Baking Lessons from The Kitchn

How To Make Chocolate Pound Cake

Image Credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo

Chocolate pound cake comes together so easily that it's an everyday cake, but the taste and texture — that close-knit, tight crumb unique to a pound cake — plus the deep chocolate flavor make it feel like a luscious, special-occasion treat. It's really the epitome of "it's easier than it looks." A slice of this buttery, chocolatey cake is charming as a weeknight dessert, but it's also terrific as a midnight munch with a glass of cold milk or an after-school snack for lucky kids.

Image Credit: Lauren Volo

Putting the Chocolate in Chocolate Pound Cake

It's cocoa, not chocolate, that gives this cake its decadent flavor, which means you can readily whip this cake up with a bunch of pantry staples whenever the craving hits you. And when it comes to cocoa, this recipe truly showcases all mild Dutch-processed cocoa can do. It makes this cake sultry and extra dark in color, and ensures that any bitterness is mellowed away. The cocoa is aided by three supporting players: coffee, salt, and vanilla. Coffee adds helps add depth to the cocoa, salt emphasizes the sweetness, and vanilla rounds out the cocoa and makes it taste more like a creamy chocolate.

Substitute Like a Pro

This recipe allows for quite a few ingredient substitutions.

  • Sour cream can be omitted and buttermilk or yogurt can be substituted.
  • You can spice up this cake so it will taste exactly how you like it best. Simply add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, black pepper, lemon zest, or orange zest into the batter along with the vanilla extract.

Feeling vanilla? How To Make Classic Sour Cream Pound Cake

Image Credit: Lauren Volo

Pound Cakes Are Built to Last

Pound cakes are kitchen workhorses. They are terrific the day they are made, but taste even better the day after — and even better on day three. They also freeze very well. Bake, cool, skip the ganache for now, and wrap it well with plastic and then foil, and it will keep, frozen, for up to a month. It can be served gussied up with chocolate ganache glaze or simply cut and toasted.

Pound Cakes Are the Oldest Modern Cakes

Pound cake was most likely the earliest cake without yeast, appearing as early as the 1600s, typically studded with candied fruits and nuts and soaked in wines and liquors. The key element — and the cake's namesake — was its four ingredients: butter, sugar, flour, and eggs, all weighing in at one pound a piece. In the 20th century, baking leaveners were introduced and became a common ingredient in pound cakes, which were consequently far lighter; they no longer featured equal ingredient weights or proportions, but retained their unique texture and heft.

Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
Image credit: Lauren Volo
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