Classic vanilla cake is swirled with a rich, chocolate layer and chocolate chips to create an easy homemade bundt cake everyone calls a favorite.
Servings 10-12 servings
To Grease the Pan
1tablespoonunsalted butterat room temperature
For the Chocolate Syrup
1/2cupnatural cocoa powdernot Dutch-process
1/2cupfreshly brewed strong hot coffee
For the Cake Batter
1cupunsalted butterat room temperature (2 sticks)
4large eggsat room temperature
2 34cupall-purpose flour
1cupsemisweet chocolate chips
For the Vanilla Bean Glaze
1vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 to 2 1/2cupspowdered sugar
To prepare the pan, preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the butter in a 12-cup Bundt pan and grease the pan with your fingers, making sure to grease all the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle the flour all over the pan and knock out the excess.
To make the chocolate syrup, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, coffee, and honey in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup starts to boil. Bring to a simmer, whisking to make sure there are no lumps. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
To make the cake batter, place the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until the butter looks light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until completely incorporated and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until the dry ingredients are absorbed.
Add the flour in three additions and the buttermilk in two, alternating between the flour and buttermilk and ending with the flour. Beat until incorporated and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Spoon one-third of the batter into a medium bowl and add the chocolate syrup. Stir to incorporate completely and set aside. Spoon half of the remaining vanilla batter into the prepared bundt pan. Scrape the chocolate batter on top. Spread the remaining vanilla batter on top of the chocolate batter. Insert a butter knife or a chopstick into the batter and make "figure eight" motions throughout the entire cake to marble the batter. You may want to sometimes dig deep to the bottom and sometimes lift up to make sure the batter really moves around. Just don't over-mix the batters, or else they will blend together instead of marbling.
Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes and then invert onto a serving plate while still warm. If the cake doesn't un-mold, gently slip a very thin knife between the cake and the pan all the way around to loosen it and then try again.
For the Vanilla Bean Glaze, slice the vanilla bean lengthwise, if using, and scrape the seeds into the milk in a large bowl. Chop the ben in half and toss the pod in with the milk as well. Let steep in the refrigerator as the cake cools. Once the cake has cooled completely (after about 2 hours), remove the vanilla bean from the milk and sift 2 cups powdered sugar into the milk. (If using the vanilla extract, add it to the milk right before sifting the powdered sugar; no no need to steep.) The glaze should be thin enough to pour, but thick enough to hold its shape on the cake, similar to honey in consistency. IF the glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired thickness.
Drizzle the glaze on top of the cake, making sure the glaze drips down the sides of the cake. If decorating with pearls, shavings or sprinkles, sprinkle them randomly on the cake before it dries.