Chocolate Tree Bundt Cake

A guaranteed crowd pleaser. Every single time. As an amateur at pretty much everything, I don’t ever like to toot my own horn but with this chocolate cake, what else can I do?

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OK. Maybe a small stretch in taking all the credit. What makes this cake so special over the holidays is not the fact that it is delicious, or chocolate. It is the fact that I make it in a bundt pan that only comes out in our house once a year at Christmas time. It’s a tradition I started when I indulged myself and bought this exquisite Nordic Ware pan. It was a bit of an indulgence even though I found it at Winners on sale. I have never once looked back. Only absolute pride. I even have the original card label, price and all, to remind me that sometimes, it’s OK to spoil yourself. It is such a gorgeous pan that when I decorate for the holidays, I leave it out as part of my decor. I mean, look at the little train tracks running around the base. How cute is that.

“Chocolate Tree Bundt Cake” by loopylocks
Makes enough for 8 ‘whole tree’ or 16 ‘half tree’ servings
prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water (or coffee)

Directions (see baking variations below if you choose to bake in a different pan):
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan with non-stick spray, oil or butter. Tip -dust the pan with cocoa powder (a trick to remember for whenever you are baking chocolate cake instead of using plain flour).
Nordicware Holiday Tree Baking Pan
With the flat paddle attachment, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of your electric mixer. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. On the stir speed add the boiling water (or coffee). Be careful doing this as it can be quite runny and splatter. You can choose to manually stir the boiling water into the batter with a spatula if you prefer. This step makes the batter very thin and runny which is how it is supposed to be.
 
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Pour batter into greased bundt pan. Use a cookie sheet underneath for ease. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a serving dish of choice. Any longer and you run the risk of the cake sticking to the pan. If it does, then carefully remove the broken cake bits and reassemble. It happened to me with this cake here because I forgot to dust the greased pan with cocoa powder. In fact, I challenge you to find the 1-2-3 peaks that are sadly broken. Psst. No one will ever know once you add the snow!
Chocolate Tree Bundt Cake by loopylocks
It is important to let the cake cool completely. Otherwise the icing sugar will melt on contact, much like snow when the weather is just hovering around zero. This is actually my favourite part. If you are taking this cake with you to a festive gathering, I like to take it “sans snow”. Just bring a small sifter and the icing sugar in a Ziploc or cute little jar. When it is time for desert, let the snow fall on your chocolate cedars! It is simply beautiful and so fun to watch. If you an Instagram fan, check out the magic.  Happy Holidays!
Chocolate Tree Bundt Cake by loopylocks
Baking Variations:

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into greased pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into greased pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin trays (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper liners. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

I cannot take credit for developing this recipe. Amateur, remember? I found it online on the Hersheys Kitchens site, called “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake. Several years ago, I was looking for a simple chocolate cake that a non-baker like myself could make in a cinch with no errors and no fuss. Simple cocoa power. The results are remarkable. Almost no fail every time. Unless you are like me and forget to add the eggs which I have done. Follow it to T and you simply cannot go wrong.  I actually bake this year round for any and every occasion. Ask my children. They have been known to refuse a serving because I keep killing it. Rough life. It does not have to be made as a bundt but I love bundts. They are the easiest to serve and always look wonderful.

 
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