Chocolate Pound Cake
Chocolate Pound Cake
This chocolate pound cake has a perfect melt-in-your-mouth quality. It has all the classic pound cake ingredients, but it also has cocoa which turns it into a chocolatey masterpiece. A dusting of powdered sugar is all you'll need to add, or go ultra-rich with an option of a fudgey icing.
If you are in search of a classic Chocolate Pound Cake recipe, please keep reading. I'm sharing the recipe and more, including the stories of two blue ribbons. I almost missed them both!
If a recipe page looks old, tattered, splattered and worn...
that's the recipe you want!
Origin of the Chocolate Pound Cake Recipe
I was digging through my mom's favorite recipes when I came across this one which was well worn. She told me is was a recipe she jotted down from a friend and coworker many years before. See how the recipe has check marks, looks old and is splattered upon? Well, I've learned from experience these are the recipes you want! Here's a picture of the recipe in my mom's handwriting. I haven't changed the ingredients AT ALL which is out of character for me since I'm always "tweaking" recipes.
I did have to call and ask my mom about one part of the instructions. She had written to bake it for "25 to 30 minutes". Well, the first time I made it, I checked after 30 minutes and the cake was nowhere close to done. I called her and we figured out that it should have read "1 hour and 25 to 30 minutes". After making this cake many times, I've reduced the recommended cooking time to 1 hour and 20 to 25 minutes.
Chocolate Pound Cake wins Blue Ribbon
That's me with my chocolate pound cake (and Thomas with his cheesecake). This is actually the second blue ribbon I've won with this recipe. On a whim I decided to enter my chocolate pound cake in the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair in Jacksonville, Florida. But when I made the pound cake it cracked on top (which is actually the bottom when removed from the pan) so I changed my mind and decided NOT to enter. It just wasn't going to be "pretty enough" to win. I KNEW it would taste good enough, but looks count for something too. Then at the last minute Thomas convinced me to carefully trim the top (soon to be bottom) of the cake and enter it anyway. So I did, and to my surprise I won a blue ribbon!
We bought the chef's jackets for each other just for fun since we like to cook. Thomas also won a blue ribbon with his cheesecake. The cheesecake recipe remains a closely guarded secret.
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing between additions. Add flour mixture and evaporated milk alternately and mix well.(*The original instructions don't tell exactly how to do this so this is what I do: I add 1/3 flour mixture, one-half of the evap. milk, 1/3 flour mixture, one-half of the evap. milk, 1/3 flour mixture.) Add vanilla and mix well. Pour batter into a greased and floured** 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
**See section on preparing pan.
Important Note: This recipe is old. The amount of batter is intended for use with a 10 inch pan. The cake pan I use is a 9 inch pan. If you use a 9 inch pan too, you can hold out 1 - 1 1/2 cups of the batter and bake that separately in another small dish (for a chef's sampler :-). Personally I use the whole recipe and it is probably too much (see picture to the left), but my family loves the resulting cracks etc. from the full pan. I could try to adjust the recipe for a smaller amount of batter, but we like it just the way it is.
Most popular Chocolate Pound Cake question is...
Can I substitute butter for the shortening?
I finally tested this question tonight after all these years. I made the pound cake substituting butter for the shortening in the recipe. With the change, the cake had a total of 3 sticks of butter and no shortening at all. And the answer to the burning question is a resounding....YES! Here's a picture of a couple of slices and the texture is still just right and the flavor is still great. Feel free to substitute butter for the shortening.
Just so you know...
This cake will sometimes have a "sad spot"
depending on which pan is used
and other factors I strive to understand.
A "sad spot" is part of a cake that
has fallen a little and makes a "gooey" area.
Interestingly, some folks believe that only
true pound cakes have sad spots,
and at least one crack in the top.
Honestly, these are our favorite parts of the cake.
