Philly Fluff Cake

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A Philly Fluff Cake, despite the name, is dense, moist, and tender, with rich swirls of bittersweet chocolate and a well-browned, sugary crisp exterior. It is more similar to a pound cake than a fluffy cake, and a generous portion of cream cheese in the batter lends the cake a gentle tang, and perhaps offers a clue to half of its name. A mixture of canola oil and butter stand in for traditional shortening, still giving the cake a pleasant moisture while adding delicious buttery flavor.

Philly Fluff Cake
Photo: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
Active Time:
25 mins
Cool Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
4 hrs 25 mins
Servings:
12

Ingredients

  • Baking spray with flour

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

  • ½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

  • ½ cup canola oil

  • 3 cups granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 vanilla bean pod, split (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

  • 6 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate

  • 4 cups (about 17 ounces all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Coat a 15-cup Bundt pan with baking spray (alternatively, lightly grease pan with butter, and dust with flour). Set aside.

  2. Beat cream cheese, butter, and oil with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add granulated sugar and salt; beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a paring knife, carefully scrape seeds from split vanilla bean pod. With mixer running on low speed, add vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract), and beat until well combined, about 1 minute.

  3. Place chocolate in a small microwavable bowl. Microwave on 30% power for 30 seconds. Stir well, and continue to microwave in 30-second intervals until chocolate is completely melted and smooth; set aside at room temperature to cool until ready to use.

  4. Whisk together flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Gradually add flour mixture alternately with milk to cream cheese mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating on medium speed until combined after each addition. Transfer 3 cups batter to a medium bowl (reserve remaining vanilla batter in mixer bowl), and stir in melted chocolate until combined.

  5. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour, 40 minutes to 1 hour, 50 minutes. Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Using a fine mesh strainer, sift powdered sugar over top of cake. Cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature up to 3 days.

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