Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake with Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Glaze

Well, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and Easter is just days away, so I really don’t have a reasonable explanation as to why I would feel the need to create such a dark and intense dessert followed by moody and borderline-ominous photos.  The thing is, that just seems to be my frame of mind these days: well, not moody and ominous, but dark, rich, and chocolate-loving. In this case, my inspiration for the flavours of the cake came solely from a jar of dark chocolate covered espresso beans (the ones in the photos) that I bought a few weeks ago because, well, as you may have guessed if you follow my tweets on twitter, that I am often yearning for good coffee, chocolate, and caffeine in general. Sure, some may call that an addiction, but I prefer to call it a deep and passionate love affair. The style and photo inspiration came from a gorgeous blog I found a few months back through Pinterest, from this photo here, taken by John Cullen. The photo and cake are from designer Nikole Herriott‘s blog, who happens to be a local talent. She, among many other wonderful things, creates the most stunning and unique wooden pedestal plates. You can see them here. Let’s pray I can someday be the proud owner of one!

So, as any self-respecting chocolate and coffee addict would do, I decided to go ahead and try a chocolate espresso bundt cake and top it with a dark chocolate cinnamon glaze. If you happened to catch my recent post about the Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake with Vanilla Bean Glaze, you’ll remember that I am quite taken with bundt cake pans, even though my collection was pretty sad at a whopping 1 pan. Since then, I’ve added 2 more bundt pans to my collection, and couldn’t wait another day to get bundting. In this case, it’s actually an official Kugelhopf pan, which I really love, but the final cake took on a slightly less intricate shape, simply because the batter didn’t fill up the entire pan. I really didn’t mind, since it appears a bit more simple.

The cake itself is a rich, deep dark, chocolate cake kept moist with butter and sour cream. The method of warming the butter and cocoa on the stove first, then whisking in the remaining ingredients, was a first for me, but I feel it was a success, and it was kind of a welcomed change. I decided to add some cinnamon to the dark chocolate glaze because I love the combination of espresso and cinnamon; it’s reminiscent of my beloved triple-lattes sprinkled with cinnamon, but it also adds a neat, almost Mexican, dimension to the cake.  I should add, though, that the flavour of the espresso powder and cinnamon in the glaze is subtle, and really just boosts and enhances the amazing flavour of the dark chocolate, both in the cake and glaze. 

That’s also why I feel it’s really important to use the best quality chocolate you can. I made this cake a few days ago, and just tried it today for the first time (once I finally had the chance to photograph it!). I was really surprised at how amazingly moist it was, and the flavours really came together nicely, I imagine even more so than day 1. I suppose that’s one of the many wonderful things about bundt cakes, and one of the reasons why they are quickly becoming a favourite on my love-to-bake list.

From a photography perspective, you may have noticed that, up until now, I tend to love taking bright, white backgrounds, and uber-happy baked-good photographs. Well, that certainly hasn’t changed, but I’ve secretly always been absolutely smitten with dark, moody food photographs, however, as I discovered today, they definitely require a mental shifting of gears. Perhaps it’s mainly because I have never attempted it before, and because I’m pretty new to food photography, but it was tricky at first. In the end, I found it most effective to underexpose the photos a bit and to avoid too much incoming window-light. I’m not sure if that’s how the pros would do it, but it’s what I found worked for me to achieve the look I was going for.

I also found that boosting the photos in Photoshop (I always start with The Pioneer Woman’s “Boost” action), really helped to bring the depth to the photo. Speaking of the pros, I have some serious professional food-photographer crushes these days, such as John Cullen, Tina Rupp, Jim Norton (who actually shot some of my work recently!), and Katie Quinn Davies–they have all mastered this type of photography, among others, which is why I consider each of their portfolios the ultimate food-photography inspiration. I was lucky enough to have an array of Grant’s grandmother’s (Nanny) vintage silver cake and sweet serving dishes complete with the perfect patina for the dramatic vibe I was going for. Love when that happens! This photo above makes me think of a ghostly tea party, of sorts. Now that I think about it, perhaps the vibe of this photo shoot is a side-effect of the hauntingly beautiful Black Swan we watched late last night by candlelight and the pattering sound of rain outside.

I hope you’re having a not so dark-and-ominous weekend, but that you enjoy this cake (most definitely not a dark-and-ominous experience.).