How I prepare a pan for the Chocolate Pound Cake
Shortening and Cocoa Powder
After reading Margaret's message in the guestbook, I decided to try my tube pan again with this recipe. It turned out WONDERFULLY by the way. Not too much of a sad spot at all...the family was a little disappointed though (too funny-they love that "sad spot").
Here's a picture of the prepared pan before I added the batter. I used a coating of shortening and then dusted the pan with cocoa. If you can find sweetened cocoa it really is the best choice since unsweetened is somewhat bitter. Ghirardelli makes a product called and it's my first choice for dusting the pan. Unfortunately I don't always have it on hand because it can be hard to find. I'll add a link for it below in case you're interested in ordering it. Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
Why don't I use flour? Because it leaves an uneven white surface on the pound cake.
Here's how it turned out. You can see where the top cracked a little, but that's not a problem around here.
I made this cake for a bake sale to raise money for our local lighthouse. I'm really glad it turned out so well.
Ghirardelli Chocolate Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa - Most cocoa powders are bitter, but this one is sweetened
This is the perfect product for dusting your pan.
Here's a picture of the cake right out of the pan without any powdered sugar added.
Once the cake has cooled for 10 minutes, I place a cooling rack on top of the cake and carefully turn it over. The pan will usually lift off, but if I feel any resistance I'll use the wooden end of my kitchen knife and tap the pan a little then lift it off.
If you look closely you can see where I missed a few of the edges when greasing the pan. This pan has lots of "nooks and crannies" so you really have to grease and flour it (for chocolate cakes I use cocoa) very well.
The pan I use - Fleur De Lis meaning "Flower of the Lily"
I spotted this cake pan in a catalog many many years ago and loved it at first sight. For years I kept that catalog folded back to show the pan so I could enjoy looking at it. I ended up getting it as a surprise gift and I must say...there is a certain joy and appreciation when you receive something you've wanted for a long time.
Be sure to grease this pan with shortening, covering all the nooks and crannies thoroughly. Then dust the pan with cocoa powder (for chocolate cake) so nothing will stick. After your cake is baked, removed from the pan and cooled, use a sifter to sprinkle it with powdered sugar (unless you are using the icing). The powdered sugar accents the pan's architecture (see photo at the recipe).
*New bundt pan alert - Holy Mackerel! Look at this bundt pan! - This one is new to me
Talk about making a statement. This pan is gorgeous. How have I missed it before now? It's going on my "want" list right away.
* May be unavailable
I was able to find this photo that shows a cake made with this pan. WOW! This photo used through Creative Commons by Betsyweber on Flickr
Need a gift for the baker in your life?
Here are some other cake pans I like to use.
Beehive Cake Pan - another really neat idea for a pan - Simply gorgeous
I've never made a two-part cake like this, but for this one...I'll give it a try. It's a beautiful beehive shaped pan and I like the way the white icing is drizzled over the top. Christmas List? YES!
The icing is optional (in my opinion)
I rarely add this icing/frosting, but most people do. I don't for this reason: I use a shaped pan (pictured above) and icing poured over the cake would cover its shape. When I use my plain tube pan, I do use this icing. It's thick and fudgey and I use it for other desserts too. We recently used it to frost a groom's cake.
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
1 pound unsifted confectioner's sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Melt chocolate and butter in bowl over hot water using double boiler method. Combine sugar, salt, evaporated milk and vanilla stirring until well incorporated. Stir into chocolate mixture. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until thick. Spread onto pound cake.
All you need is love.
But a little chocolate
now and then doesn't hurt.
- Charles M. Schulz
The First Blue Ribbon
My first Blue Ribbon was at the Effingham County Fair in Springfield, Georgia. A friend was entering her Homemade Wheat Bread and she suggested we enter something also. We entered our daughter's Blueberry Bread. She was only 8 years old and the competition would be a great experience for her - ribbon or not. My pound cake entry was thrown in as a "let's just see what will happen" entry. After all, I can't think of a tougher competition than the Pound Cake Category in a southern Georgia county fair. Can you?
We didn't make it to the fairgrounds on judging day, but went down the next day to find my daughter had won a Blue Ribbon for her bread!
