Easy Chocolate Pound Cake Recipe

The thing I'd like to talk about today is this: CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE. This is a fine specimen of the stuff:

Basically, the story behind it is this: I wanted to make a dessert that would please my beloved, who loves chocolate. But I felt like I might have to stab myself in the eye if I made one more flourless chocolate cake (bet you've never read that before). So I took a moment to observe that this was, indeed, a champagne problem--and then I began to look for another simple chocolate cake recipe that would yield a dense, buttery result. 

I quickly settled on a cake that if not glamorous, felt reliable: chocolate pound cake.

In particular, this chocolate pound cake from Chow.com. They had some fantastic photos and the recipe looked simple enough, so I gave it a try. 

I actually made a mistake with the recipe: I didn't add enough water (I missed the extra 2 tablespoons in the recipe below) to the cocoa mixture, and it didn't turn into a full-out paste before I added it to the batter. This means that in my finished cake, it was specked with a few tiny cocoa lumps. Far from a problem, these mini lumps were actually DELICIOUS. They were sort of like chocolate chips. I am not going to say I did a great thing by being laissez-faire with the recipe, but I am going to say it worked out OK, if you start feeling less than Martha Stewart at any point during the recipe. 

The resulting cake is nothing that you haven't tasted before, but every element is so good. It's chocolatey, buttery, definitely cake but far denser than, say, a birthday cake.

This is an assertively hefty, not-afraid-to-take-up-space-and-weight-in-the-world cake. 

I didn't feel like making the chocolate glaze featured in the recipe, instead opting to go creative with my slices. So far I've tried one with ice cream, one with a sprinkling of sea salt, and this version--my favorite--features a spoonful of almond butter...

Then a fat dollop of half and half, foamed with a milk frother.

THEN--finally--I added some cocoa nibs. Good stuff. 

Find some room in your life for this cake. You won't regret it. 

Chocolate pound cake 

1 hr 30 mins, plus cooling time - adapted from CHOW.com - printable version here


For the cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used coarse sea salt)
  • 3/4 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for coating the pan
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan generously with butter; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt, and give it a whisk. Set aside for a sec.

Place the cocoa in a medium heatproof bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly pour in the boiling water and whisk until smooth and paste-like. 

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium for 5 minutes--it should be pretty darned fluffy at this point. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

Add the cocoa mixture, mixing on low speed until combined (I told you, mine didn't totally incorporate). 

Add the flour mixture last, mixing only until combined on low speed.

Spread the thick batter in the prepared pan, and smooth it on top as much as you can. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean--this was 40 minutes for me but I am at high altitude so it might take longer for you. 

Remove the cake from the oven; immediately run a knife along the edges to loosen. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for about an hour before transferring to pretty paper for blog photos.

Cut into slices and serve however the heck you want. 

Storage? It won't last long enough to go stale, but keep it covered at room temp for up to 3 days or freeze slices and bring them back to room temp before serving. 

What would you put on top of a slice of this cake?