Trial and Error with My Least Favorite Bundt Pan: A Tale of Chinese Five Spice-Chocolate Citrus Cake

A few posts ago I made a bunch of spice blends. (check it out here) One of those blends was Chinese 5-Spice. Really beautiful blend and interesting flavors. It of course is used in a lot of savory cuisine but I've also seen it used in more sweet aspects. I wanted to play with this a little and looked at some flavor combinations that work well with this blend. I eventually came to citrus, especially orange. So that's where I went.


Now I don't know about you but one this I love this time of year are those chocolate oranges. You know, those ones you smack on the table and it breaks into orange segments? I know many people don't like the orangey-chocolate flavor but personally I love it. Since chocolate also goes with spices I figured it would make a good overall combination to make a bundt cake. That was also my downfall for this recipe....


For the cake I wanted something very light, airy, and soft. I decided to scale my German chocolate cake for a bunt pan. This cake is very light and super moist. With whipped egg whites and leveling agent, it get's a lot of good texture. I mixed the spices and orange zest with the creamed butter and sugar. This method is my favorite since the sugar grinds into the zest, releasing so much flavor. I also added some of orange juice to get added flavor and more acidity in the cake. The orange juice was added to the milk and allowed to sit a few minutes to curdle slightly and imitate a buttermilk.


Overall the cake tasted really good. I would prefer more orange, I did question making an orange glaze for the top, but by the time I got it out of the damn bundt pan I was over it. This freaking bundt pan.... I have two that I use. One in more standard size, about 9 1/2 inches across. The other is a bit smaller, a little under 8 inches across. The smaller one I rarely have problems with, things typically come out, just needs a good spray of grease. This larger one though,,,, I hate it, I don't know why I keep it, it sucks. It has this really beautiful design that I absolutely love but I have never successfully gotten something to come out of it. Even 100% bundt recipes that are a little more dense and get a little darker and thicker on the edges and should always come out, still break. I have tried everything. Grease the hell out of it, grease then flour, grease the sugar, nothing works. And with the finer details the flour and sugar get stuck and I lose them on the cake. This time around was the same, stuck. Some parts did come out so it looks okay, this is just a great example of how not everything will come out perfectly, even for a chef.


The final cake though, pretty good. Although it stuck in the pan the cake itself is so moist and soft. I really like the flavor. The 5 spice stands out well and has a nice subtle chocolate and orange flavor. You can always remove the 5 spice if you don't like it or increase/decrease to preference. Definitely have fun with this recipe and try it out yourself!

Chinese 5 Spice Chocolate Citrus Bundt


25g Cocoa Powder

95g Water, cold

1 tsp Vanilla

Pinch Salt

390g Granulated Sugar

190g Unsalted Butter, soft

1 tsp 5 Spice Blend

¾ tsp Baking Soda

2 ea. Eggs

200g All Purpose Flour

200g Milk

2 ea. Oranges, zest and juice

3 ea. Egg Whites


  1. In a measuring cup, mix the orange juice and milk and allow it to sit.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa powder into the water with vanilla, salt, and 50g sugar. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and remaining 340g sugar with 5 spice and baking soda until light and fluffy. About 4 minutes.

  4. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping often and making sure the mixture is smooth.

  5. Add flour and beat slightly to incorporate then slowly add milk mixture and cocoa powder mixture while mixing on low speed. Continue to mix for 3 minutes.

  6. While mixing, whip egg whites to a stiff peak in a clean bowl.

  7. Once ready, fold egg whites into the chocolate mixture then pour into a prepared 9-10 inch bundt pan.

  8. Bake in a preheated 350℉ oven for 1 hour.

  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Cake will deflate slightly. Then flip onto a serving tray.


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