Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chocolate Bundt Cake Soaked in Coffee Syrup: I wanna hold your hand

For Husband: I'd still say yes.

June 30th will be the 10th wedding anniversary for Husband and me.  It's hard to imagine that it's already been 10 years, but when I think about what we've done during the 10 years, it's even harder to believe that we've survived our marriage without killing each other.  Within those 10 years have been 3 international moves, 3 kids, 3 different job changes, and more than 3 arguments and fights.  10 years is almost not enough time for all of those things to happen.  I know God's grace has kept us together all of these years.

Once again, it is an anniversary where Husband and I will be separated. If I had known that 8 out of 10 anniversaries would have been spent apart, I would have been married on a different day. (There is always some sort of conference that encompasses June 30th, so he is never around.)  I'm pretty used to it though, and not hurt by it because after all, it is only a DAY and we should we celebrating the joys of our marriage daily, not just on our wedding day.  I contemplated celebrating it by spending it alone, without the kids, but that seemed somewhat counter intuitive.

But as it is our 10th anniversary, Husband has decided that he wants to get me something rather nice for this one.  He continually asks, "What should I get you?  Watch?  Ring?  Necklace?  Jewelry?  Diamonds?" and to his question, I really didn't have any answer.  I'd tried thinking about what might be something I might really enjoy or want and keep drawing a blank.

Until after we finalized the purchase of our home, and then I decided I wanted LANDSCAPING.  I want to fix the exterior of the house (since the interior is going to be a series of crazy different projects if I can get my head around them and IF we decide it's worth the discomfort of going through a remodel) and clean up the yard, add some more concrete, create a lovely patio and do all of these things.  I also thought a garden full of flowers that I love (peonies, dahlias, ranunculus) and a vegetable garden growing some Korean vegetables would be like the anniversary present that keeps giving!  Husband hates buying flowers that die, so planting some in a yard would be like forever flowers forever!  Right?

WRONG.  The murmurs of outrage I heard from various people, INCLUDING HUSBAND were disheartening and bubble popping.  Most of the girlfriends advised me that if we ever SOLD the house, then the 10th anniversary present would essentially be gone.  I kept on arguing that I'd have the pictures of it, and the memory of it but they told me it needs to be something for me.  I'm very practical and thought that landscaping would be a way for me to get something I really want and also something for the house at the same time. Husband told me he'd rather buy something for ME and not for the house, as he doesn't really see the house as the place he'd want to invest right now.  Truthfully, I wasn't thinking about the landscaping as any sort of investment, but was simply rather just thinking about it as something I wanted.  Investment?  What's that?

And in the end, I'm really back at square one with nothing that I want, except maybe to sit with Husband together, and make this cake for him and hold his hand on our anniversary.  I know he'd love the moist texture of the cake, the flavor of the cake and the coffee glaze with its simultaneous sweetness and bitterness would be just the perfect finish for him.  And I'd watch him eat it, hold his hand and that would be my perfect gift.  Since that isn't going to happen.  I'm back at square one.  And I'm still thinking of what I'd like to receive.

Happy Anniversary Husband!  This one is for you!  Love you forever.
Chocolate Bundt Cake Soaked with Coffee Syrup
Makes 10-inch bundt cake, serving 12 to 14

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder (I used Hersheys Special Dark which gives the cake a super dark color, but any other good quality cocoa powder will be fine.)
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Coffee Syrup
⅔ cups granulated sugar
⅓ cup water
2 or 3 tablespoons instant coffee (depending on what kind you have, how strong you like coffee - adjust according to your taste.)

Place rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour inside of 10 inch bundt pan.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Using either a stand mixer (paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar and beat at medium-high speed until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating for 30 to 40 seconds after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract. At low speed, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with sour cream. (Add a bit of flour, a bit of sour cream, a bit of flour, a bit of sour cream, a bit of flour.)

Scoop batter into pan and spread evenly with spatula.

Bake cake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then invert it onto another rack.

While cake is baking, make syrup. Combine sugar, water and coffee in a small saucepan. Mix to allow coffee to dissolve. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Using a pastry brush, dab syrup generously all over surface of the warm cake, allowing it to soak into the cake before reapplying. Let the cake cool completely.
Printable recipe

the bundt pan I use and love

cocoa powder I used...and a decent price (but you need to buy a LOT of it.)


Jessica said...

I'd say why not go for the landscaping if that's what would make you really happy? My husband and I prefer to celebrate our presents to be experiences like going to a nice dinner and/or a show rather than watch or necklace.

Anonymous said...

nothing wrong with wanting landscaping or a remodel, sometimes the best gifts are the things we can't take with us. The enjoyment you'd get from having a pleasant environment inside or out is immeasurable. I say go for it!

Anonymous said...

where you lead, I shall the oven right now!

Laura said...

Hey Joanne, this looks great...I've been wanting to make a chocolate Bundt cake. I've been staying away from caffeine though for health reasons, do you have any other suggestions for the glaze?

kyung said...

I love the idea of landscaping, something you would be able to enjoy everyday. And your flower choices are my favorite as well! It would be lovely with the Korean greens along side of them.

sillie smile said...

i think you should get a gift, and then slowly work on the landscaping- since it's an investment in the future value of your house! :)

milk your 10th anniversary and try to get both!!

Carolyn said...

happy 10 year anniversary to you and your hubby :)

jules said...

This looks and sounds amazing. Ya just can't beat a great bundt...on the to-do list for sure

Anonymous said...

I say, go for the landscaping! You will see it every day that you live at that house and it is so hard to sell a house now you will probably be there for a long time, anyway. If you do sell the house, the landscaping adds a ton to the value, so he can use that profit to get you something ELSE! I get so mad when somebody gives you a choice and when you choose, they tell you why your choice isn't the right thing! Husband asked you what you wanted and he has to stick by that offer - ha ha that is why my husband would never make that offer. :) Blueberry/lemon/ginger bundt was a hit - this one is next!


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