned into something of a local sourdough guru. She’s supplied us with a dreamy-looking chocolate sourdough bundt cake recipe to help you mix things up.

While Hellrigl’s Italian-American family was more likely to enjoy a flourless torta caprese growing up, she has fond memories of her next door neighbor’s chocolate bundt cake filled with chocolate chips and covered in a chocolate glaze (plus more chips!). Her past attempts to recreate it always ended up “too homemade,” so she’s come up with a cheffier version. It gets a little funk from the sourdough, and coffee is there to enhance the chocolate. Sweetened condensed milk gives the glaze a nice sheen without corn syrup.

“People are always looking for discard sourdough recipes, and almost everyone is looking for chocolate cake (subconsciously),” she notes.
If you have more sourdough questions, Hellrigl will be joining us for an Instagram Live Q&A at 4 PM on Friday, April 10. Check out her tips for making your own sourdough starter at the bottom of this post.

Chocolate Sourdough Bundt Cake

Makes one cake

For the cake:
1 cup of sourdough starter* (100-percent hydration—see recipe at the bottom)
2 cups all-purpose flour (substitute cake flour if you have it)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup 100-percent cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup brewed coffee, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mini or regular semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for garnishing

For the glaze:
14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
2 cups (12 ounces) dark chocolate feves (70%) or roughly chopped dark chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Mini or regular chocolate chips, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sourdough starter (should be fed the day prior—not just recently fed) with the flour and baking soda. Combine until there are no dry bits. Allow it to rest covered with a towel while you work on assembling the rest of your ingredients.

In a small pot, melt the butter at a low heat and whisk in the cocoa powder, salt and vanilla extract until smooth. Remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly.

Butter your bundt cake mold and dust with flour (or spray with pan spray) so it is ready to go when you finish making your batter.

In a mixer with the paddle attachment, add the brown sugar and granulated sugar to the bowl. Pour in the melted butter cocoa mixture and mix on a low setting until well combined. Add the eggs, one a time, to the mixture until fully incorporated. Add in the sourdough flour mixture, the coffee, and the sour cream and increase speed until everything is mixed together and smooth. Reduce speed to lowest setting and add in chocolate chips.

Bake the cake for 1 hour or more, until you poke it with a toothpick and it comes out clean. Let it cool completely before removing from bundt pan.

In a small pot, combine all of the ingredients for the glaze except for the heavy cream over low heat and stir together until chocolate is melted—not letting it ever come to a boil. At the end, add in as much heavy cream as you need to get the right consistency for glazing (usually 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup). Remove from heat and cool slightly before placing on top of the cake with chocolate chips.

Hellrigl’s tips for making your own sourdough starter at home

  • Buy a scale! You can’t do this without a scale.
  • Get some good flour, I recommend Anson Mills White Bread Flour for this. You definitely are better off using only white bread flour rather than only whole wheat so you can have versatility in your usage of the starter. You can mix the two and do 50/50 if you like.
  • I suggest using a quart sized mason jar where you can screw the lid loose and tighter when ready.
  • For the first time, measure out the weight of your jar so you always know how much weight you are starting with. I like to have two mason jars, one filled with starter and one empty, so you can always tare your jar before seeing how much starter you have.
  • To start your starter, mix 3 ounces of flour and 4.5 ounces (a 1:1.5 ratio) of room temperature filtered water together and then let it sit loosely covered with lid for 24 hours in a warm place. Use filtered water because DC’s water is way too chlorinated. Keep it in a warm place that is around 80 degrees, sometimes your oven off with the light on works great for proofing dough, as well as activating your sourdough starter.
  • The next day, scoop out all but 2.25 ounces of starter mixture and then add in another 3 ounces of flour and another 3.75 ounces of water (moving to a .75:1:1.25 ratio and leave around 80 degrees for 24 hours.
  • Repeat the same process for the next four days. If you start to see a lot of fermentation activity you can start feeding it the same ratios in 12 hour shifts, so essentially twice a day. This will help with the fermentation activity, but is not necessary.
  • After the first six days are completed, you can start to to keep only 2 ounces of the original starter and feed it 2.5 ounces of flour and 2 ounces of water. I like to do the 1:1.25:1 ratio for these warmer months. You should see it rise and fall daily.
  • Everyday, whatever you are discarding from this point forward is called discard, which can make recipes like this cake, or what you can use to make your levain for bread!
  • If you don’t want to feed it everyday, you can keep it in your fridge and feed it once a week. Be sure to let it rest for one hour and then feed it and let is rest for another two hours at a warm temp before placing back in the fridge.
  • For feeding moving forward, you can feed it all-purpose flour if you are limited on bread flour, but a good flour will help it ferment faster when initially starting your dough.

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.

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