Dolly's Chocolate Bundt Cake

Makes 1 Large Cake
I use this recipe (thanks to my first employer, Dolly) more often than any other for special birthdays and holiday baking. If you think you’re just a competent or if you’re a novice baker, this is the cake for you: it’s easy to prepare, bakes in one pan, has a moist and tender texture, and requires only a glaze to finish. Its distinctive look is on the fancy side, which brings a little something extra to a birthday party or holiday table.



  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  • 1 cup finely chopped unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons rum or brandy (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 12-cup Bundt pan.
2. To make the cake, in a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Toss in the chopped chocolate and the walnuts, if using.
Into the butter mixture, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in three additions, ending with the flour. Mix just until everything is blended together; don’t overmix.
4. Spoon the batter evenly into the Bundt pan and smooth the top of the batter. Bake for about 55 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester or a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan briefly. Turn out onto a cake plate to cool completely.
5. For the glaze, place a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add the glaze ingredients and stir to melt and combine. Drizzle over the top of the cooled cake and let the glaze set, 15 to 20 minutes, before serving.

cook's note
Triple-Duty Glaze: This chocolate glaze also doubles as a spread or topping. Pour into a jar and refrigerate for up to 6 weeks. Spread on warm toast or reheat and drizzle on ice cream, layer into a sundae, or use as a dip for fresh strawberries.
Need help with the ingredients? Check our pantry list: