double dutch cocoa

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes

When I was a kid, Halloween was my absolute favorite holiday.

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

I mean, I’ve always loved Thanksgiving too, for the food of course, but as a young kid Halloween was the freakin’ best. Turkey and pumpkin pie are great and all but costumes and candy, and running around at night like a little lunatic with fake vampire teeth? Grandma’s cornbread dressing couldn’t hold a candle…

I’ve had countless costumes over the years, but I’ll never forget an especially uncomfortable year dressed as Frankenstein with tons of sticky green makeup and itchy stick-on eyebrows and neck bolts. After that, the simpler and more elegant Dracula was definitely my go to.
Each year I’d get a new costume complete with fangs, cape, and gold medallion, and as a young gay boy I already had all the crisp white button downs and black dress pants that were required but not included with the costume.  (No jeans and T-shirt for this little sissy boy!)
I think it really was the dressed up, fancy man aspect of Dracula that appealed to me most year after year, and it wasn’t until I found my grandma’s old wig in her bathroom closet that the appeal started to wear off…

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

These days I usually spend most of the month of October thinking up all sorts of witty, hysterical costumes that I could wear, but never do. The last time I dressed up was for work, about 4 years ago. I’d just started working at Whisk slinging fancy kitchen gear, and we all came up with this hilarious plan to come to work dressed as a Food Network star.
Group costumes are the best! What could go wrong?!?!

A few days later I show up to work in full Ina Garten regalia, and oops! Everyone either forgot or didn’t have time to get their costumes together.  One person, who usually works from home, loved the idea and actually did come in for an hour or two dressed as Alton Brown (essentially dressed as an older, nerdier version of himself) to take pictures, but everyone else either didn’t dress up or threw something else together at the last minute.
As I stood there working my full shift in an oversized navy blouse, huge clip on pearl earrings, lipstick, and an itchy bob wig; I vowed never again to be duped by allure of an amazing group costume idea.

I haven’t dressed up since.
Womp Womp.

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

Even though I’m too old for trick-or-treating and haven’t put on a costume in years, I really do still have a special place in my heart for Halloween.

I like to imagine that some day in the future I’ll be the type of adult who’s famous among his circle of friends for hosting amazing costume parties that are talked about for years to come. Basically I dream of one day throwing Halloween parties just like the ones on Roseanne, complete with decorations so elaborate and costumes so perfectly spot-on that everyone I know will try, and fail, to one-up me year after year.
By the way, am I the only one who’s ever wondered how the lower middle class Connor family, who always seemed to have trouble paying their bills on time, came up with all the money for their costumes and decorations?
I guess it doesn’t matter, but, like, that stuff ain’t cheap!

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

With all my dreams of Halloween entertaining one-upmanship, the minute I saw this adorable haunted skull cakelet pan, I knew that I HAD to have it.

You all know I love Nordic Ware. I’ve told you more than once twice three times (a lady), but after finally having a chance to use this pan you’ll have to excuse me as I wax poetic once again.

Nordic Ware has been making exceptional cookware and bakeware right here in the US for 70 years now, and even after all this time they’re still a family owned company. The bundt pan is by far their most famous and most popular product, but they also specialize in all sorts of elaborate and festively shaped baking pans. No one can compare to their quality and selection, and ALL of their pans are sturdy, heavy duty, ultra-non-stick, and unbelievably durable.
I should know! I put their pans through the ringer!

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

There is so much detail in these little skulls that I was worried it wouldn’t read once the cakes were baked, or that I’d have problems getting the cakes out cleanly from all the intricate details face and teeth. At this point I should have known that I had no need to worry. These little cakes released like a dream and all that detail came across with amazing definition in the finished cakes.

There’s actually so much detail in these little cakes, that even though I tried decorating them in several ways, I found that my favorite cakes were the simplest, with just a double coat of thin sugary glaze. Of course you can decorate them however you choose, but I really think the simpler, the better. In fact, as much as I love the creepy look of the bright red chocolate candy eyes, I worry that even they take away from the scary perfection of the little cakes as they were straight out of the pan.

