It is monsoon season in India, which means that it's neither summer nor winter. As a food blogger, it's a conflicting period for me. I can't really focus on summery produce, and it's just too early to start busting out my boxes of cinnamon and nutmeg.
And confusing seasons like these warrant for chocolatey desserts. There's no particular season for chocolate; it's one thing that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
If you didn't know, I do bake sales in my hometown of Berhampur. After one particularly tiring weekend of baking and managing deliveries, I had this intense craving for a really decadent chocolate cake.
I was too exhausted to bake a cake, but I did have a recipe floating in my mind, so later that night, I penned it into my recipe journal.
And that was the recipe for this wondrous chocolate pound cake with chocolate & cream cheese frosting. This was one of those recipes that just clicked without much testing; what you see in these photos is from the first and final attempt at this recipe. It was pretty perfect from its conception.
This cake is super easy to make, and the recipe is unbelievably easy to memorize. Pound cakes are a great way to start baking; they have the perfect amount of experimentation amalgamated with the simplicity that a beginner baker wants.
My recipe gives you a very decadent and flavorful chocolate cake, and the luscious chocolate & cream cheese frosting is pretty much the crowning glory of this dish. It's so simple to make, and you could probably do it in your sleep.
What is a pound cake?
Now, if you didn't know, pound cakes are a variety of cakes that use equal amounts of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour by weight.
The original pound cake recipes from 18th century England called for one pound each of these four ingredients, nothing else.
Pound cakes were invented back then because the recipe has really simple ratios. People didn't have proper measuring tools in the 18th century, so adding a pound of each ingredient was the simplest way to make a cake.
Obviously, that makes a gigantic cake, and over time, the pound cake's name stayed, but it evolved into a smaller cake.
The norm for a pound cake evolved into a recipe with an equal quantity of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour by weight.
The only leavening agent in pound cakes was air, which was incorporated when creaming the butter and sugar and beating in the eggs. Somewhere around the early 20th century, bakers began adding artificial leavening agents (baking powder/baking soda) to pound cakes.
Pound cakes are versatile and the perfect canvas for trying new flavor combinations if you're new to recipe development.
By keeping the ratios of butter:sugar:eggs:flour as 1:1:1:1, you can add so many flavors to the batter and create various cakes. My personal favorites are either chocolate or lemon. I have a lemon and basil seed pound cake recipe on the blog, which you should definitely check out.
Aside from vanilla, you could add coffee to the batter, chocolate (obviously), lemon juice & zest, fold in fresh fruit, and so on.
What goes into this chocolate pound cake?
Well, I hope by now, it should be clear what essential ingredients go into making this cake.
You're going to start with salted butter, caster sugar, large eggs, and all-purpose flour. Then, you're going to need melted dark chocolate, natural cocoa powder, instant coffee powder, a bit of milk, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
Milk isn't traditionally added to pound cakes. Since we have an additional dry ingredient in cocoa powder, the milk helps keep the batter smooth and not clumpy/doughy.
As for the eggs, I know that some readers prefer eggless baking, this is a recipe where the eggs are one of the four key ingredients, and it really shouldn't be replaced. But, that doesn't mean it cannot be replaced. You can substitute the eggs with yogurt; the exact measurements will be mentioned in the recipe's notes section.
The next component in this recipe is the chocolate & cream cheese frosting. I call it frosting, but it's really more of a ganache.
It calls for 4 ingredients and is super easy to make. Try to use good quality dark chocolate because this 'frosting' has the texture of Nutella, and it is irresistible.
You'll need melted dark chocolate, cream cheese, heavy cream, and confectioners/icing sugar for this frosting. You just need to whisk everything together, and you'll have a frosting. It's really that simple.
What equipment do I need?
This recipe for a chocolate pound cake requires creaming the butter and sugar, which means you'll need to beat it with an electric mixer for a few minutes. I wouldn't recommend doing it with a wire whisk simply because it'll become too time-consuming.