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake with Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Glaze


    For the Cake:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks)(227 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) high quality dark Dutch process cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) instant espresso powder dissolved into 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (4 g) salt
  • For the Glaze:
  • 4 oz (114 g) high quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup (76 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) ground cinnamon


    For the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 10-12 cup bundt pan or Kugelhopf pan.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; add cocoa, stirring until smooth. Whisk in the espresso water and remove from heat.
  3. Add the sugar, sour cream, vanilla and eggs to the warmed cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add all at once to the first mixture, whisking until well blended.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch and has slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan. Cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake with a knife and invert onto a large plate.
  5. For the Glaze:
  6. Place the chocolate, butter, corn syrup and cinnamon in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir the mixture using a rubber spatula until melted and smooth.
  7. Assembly of the Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake with Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Glaze:
  8. Pour warm glaze over bundt cake. Keep covered in a cake-keeper at room temperature for up to 4 days.

[cake recipe adapted from Chocolate Bundt Cake from]

[glaze recipe adapted from Baked Explorations]

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

Good luck & enjoy!

Share the Sweetness!


  1. says

    Rosie…everything you do is GORGEOUS! This cake is just……WOW!!!! Although you love bright & cherry pics with you’re amazing desserts – this is such a nice change. We all need change…good change ;)
    I love the shape…I think I’m going to google some bundt cake pans now.
    Thank you for the post! Enjoy your cake!!

    • says

      Thank, Guilia! I love and adore that photo/cake of Nikole’s, and have had it in my favourite photos on Pinterest now for months! I wanted to include a link to her fabulous blog and designs, but got completely distracted. Going to update the post and share the link with my readers right now! Thanks!

  2. Audrey says

    Beautiful pictures, they remind of Dutch still life paintings, so rich looking! Can’t wait to try the recipe too, sounds delicious, perfect for any chocolate/coffee addict!

  3. Laura Lee says

    That looks like a nice cocktail party cake…so sophisticated. The photography is amazing, seeing as your cake still pops out with the dark background. Well done Rosie!

  4. says

    Rosie, I love it. This cake is a work of art and when I saw those deep points and curved lines I had a sneaking suspicion you used a bundt pan! I’ve always been a bit nervous to try my hand at the dark and moody food photo, the lighting always seemed like a challenge but i certainly think you have overcome it. You’re baking is, as always, an inspiration.

  5. says

    These photos are not dark and omninous but rather rich and actually sensuous in a beautiful chocolate bundt cake with chocolate drizzle way. Love that the cake is on a beautiful(is that pewter?) plate and that you have the pedestal stands in the background with the sliced pieces. Just gorgeous!

  6. says

    This looks so beautiful and absolutely delicious. I’ll definitely be trying it. As much as I love your usual cheery fare, I adore this change of pace – keeps things interesting.

  7. Amy Nguyen says

    Wow! Thank you so much for providing this post! You will not believe all of the batches I’ve made and hours wasted while attempting to makes SMB! I have watched plenty of YouTube tutorials and learned that if you keep whipping it will all come together, but for some reason, my frosting was still curdled and scary-looking… I will have to try again with your method.

  8. says

    Um, yeah, you pulled it off! I’m with you, I love the dark moody photos. I’m definitely still trying to master this type of photography.

  9. says

    Wow… that cake looks completely sinful! I love it! Great styling, in all your pics. I too have fallen in love with bundt cake pans. When I bought 2 at the same time my husband couldn’t understand why I needed 2! Do you find that when you bake with the bundt pans your cooking time changes much?

  10. says

    Your photos certainly turned out beautifully. You couldn’t have made this cake look any more delectably “moody” or enticing. Really exceptional! Lovely post and wonderful recipe.

  11. says

    You’re blog is literally so SWEET! I loved your idea, and the way you post, the layout, everything.
    I’m here looking at your sweets – that look amazing – and wishing you had a shop in Vancouver haha (I don’t know any place here where I can find cakes and sweets that look delicious and not dry like yours). I have never baked before but am going to try at least one of the recipes! :) Thanks for sharing!

    I have a blog too, I’m going to link yours there, more people should know about it!

  12. Nilooo says

    Rosie , From where do u get this inspiration??? I believe u r an amazing person and may God bless u with all beautiful things to get more and more inspiration…Just love and love ur blog…Keep it up!!!

  13. says

    Just found your blog and am totally smitten :) I want to try so many of your recipes already! Another inspiring photographer is Sharyn Cairns ( who is known for the drama and dark tones in her photos. Seems like you nailed it in this post… beautiful cake, styling, and lighting!

  14. says

    Can’t get enough of chocolate! The given pictures accompanied with the instructions make your recipe easy to comprehend, thank you. It also provides readers an idea as to how the finish product will most likely to look like.

