Remember back in March?   The joke going around then was that we should send the year back and ask for a refund, before the warranty expired.   I keep remembering that now, and wondering if we should have tried harder.  Just like everyone else, I've had a many a shopping experience that involved talking to a "Customer Service Representative" standing under a sign that said something like "We Lie Awake at Night Thinking About Our Customers' Total Satisfaction" but who is nevertheless explaining to me why I can't return the obviously defective item I am holding because....something about the fine print.  

I remember those experiences, and I wonder if we really tried hard enough with 2020. Maybe if we had pounded on the counter, or demanded to speak to Someone In Charge, or refused to yield our place in line until we got satisfaction .... maybe we could have struck some kind of cosmic deal and gotten a replacement year.  No?  Maybe not.  Too late to worry about it now, I suppose.  

I think it's safe to say that most of us are eager to see the last of 2020.  There's much to be thankful for, and I'll dwell on that another day, but right now I am looking forward to 2021 in the worst way.  So, farewell 2020, don't let the door hit you on the way out.  And welcome 2021.  Be a good little year, and behave yourself.  Don't make me put you in time-out.

And what better way to welcome 2021 than with a really special cake?  This chocolate cake was a big hit here at Headquarters.  In addition to being extremely flavorful, moist and delicious, it's also festive-looking enough for a party and very easy to make.  Because this week, who needs hard?  As an added bonus, I taste-tested it with champagne, and I assure you it pairs well.  You're welcome.


This is a gluten-free cake.  If you do not want a gluten-free cake, you can substitute cake flour for the gluten-free flour, and omit the xanthan gum.

This method of baking a cake without preheating the oven struck me as highly unusual.  I had my doubts, because different ovens preheat at different rates, so the whole idea seemed variable and error-prone.  But it worked just fine in my oven, and I hope it works for you as well.

The ganache frosting for this cake is very liquid when first made, and thickens quickly as it cools.  If you let it cool for 15 minutes or more, it will be spreadable frosting.  For a consistency that will pour and flow, the frosting needs to be warmer.  The exact time will depend on the temperature of your kitchen; mine was about 70 F.   (If you look closely at mine, you'll see I let the frosting cool a little two much, so it didn't do much flowing.  No one complained.)

I decorated my cake with Wilton's Gold Mix sprinkles.


My starting point for this cake was the "Chocolate Truffle Bundt Cake" in the 2020 Teatime Holidays special issue.   I half-sized it and made it gluten-free.