You will need a 9x4 inch loaf pan to bake the cake; check the 'notes' section if you wish to bake in a different cake pan.
Other tools and equipment you'll need are:
Medium and large-sized mixing bowls.
A wire whisk.
A silicone spatula.
A mesh sieve.
Recipe for Chocolate Pound Cake with Chocolate & Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes: One 9x4 inch loaf
Time: 1.5 hours
200 grams (1 cup) room temperature salted butter
200 grams (1 cup) caster sugar
200 grams eggs (4 large nos.)
4 grams (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
4 grams (2 teaspoons) strong instant coffee powder
50 grams (⅓ cup) melted dark chocolate (55% or above)
30 grams (2 tablespoons) room temperature milk
200 grams (1 ½ cup + 2 teaspoons) all-purpose flour
6 grams (1 ½ teaspoon) baking powder
2 grams (½ teaspoon) salt
20 grams (2 ¾ tablespoons) natural cocoa powder
Chocolate & Cream Cheese Frosting:
50 grams (⅓ cup) melted dark chocolate (55% or above)
55 grams (¼ cup) room temperature cream cheese
60 grams (¼ cup) cold heavy cream
10 grams (1 tablespoon) confectioners/icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F.
Lightly grease a 9x4 inch loaf pan with butter, line it with parchment paper, and grease it again with some butter. Dust the entire inner surface of the pan with flour, and tap to remove the excess. Set the pan aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder in a medium-sized mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Set it aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until it's pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula every now and then.
Add the eggs one by one, while continuing to beat the mixture.
Once all of the eggs have been incorporated, add the vanilla extract and coffee powder. Beat it once more until everything is combined.
Combine the melted chocolate with the wet ingredients.
Sift in the prepared dry ingredients and use a silicone spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no dry lumps are visible.
Scrape the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan and use the spatula to push it to the sides and smooth out the top.
Bake the pound cake in the preheated oven at 160°C for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick/skewer inserted inside comes out clean.
Let the cake sit in the pan for 5 minutes, and then remove it onto a cooling rack.
Allow the cake to fully cool for an hour or two, meanwhile make the frosting.
Whisk the melted chocolate, cream cheese, heavy cream, and confectioners sugar until smooth to make the frosting. Use a spatula to spread the frosting on top of the cooled chocolate pound cake.
Slice, and serve the cake at room temperature, or warm it for 10-15 seconds in the microwave.
Substitute the eggs:
Mix 2 grams (½ teaspoon) baking soda into 200 grams (1 cup) of room temperature yogurt and use it instead of eggs. The resulting pound cake won't entirely be the same, but it'll give you a delicious cake regardless.
Use a different pan:
8x8 inch square pan: Follow the recipe as it is, and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick/skewer inserted inside comes out clean.
9-inch round pan: Follow the recipe as it is, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick/skewer inserted inside comes out clean.
8 cup bundt pan: Follow the recipe as it is, and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick/skewer inserted inside comes out clean.
Toast 55-60 grams (½ cup) of your favorite nuts, chop them, toss them in a tablespoon of flour, and mix them into the batter for a nutty chocolate pound cake.
Replace the milk with freshly squeezed orange juice, and add the zest of half an orange into the batter for an orange-chocolate pound cake.
Triple the amount of instant coffee in the recipe, and leave out the chocolate and cocoa powder for a coffee pound cake. Mix in 55 grams (½ cup) toasted chopped walnuts (toss them in a tablespoon of flour) for a coffee-walnut pound cake.
Leave out the coffee, chocolate, cocoa powder, and milk. Instead, add 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves for a spiced pound cake.
Serving and storage:
This chocolate pound cake is on the denser, drier side, so it's best eaten after being warmed in the microwave. Moreover, when you store a pound cake in the fridge, the butter in the cake will harden and make your cake denser; therefore, serve it at room temperature or warm it up.
The chocolate pound cake has to be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. It has a shelf life of 3-4 days if stored this way.