To get the batter prepared for this cake, classic ingredients like butter and sugar were beaten together until the color had lightened and the mixture was fluffy. When you add in the eggs, drop them in one at a time and fully incorporate each before you continue on - while this is good to get the eggs completely entwined in the mix, this also adds extra air to keep the batter light. A splash of vanilla gives this somewhat plain cake batter a mild floral essence, but the next ingredient is the star in this cake for the texture it lends to the crumb - sour cream!
As with most cakes, quickbreads and muffins, once you start adding the dry ingredients, mix the batter lightly and just until the dry ingredients disappear into the wet. Once I poured half of the batter into one of our favorite bundt pans, I dotted the top with tiny spoonfuls of that ever-tempting chocolate-hazelnut spread, Nutella, to make a small ring inside. To reinforce the hazelnut backbone, we then scattered chopped toasted hazelnuts over that slick of Nutella. The rest of the pale cake batter was spooned on top, followed by plunging a thin knife into the center and gently swirling to remove any locked air bubbles and slightly moving that chocolate/nut combo around.
I did have one accident at this point... apparently I wasn't paying attention as I was working that knife around because a split second later the bundt pan went from the counter onto the floor! I have no idea how I managed that one, but thankfully it landed right side up and only sloshed the batter around slightly... whew - crises narrowly averted! Jeff and the pups missed this adventure, though they came when they heard the noise - the pups would have loved to find a splatter of cake batter to clean up and I'm sure Jeff would have had the camera at the ready to capture it. Oh darn!
Chocolate ganache poured all over the top, while being encouraged to dribble down the edges, might be a fancy way to finish the baked cake off if you felt the need to be especially indulgent, but just a shower of confectioners' sugar was plenty enough for us. I liked how this cake almost had a crustier exterior than you would find with a layer cake, yet still yielded to an exceptionally moist crumb inside from the hefty amount of that tangy sour cream!
I thought it was interesting how Jeff and I ate our slices... Jeff went right for the kill and gobbled down the sweet chocolate center first for instant gratification. I, however, ate all of the buttery cake first and left that Nutella swirl for my final bite. While the Nutella somewhat scented the crumbs around the center, eating around it gave me a nutty, rich jackpot to savor and linger on my tongue for an intense final bite to remember!
Sour Cream-Hazelnut Bundt Cake