That was this cake. It was just… misshapen and lumpy. And despite releasing beautifully from an aluminum pan, parts of it had oddly released from the cake itself. And so I wrote it off, planning to serve it with whipped cream and just write it off as lesson learned.
The only problem? It was awesome. Tremendously yummy, moist and perfectly complemented by the whipped cream. I hastily grabbed some photos–but it was after we had sliced into it (which was probably just as well). So I have thought long and hard about how to write this recipe, and this is the conclusion I came to: this cake is from All Cakes Considered, the one with all the ginourmous tube cake recipes. I think maybe this cake is just too moist and dense to be this large, so given that it released beautifully from a NON-non-stick pan, I would bake it in a simple nonstick bundt pan (like the Nordic Ware Original Platinum Collection Bundt Pan, or the heritage bundt, not one of those pans with tiny nooks and crannies, like the castle pan) and bake the remaining batter in mini loaf pans. And of course watch it carefully as it will bake in a shorter amount of time. (You could also try baking it in 2 9X5 loaf pans, now that I think on it.)
One note about the baking instructions: they differ from the classic cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs then liquid and dry. Melissa Gray specifically notes that using the classic cake directions results in a much lighter, taller cake, and she prefers this cake dense and rich. I think I do too. So follow the quirky directions for a denser cake.
3 cups AP flour (fluffed, scooped, leveled)
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Scharffen Berger)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 cup shortening, room temperature (I used Earth Balance)
1 1/4 cups milk (I used 1% with some cream)
1/2 t baking powder
1 t vanilla
5 large eggs
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat to 325 F. Thoroughly grease a simple nonstick bundt pan (see comments above) and have some mini loaf pans ready for the excess batter.
Place the flour, sugar and cocoa in the bottom of a mixer bowl. Whisk them together.
Gradually add the butter and shortening, by the tablespoon, to the flour mixture. When it will not make a mess, increase the speed to medium. Add the milk and mix on medium until smooth.
Add the baking powder and salt and beat until incorporated.
Still on medium speed, scrape the sides of the bowl down as needed and add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated evenly.
Scrape the batter into the prepared bundt pan–make sure to only use the amount your pan calls for (probably 12 cups if it is the classic bundt pan). After that, grease and fill mini loaf pans with the remaining batter.
The original instructions are to bake for 1 1/2 hours, but the bundt pan is smaller. Start checking the mini loaf pans at 20 minutes and the bundt pan at 50 minutes (I am being conservative to be on the safe side–they may take longer). The cakes are done when cake testers inserted into their centers come out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.
Cool the cakes in their pans for 10 minutes, and then turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving. Whipped cream partners with this cake beautifully.