Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake (And The Food Charlatan’s 5th Birthday!)

You would not believe that this incredibly chocolatey cake is made from a cake mix! It is so moist it’s ridiculous. The ganache topping just puts it over the top. Don’t even think about eating this without a glass of milk.

Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake from The Food Charlatan

After I finished making and photographing this cake, I asked Charlotte if she wanted a bite. She said yes, so I gave her a forkful.

“What do you think of the cake?”
She paused, chewing thoughtfully and said, “Huh. Gooder than I thought it would be.”
(Insert comically raised eyebrows)
“Well what did you think it was going to be??”
“Good, but just a little, um, not THAT good.”

Thanks? I think??

Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake from The Food Charlatan

Guess what guys!! Today is the 5 year anniversary of the day I started my blog! On October 4, 2011, I sat down at my computer and published the recipe for these Pumpkin Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies. I started my blog because I had just had a baby (Charlotte) and was totally bored with my new stay-at-home-mom gig. I mean the kid took like 4 hour naps, what was I supposed to do besides bake?

It started as a hobby. I kept publishing recipes (3 times a week, very consistently) for years and never saw anything from it except fun conversations with my friends and family about what recipe I was making that week, and whether they had tried any. I loved sharing recipes, loved having my own catalogue of dinner ideas I wanted to make again and again (still the criteria for making it on the blog) and never really expected anything more than that.

Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake from The Food Charlatan

But in January 2013, I published this innocent little recipe for Cilantro Lime Cucumber Salad, and my traffic went through the roof, something I never anticipated. Now I earn an income from my blog (did you know food bloggers are really just small business owners?) and it’s one of the most fun things I’ve ever done.

I never had aspirations for owning my own business; I just knew I wanted to stay home with my kids while they were growing up. I feel like I have the best of both worlds: being at home with them, but still having a career that is as demanding (or not) and fulfilling (or not) as I want it to be, because I’m the boss. I make up my own rules and hours, and even if I don’t follow them, no one can fire me.

Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake from The Food Charlatan

Of course it’s not always sunshine and roses. Being your own boss also means that she can sometimes be an insane taskmaster who keeps you up all night working when all you want to do is sleep. (Ever see me post a recipe in the middle of the night? Yeah, that wasn’t scheduled. We’ll sleep when we’re dead, right boss?)

But overall I am super grateful for this crazy and strange career of mine. The other day Charlotte said out of the blue from the backseat of the car, “Mom, did you actually start your own blog?” Yes I did. “You mean you did it all by yourself?” Yeah, I did. “Wow.” I’m glad that my kids will grow up seeing me work my butt off at something I am passionate about.

Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake from The Food Charlatan

Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake from The Food Charlatan

Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake from The Food Charlatan

Enough sap. Let’s talk cake! This one is another gem of a recipe from my dear Aunt Shirley, my mom’s sister. She’s an amazing baker and has quite the dessert reputation in our family.

(My sister Nikki, who does not love being in the kitchen, said to me once as I was making cookies, “Karen! Oh my gosh! You’re like the Aunt Shirley of our generation!” Because her kids know me as the Bringer of Dessert. Little do they know that it’s all recycled work from MY aunt. NIKKI DON’T SHOW THEM THIS POST.)

Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake from The Food Charlatan

I had a couple friends over the day I made this cake, and they both couldn’t believe it was a doctored cake mix. I can’t even believe this is a doctored cake mix. It is just so rich and chocolate-y. The sour cream and oil make it super moist. And of course drizzling the whole thing in ganache doesn’t hurt either. Because honestly there’s nothing less satisfying than a bite of dry, dense cake, amiright?

One last thing: since it’s my blog-baby’s 5th birthday and all, if you would like to give a gift, I would love a comment telling me what your favorite recipe is from the blog, or the one you make most often for your family. Or just a favorite post or story. What I do wouldn’t be possible, of course, without you lovely readers, and I’m so glad you’re here. Thanks so much for reading and laughing and cooking with me!

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Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake (And The Food Charlatan’s 5th Birthday!)

Yield: Serves 10-15

Recipe from my Aunt Shirley


    For the cake:
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) box Devil's Food Cake mix, dry*
  • 1 large (5.1 ounce) chocolate pudding mix, dry
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 12 ounces (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
  • For the ganache:
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I like semisweet)
  • mini chocolate chips, to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a bundt pan very well with butter or nonstick spray. Use a small amount (like a teaspoon) of cocoa OR flour (Cocoa will be prettier) to dust the pan. Tap the pan around and shake out excess.
  3. Combine the dry cake mix and dry pudding mix in a large bowl or stand mixer.
  4. Beat in the sour cream, water, oil, and eggs. Scrape the sides and bottom and beat well for at least 2 minutes to whip air into the cake.
  5. Fold in 2 cups of chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55-58 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Don't over bake it!!
  7. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  8. Use a plastic knife (so you don't scrape your pan) to loosen the edges of the cake, then invert it onto a serving plate or cake stand.
  9. Meanwhile, make the ganache. In a small bowl, measure out 1 cup of cream. Microwave for about 1 minute, stir, and continue heating in 20 second intervals until you see bubbles on the side of the bowl.
  10. Immediately pour in 1 cup chocolate chips but don't stir. Let the chocolate sit for about a minute (to melt) then use a whisk to stir it together. Don't give up, just keep whisking and it will thicken up.
  11. Drizzle the warm cake with the ganache. You can serve it room temperature too, if you like. The ganache will thicken as it cools, just throw it in the microwave for a few seconds if you need it to thin out.
  12. Garnish with mini chocolate chips and serve with a tall glass of cold milk!