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

The recipe below, simply adapted from my favorite chocolate bundt cake recipe, makes 12 mini skulls, or 2 pans worth. If you only have 1 pan, make sure you wash the pan really well between batches. I also recommend that you dry it well and throw it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before reapplying the butter and cocoa. Otherwise the pan will be warm from being washed and the butter will melt and make a mess when you try to dust it with cocoa.
If you don’t have this pan at all, you can get it here, or you can just make this recipe in one 10 cup bundt pan. It won’t be as scary to look at, but it’ll certainly taste just as chocolatey and delicious!

By the way, if you’ve never tried this trick before, using cocoa powder works just as well as flour to prevent the cakes from sticking to the pan, but helps the cakes look extra dark and chocolatey, rather than the dusty uneven look flour sometimes gives to the outside of chocolate cakes.

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

The flavor of these little cakes is deep dark chocolate perfect with a super tender and moist crumb. Thanks to that simple powdered sugar glaze, these little cakes almost taste like a reeeeeally good moist chocolate doughnut.

The Oreos, complete with cream (don’t use boxed crumbs!), add a really nice touch, especially if you leave some in nice big chunks so they don’t melt and disappear into the batter. Essentially you just want to put them in a plastic bag and crush ’em up with your hands or whack at them with a rolling-pin until there are no whole cookies left, but you still have lots of bigger pieces.

Now tell me, what kid (or adult) could resist a super moist chocolate cake filled with oreo cookie crumbs? Especially one in the shape of a cute-yet-terrifying little skull???

dark chocolate & oreo mini skull cakes | Brooklyn Homemaker

Dark Chocolate & Oreo Mini Skull Cakes

adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups strong hot coffee
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (I used “Double Dutch Cocoa“) plus extra for pan
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup peanut oil or any neutral vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups (about 1 package) roughly crushed oreos (NOT oreo cookie crumbs, you want the cream too)

For the Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For decorating (all optional):
Red M&Ms
Sanding or decorating sugar (black, red, or silver)
white mini nonpareils
More crushed Oreos

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Brush a skull cakelet pan (* see note) with softened butter, and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess.

Whisk coffee and cocoa together in a bowl together until free of lumps and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix together sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs and egg yolk on low for just one minute. Add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract and mix on low again for another minute.
Add the flour and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes more. Add the cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Finally, stir in the roughly crushed Oreos just until evenly distributed throughout. The batter will seem quite loose and liquid, it’s supposed to, don’t worry.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared cake pan, filling each cavity about 3/4 of the way up. This recipe makes two pans worth of batter. If you have two pans, you can bake them both at once, or once the first batch is out of the pan you can wash, dry, and cool the pan in the fridge before reapplying butter and cocoa and baking the remaining batter.
Bake for 20-30, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack.

To make the glaze:
Whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla together in a medium bowl until smooth and free of lumps.

To glaze and decorate:
After some trial and error I found that the easiest way to glaze the cakelets was to pick up them up by the base and dip them into the glaze like a doughnut. Remove from the glaze, let drip dry, and turn over to dry on a cooling rack. I actually liked the look of the glaze best when the cakes were glazed twice. If you want to double glaze, wait for the first coat to dry five minutes or so before dipping again.
If you’d like to decorate with sanding sugar, crushed Oreos, or mini nonpareils, sprinkle them over the cakes before your final coat of glaze has dried. If desired, add red chocolate candies in the eye sockets.

*Note: If you don’t have a skull cakelet pan this recipe makes 1 (less spooky but equally delicious) bundt cake in a 10 cup bundt pan. A bundt will need to bake for about 55 to 65 minutes .

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chocolate orange bundt cake #bundtbakers

Have I ever mentioned the fact that I LOVE chocolate?

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Well, it’s true.
I do.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I know that it’s probably hard to believe, but you’re going to have to get used to the idea.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

When I found out that Tanya of Dessert Stalking had chosen chocolate as the theme for this month’s #bundtbakers, I was over the moon. Thank you Tanya!!! I’ve made a lot of bundts in this group, but this whole time I’ve only made one other chocolate cake. It’s a cryin shame is what it is, and I promise that I’m appropriately ashamed.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I usually prefer dark chocolate over milk or white, but to be honest I’ll take any and all of the above given the opportunity. I’m the kind of person who keeps a dark chocolate bar (or two) hidden in a drawer in my night stand just in case of emergencies. I only need a few squares at a time when I need my fix, but when I need it, I really need it.