But what was that in the back of the case? Was I looking at a slice of MY pound cake entry...with a blue ribbon draped on it? Yes! I had won a blue ribbon too.
KitchenAid Classic Stand Mixer
This is the mixer I use for all of my pound cakes. It is the basic 250 watt classic version. There are also 325 watt versions.
Comes with a flat beater, wire whip, and dough hook.
To date 299 reviews with a solid 4.5 star rating
More Pound Cake recipes to explore
- Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Update: This link is now broken :-(. ***If you would like this recipe (it has disappeared at every link I've posted!) I can email it to you. Either leave your email address in the guestbook OR click on my name "puzzlemaker" in the upper right corner
- Chocolate Pound Cake from Food Network Kitchens
Ingredients include "instant espresso powder". Sounds good to me.
- Double Chocolate Pound Cake from Wilton Kitchens
Check out the neat looking oversized cupcake pan they used.
- Good-For-You Chocolate Pound Cake
From MomCentral: "When I saw the name of this recipe, I thought to myself: Is it even possible to have a pound cake that is good for you?..." From the Cake Mix Doctor.
- Chocolate Sour Cream Buttermilk Bundt Cake
From the description at the webpage: "Not as dense as your typical pound cake - in fact, the texture is soft and tender and almost reminds me of a cake-mix based cake." Sounds really really good.
- Cake-Baking Secrets from Alton Brown + his own Chocolate Pound Cake recipe
Alton Brown gives advice on making pound cake. Also shares an old Chocolate Pound Cake recipe.
- "Uncle Jimmy's Chocolate Pound Cake"
The recipe at this link calls for less sugar than the recipe I'm sharing, BUT it adds 1 can of chocolate syrup and chocolate chips.
- From Blogger Amye at Not Just Sunday Dinner
Very similar to mine. Looks fab!
Come on! Enter YOUR favorite recipe in a contest!Or your favorite photo, or your biggest pumpkin. At some point years ago, I made a New Year's Resolution to enter a contest. Why hadn't I been doing it all along? Intimidation I guess or maybe I thought I'd never actually win. Well, I was wrong.
You are an expert at something! Find out about contests near you and enter. Help your kids or grandkids enter. The experience will last them forever and you might uncover a hidden talent. Contact your State or County Fair and find out what categories are offered and send in that entry. Let me know how you do.
Here's a link to get you started: State Fairs
More Tube Pans - These simple pans bake excellent pound cakes
If you need a basic tube pan, here are some excellent choices from Amazon. From what I've just investigated online, the prices are very reasonable too.
Here's the cake project I just finished for a dear friend. My friend didn't want chocolate cake on this particular occasion and requested a regular cake. I used Eddy McGee's recipe (as usual) and baked it in a 9"x13" pan. I reduced the cooking time to 1 hr and 15 minutes* (from 1 hr 30 minutes) because of the extra surface area of the 9"x13" pan.
I love to bake, but I'm not the best decorator. I was, however, pleased with how this cake turned out.
I cooked this cake in an airbake pan (see link below). Air bake pans usually required extra cooking time, so if you try this and use a traditional 9"x13" pan, start checking it at 1 hour cook time. See 2 more notes about this cake below.
Here's the batter in the pan, then the cake right out of the oven.
Extra note #1: When preparing the pan, I buttered it then sprinkled it with sugar instead of flour. I think this is Paula's Deen's idea - I'm not sure. My mom told me about it and it worked GREAT! It gives the cake a slight texture to the surface.
Extra note #2: I use canned icing for this cake. To make the icing a little stiffer (and easier to work with), I added 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar to one tub of icing. I stirred in one tablespoon at a time until I got a good consistency for my project. It DID change the taste of the icing - not bad, but different. Taste as you go along. One more thing about this, I had heard that you can also add flour to the icing the same way. I tried it too, but personally I could taste the flour and it left a bad aftertaste so I stuck with the powdered sugar.