The ounces on the cake mix don't have to be exact. If it's a 16 oz cake mix, that will work fine!

You can totally make this recipe in a 9x13 pan of course. I haven't tested bake times though, so you will have to experiment. It will be LESS time. I would start with 25-30 minutes, then check every 5 until a toothpick comes out clean.

Here are some other cakes you will love!

The Best Chocolate Cake I’ve Ever Had << I stand by this title with the qualification “best homemade chocolate cake with traditional buttercream”

The Best Chocolate Cake I've Ever Had from The Food Charlatan


Mississippi Mud Cake << (brownie-ish cake. whole jar of marshmallow creme. top with fudge frosting. Need I go on?)

Mississippi Mud Cake from The Food Charlatan


Chocolate Cherry Sheet Cake with Fudge Frosting:

Chocolate Cherry Sheet Cake with Fudge Frosting from The Food Charlatan


You will love these other cakes from friends!

Chocolate Mudslide Cake form Beyond Frosting
Best Chocolate Cake from Life, Love, and Sugar
Chocolate Oreo Cake from Will Cook for Smiles





  1. Pam Abbott says

    Happy 5th Birthday! My family makes this cake too and it is the most requested! We use dark chocolate fudge pudding. Mmmmmm! My favorite recipe of yours is the Cuban Marinated Pork!

  2. Mary says

    There are so many delicious recipes….hard to pick one. Chocolate Cherry Cake with Fudge Frosting. Happy 5th!

  3. says

    Wow, that chocolate cake doesn’t even look real!

    Been following your blog for a while now, really love your recipes. Happy birthday! I totally identify with the stay at home mum boredom, my little darling is almost 4 months old. I thought I’d take off at least 3 months maternity leave, but I was back to work within a month (I work from home). It’s so easy to fit in my hours during his naps!
    Elizabeth recently posted…What Do Longer Lifespans Mean for your Finances?My Profile

    • says

      Thank you Elizabeth! And yes, sometimes the honeymoon phase of having a baby is pretty easy, but just you wait til she’s 2 or 3. I started the blog because I was bored but lack of things to do is NOT why I keep doing it, haha!! So nice that you get to work from home too. We are lucky!

  4. Nancy says

    Congrats on your anniversary! I found your blog trough my sister and it is one of my favorites! The recipe I use most is the One Hour Cinnamon Rolls. So good! But I have to tell you, as fall is approaching my husband and daughter have already been talking about the Bean and Hamhock soup AND the Beef Barley Soup. They are fall/winter staples around here. Thanks!!

    • says

      Hey Nancy! Those are good ones. So many great soups out there! I love the fall season just for the soups :) And lots of people have mentioned the one hour cinnamon rolls and it’s totally making me crave them! Thanks for following along Nancy! :)

  5. stephanie says

    happy blog birthday!

    i forget how i found you, but i’m glad i did. every time i read a new post i feel like there’s something that makes me go “omg, yes!” which is funny because i think if you compared our lives on paper they wouldn’t look much alike at all, haha.

    i’m relatively new so i still have lots of recipes bookmarked to try, but so far my favorite was the poblano lasagna. omg that was SO good. and probably a tie would be the pinto beans!

    i love that charlotte sees how cool it is too. it’s so important for girls to have female role models in their everyday life. here’s to doing what you want, all by yourself. gold star in grown-upping!

    • says

      Isn’t that the best Stephanie?? It’s one of my favorite parts about blogging; connecting with people that I might not have thought I had a lot in common with. Food brings pretty much everyone together :) And I just made that poblano lasagna a few weeks ago! So good!

  6. Stefanie says

    Happy Birthday! I had just been introduced to food blogs and was only following the girl who ate everything when she mentioned your almond roca bars. So I checked out your sight and I have been hooked. I could never pick one delicious, ooey, gooey goodness as my favorite. I love all of your stories and am so glad that you are having a new little one for us to hear about. Sometimes when I have a bad day, I look though old posts and I feel so much better. Cheers to another 5 yrs!

    • says

      Thank you Stefanie! Your comment made me a little teary because I do the same thing looking back at old posts. My blog is a very happy place for me. I’m glad it cheers you up sometimes too! ALSO that is so funny about The Girl Who Ate Everything–Christy’s was also the first blog I started following 5 years ago and she was/is a huge inspiration for me starting my blog. I was so flattered when she made my Almond Roca Bars! So glad you found us both! :)

  7. Kris Gifford says

    For sure my favorite blog post is Charlotte’s first birthday party post where Eric forgot the cupcakes because he was making sandwiches. Favorite recipe:either my moms beef barley soup or the browned butter lime salmon. Mostly I love hearing stories about our family. Your blog makes me happy Karen!

  8. Janice says

    I thought, which IS my favorite post? So I tried clicking around and reading past blogs, and found that I loved every one I read! An hour later, I decided to choose the browned butter blondie where you talk about painting just 5 nails to shoot pictures :)
    I can honestly say that since you started your blog, I got re-interested in cooking again- which hasn’t helped my waistline at all! I love almost all of your recipes, so I’ll just choose the three I made most recently: your cauliflower soup, blackberry pie, and lemon meringue pie. Happy birthday, little blog- thanks for providing the inspiration and the laughter I always count on :)

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