If you watched Ye Olde Premiere Episode of PMAT Live, you know that my mom is famous for her chocolate pound cake. If you haven’t watched it, you know now. Anyway, just to give you an idea of how Beloved this pound cake is, consider the case of Aunt Charlotte. We aren’t related by blood, but like Auntie Ev, Uncle Ray and Auntie ‘Leenie, we are relatives of the heart. Her birthday is on December 31, and every year my mom bakes her a chocolate pound cake. She’s been doing this for Decades. Even so, Aunt Charlotte will Drop Hints starting in October, just to make sure that mom Won’t Forget.
Aunt Charlotte is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. She is a dear, dear woman and would (and does) do anything for anyone. She is practically a saint. The one facet of her Make Up, aside from her still being alive, that keeps her from being canonized is her Very Selfish Streak when it comes to mom’s chocolate pound cake. She is very proud of the fact that she can hoard each cake for weeks. If a neighbor or family member is lucky enough to be offered a piece, she makes certain that it is so thin that you can read through it. I know this because this near-sainted woman actually brags to my mom about how thin she can cut the cake when forced to share. Any cake that can turn an otherwise generous and loving woman into Mrs. Scrooge is One Powerful Baked Good.
This is the very cake that I tried, and failed, to make for my friend in college. This is the cake whose batter is so tasty that my brother and I were thrilled that mom’s Bundt pan wouldn’t hold all of it, so we could eat it like pudding. This is the batter that, when I bought mom a Big Enough pan, we all mourned for ourselves, just a little bit. This is the cake that I decided to make for Friend Susan’s birthday during the Great Blizzard of ’10. Yes, I am Just. That. Nice.
So, I called mom, and if you want to hear how the conversation went, I’m afraid you’ll just have to watch the video. My fingers are tired, and I still have Much to Write.
It turns out that the Basic Ingredients for the Magical and Storied chocolate pound cake are almost identical, both in kind and in quantity, to the ingredients for any iteration of my Famous-in-my-own-mind Van Halen Pound Cake. I did do some tweaking. I mean, did you really think that I could just Leave It Alone? No, I didn’t think so. I immediately quadrupled the salt, increased the baking powder by a smidge, added a bit of soda to balance out the sour cream that I felt was necessary and added just a hint of heat with a sprinkle of cayenne.
And now, without further Ado, here it is:
- 12 oz. butter, soft-ish
- 6 oz. brown sugar
- 13 oz. sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- splash o' vanilla
- 5 eggs
- 10.5 oz. cake flour
- 2.5 oz cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 6 oz. half and half
- 4 oz. sour cream
- This cake is made using The Creaming Method. If you don't know how to do that, please learn. Then you will be able to make any cake you want to make as long as you have a list of ingredients. Here's how it goes:
- Prepare a 12-cup Bundt pan with oil and flour or with a flour spray such as Baker's Joy. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 325F and set a rack in the center of the oven.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugars, salt and vanilla, increase speed to medium-high and beat until lightened in color and fluffy, about 7-10 minutes. Scrape the bowl as necessary.
- Beat the eggs together in a small bowl, and with the mixer on medium low, drizzle them into the creamed butter and sugar mixture a bit at a time over about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl as necessary.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and optional cayenne.
- Whisk together the half and half and sour cream.
- Add the dry ingredients to the batter in three additions alternating with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with dry. Mix for only a few seconds between additions.
- Once the last amount of dry ingredients are in the bowl, mix until barely combined and then finish by hand, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to fully incorporate all the ingredients.
- The batter will be thick and billowy.
- Scrape the batter evenly into your prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven until done, about 1 hour to 1 hour and ten minutes.
- Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes before turning out to cool completely.
- Glaze and garnish as desired.
Oh, you like that glaze? Thanks. The white layer is just my regular old glaze–powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, vanilla and half and half. After just using the vanilla glaze, I decided that the cake wasn’t Festive Enough for a birthday, so I rummaged around and came up with some chocolate chips. I melted them along with a wee squirt of corn syrup (for shininess) and some half and half. Then, being Rather Lazy and not wanting to walk up our Sixteen Steps, I put the glaze in a plastic bag and snipped off a wee corner.
The Beloved and I wandered the cake over on Saturday evening, and we got back a clean plate on Tuesday. I think it went over Pretty Well.
Yes, we did get to Enjoy a Slice. Mostly because we said we wouldn’t leave unless they shared. It was Very, Very good. A little fudge-y, very chocolate-y and with a tight-ish, meltingly fine crumb. From Prior Experience, I can tell you that if you can stand to wait, this cake is even better a few days after baking. It just gets fudgier and fudgier. Eat it with a tall glass of whole milk. Come back and tell me all about how it has Changed Your Life and made you Occasionally Selfish. That way Aunt Charlotte won’t feel so isolated in her Chocolate Pound Cake Scrooge-dom.