Not all food photo shoots go as planned. If the food isn’t right, the shoot isn’t going to be right either. It’s important to buy more food than you think you’ll need, because sometimes you have to start again… and again… and again…
This shoot was not a success at first. It took four “do-overs” for me to get the bundt cakes out of the pan in one piece. On the fourth attempt, as I slowly turned the cooled pan upside down and felt the mini cakes detach in one piece, I literally did a happy dance in my kitchen. I knew that I had personally learned two big secrets for baking success: Patience and lots of butter.
I cook more often than I bake, so sometimes I try to break the rules with baking like I do in cooking. For example, sometimes I don’t let things cool as long as the recipe says. Or, I don’t use the exact amounts of the “good stuff” in an attempt to be more healthy. My advice is: Don’t do that.
If you’re baking, follow the recipe exactly because baking is not the same as cooking. If the recipe says to let it cool for 30 minutes, let it cool for 30 minutes (not 20 minutes because you’re too excited to wait). If it says to coat the pan with butter, coat the pan with butter (don’t use olive oil). There’s a structured recipe for a reason and now I know why… because it works. And, it was so delicious!
When you’re shooting by yourself and want to play with some movement shots (like the falling powdered sugar), I recommend investing in a remote control shutter release or try using the self timer setting on your camera. This will allow you to step away from your camera and be a part of the scene.
MINI CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKES
1½ cups brewed coffee
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup natural cocoa powder + additional for dusting the bundt pan
2 cups white granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter for the bundt pan
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Brew 1½ cups of coffee.
3. While the coffee is brewing, butter the bundt pan and then dust with cocoa powder.
Note: Do this well to ensure the mini bundt cakes come out of the bundt pan.
4. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter for 20 seconds. Mix with the coffee and cocoa powder.
5. Stir with a wire whisk. Once everything is combined, add the sugar and whisk until it has dissolved.
6. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
7. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix together.
8. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla.
9. Whisk the eggs into the chocolate mixture.
10. Slowly add the flour mixture and continue to whisk.
11. Once all of the ingredients have been combined you will be left with a batter with the consistency of a slightly thick soup.
12. Pour the batter into the mini wells of the bundt pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
13. Remove the bundt pan from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes.
14. Once cooled, gently run a butter knife or fork around the sides of each cake to gently remove from the bundt pan.
15. Place a wire rack directly up against your bundt pan and invert so the mini bundt cakes carefully fall out.
16. Sprinkle with powdered sugar on top, if desired.
All images © Regan Baroni 2016.