  15. Karen says

    The photography is gorgeous… and this cake is DIVINE. It’s perfectly decadent without weighing you down. My family and my boyfriend’s coworkers loved it. The only change I made was to use semi-sweet instead of bittersweet chocolate in the glaze, simply due to family preference. I am thrilled to have stumbled upon your blog in an earnest search for a chocolate-espresso dessert! Thank you! :)

  16. says

    Hi Rosie!

    I found your website via someone who had pinned one of the gorgeous images above to Pinterest. You don’t have to convince me to the beauty and joys of (certain) bundt cakes ~ in fact, I happen to have this same gorgeous pan (I’m addicted to Nordic Ware cast aluminum bakeware!). I’ve only baked Kugelhopf and other sweet yeast breads in this pan so far, but happen to be a coffee & chocolate aficionado and when I saw your photo, I knew I had to bake THIS recipe :-) Since I now know you love bundt cakes, I will email you my recipe for a butterscotch & chocolate (only a little chocolate) bundt with brown sugar fudge glaze (unfortunately, I’ve never had a chance to photograph it yet, despite making it several times ~ pieces of it disappear too quickly into tummies!). It’s a surprisingly light and deliciously moist cake, and so simple to make. I think you’ll like it. Anyway, I’m glad I’ve found your lovely cooking blog ♥

    ~ marie, the EpicureanPiranha

  17. Serena Arlington says

    OMG!!!!!!! I REPEAT!!!!! OMG!!!!! When i read the title i was like, ooooooohhh myyyyy gosh, ive sooooooo got 2 try this it sounds delicious. oh yeah and here’s something shocking: im eleven. i am in love with making cakes and baking cookies and stuff like that and was searching every corner of google for a good website that had cool recipies. guess what? found it. your website just totally made my favorites list!!!! thanks so much for creating it!!!!!!

  18. Yasmin Anderson says

    I’ve made this cake twice now. The flavour is amazing. However the cake is not so tender and feels hard to the touch. Is this how it is supposed to be? More dense and brownie like instead of a cake? I was wondering if I did something wrong. Not that that matters because its devoured withing the hour. Thank You so much!

  19. says

    Oh wow ! Your pictures are so amazing ! Everything is so appetizing ! I’m French and I’ve never tasted a bundt cake…Now I know I really have to try! Your website is really beautiful. Have a nice day!

  20. jeanne says

    made this tonight for a party and the flavor was incredible! but ithe cake was a bit too crumbly, a wee bit too dry. i didn’t bake too long, but i wonder if I overbeat it when adding flour in? Anyway, it was a hit, everyone loved it and it was so easy to throw together! Thanks!

  21. mayK says

    Hello ~ a really beatiful cake and photograf.
    I would just remind you of the eggs in the recipe , I had to go to your source to get that;)

  22. Neev says

    Loved the cake made it for my MIL wedding anniversary. Turned out good. The icing was a lil thick, can u pls tell me what can be used to replace corn syrup??

  23. ruby says

    The cake looks amazing! Congrats!
    I just want to know the brand of the pan. I supossed it´s nordic ware, but I don´t sure, I was looking for this pan in amazon and I couldn´t find it.
    Thanks in advance for your response.

  24. TomD says

    Hi Rosie,

    Sorry, I realize that is an old blog, but can this cake be made with cake flour? I have to tell you that all of your cakes are wonderful. I made the Millionaires cake for my birthday back in February and it was an absolute “to die for” hit.

    Thank you so much, Tom :)

  25. Amina says

    I made this for a party. Everyone loved it. It was a huge hit. I made it with a chocolate buttercream frosting with cinnamon and cayenne. Thanks for the recipe.

  26. Carol says

    What a stunning cake…I had to make my first one in a bundt pan I really didn’t care for and the cake came out well but…the shape of the cake held no candle to this bundt pan you have. I searched the web for this pan… found a couple of them at 85.00 and 77.00 dollars, way out of my price range. I haven’t made the cake again., I couldn’t do it justice with out the pan…it was stuck in my mind to have this pan;. I go every so often to e-bay and low and behold there it was in the gold series…I bought right away…well my second cake is in the oven. baking away. My birthday girl will love it..This cake is so moist and rich you only need a slim piece. I serve it with extra granche and fresh raspberries. Thank you again for posting. This is my go to special cake. Only special people i love get this one. This was a two yr search for the pan but it was well worth it. Sorry this is so long but I had to tell you the story. Have a great day, :)


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