I know I inherited that trait from my mom, who’s secret chocolate stash is kept in the drawers of her vanity. When I first found out about it I couldn’t believe that she would dare to withhold chocolate from me and have the audacity to keep some for herself. These days, I get it.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

When I was trying to decide on a chocolate bundt to make this month I was totally overwhelmed by the possibilities. There are just too many delicious things you can do with chocolate and I couldn’t even begin to narrow it down.

Every time I’d think of something, my mind kept wanting to wander back to a chocolate orange bundt that I made when I was just getting this blog off it’s feet. That cake was so moist and tender and brightly flavored and super duper chocolatey that it might just be one of my favorite bundts I’ve ever made.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Now, I don’t want to get into the habit of repeating recipes around here, but I knew this cake deserved to be revisited. I originally made it way back in the beginning, back before I’d found out about and joined up with the #bundtbakers gang, back when I was still using an iphone to take my photos, and most importantly, back when I didn’t really have many readers other than my mother. Not only is this recipe new to the bundt bakers, but I also think it deserves to be highlighted with better photos and to be seen and shared with as many people as possible, which simply wasn’t the case the first time around.

I’ve done this with a small handful of my other favorite recipes from the first few months of Brooklyn Homemaker, and I saw no reason not to revisit this one too. So, chocolate orange bundt cake it was.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I made a few minor adjustments to the original recipe from back in 2013, but for the most part little has changed. This cake is rich and dark and sublimely chocolatey with an assertive cocoa flavor backed up with soft and melty morsels of finely chopped dark chocolate. The orange zest and juice in the recipe, along with the orange glaze poured over the top, elevate this cake and give it a boost of sweet fruity brightness that can be unusual with chocolate cakes. The crumb is soft and tender, and the cake is so moist that it stays perfectly delicious for several days if covered well. I took half of the cake to work with me and my coworkers devoured it and raved about how wonderful it was. One of them loved it so much that she took a slice home to her roommate, and has been asking me ever since when I’d be posting the recipe so she could try it herself.

If you’re into chocolate, this is a cake you really gotta try. If you’re not, you need your head examined.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Another thing you gotta do if you’re into chocolate is make sure to scroll down past the recipe to check out all the other mouth-watering, craving-satisfying, unbelievable chocolatey creations the other bundt bakers came up with this month. I myself can barely handle all this chocolate in one place.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake

adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups orange juice
zest of 3 large oranges
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup peanut oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup finely chopped dark chocolate or mini chocolate chips

For the Glaze:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
zest of one orange

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Generously butter and flour a 10 to 12 cup Bundt pan and set aside.

Whisk orange juice and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and let come to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix together the sugar and orange zest until the zest is well distributed and has turned the sugar orange. Add the salt, eggs and egg yolk and mix on low for about 1 minute. Add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract and mix on low again for another minute.

Add the flour and baking soda and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Mix in chopped chocolate on low. The batter will be very loose.  Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 55-65, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for about 20 minutes before inverting onto a rack to cool completely.

make the glaze:
Whisk confectioner’s sugar, orange juice and zest until free of lumps. I like to do this in a glass measuring cup with a spout so you can pour the glaze easily.

Place a sheet pan under the rack with the completely cooled cake. Pour the glaze over the Bundt cake, covering it completely. If you have leftover glaze pour it from the pan back into the measuring cup and go back in for another coat. Transfer to a cake plate or platter by gently sliding the cake off the rack, use a thin spatula to help lift it if necessary. Leave at room temperature until ready to serve. The glaze will harden and form a sort of candy shell and keep the cake nice and moist.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

It’s probably a good thing that I’m not able to taste all of these cakes because I’d probably eat until I burst given the chance. All this chocolate sure has me drooling guys!!!

BundtBakers

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Interested in learning more about us? #BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the BundtBaker home page here.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com. If you are just a lover of Bundt baking, you can find all of our recipe links by clicking our badge above or on our group Pinterest board.