Pound cake. I have made so many that I have my standard formula memorized. I will show you.
- 13 oz cake flour
- 18-20 oz sugar (depending)
- 12 oz (3 sticks) butter
- 5 large eggs
- 10 oz some combination of dairy or other liquids
- 1 teaspoon baking powder plus a bit of soda if I’m using acidic ingredients
- 1 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
The rest is just flavorings and/or add-ins. You don’t technically even need the leavening, but I do like to use just a bit as insurance. For reference, when making a “regular” cake, I allow 1 teaspoon baking powder per cup of flour. This recipe uses 3 cups of flour (13 oz), but I still only use the 1 teaspoon. I want a nice, tight, velvety crumb. Something that will slice cleanly and not leave crumbs everywhere like a “regular birthday cake” can.
This most recent iteration of the Van Halen Pound Cake, the cake that started my pound cake renaissance, is a slightly adapted version of Aunt Charlotte’s “Selfish-Making Pound Cake” I’m calling chocolate espresso pound cake. I thought I would share it with you again since I just made it to be sold at a bake sale last Saturday. The batter was delicious, and the glaze turned out so pretty, so I figured I could tell you about how I did all of that, too.
For the Cake
- 10.5 oz cake flour
- 2.5 oz non alkalized cocoa powder, , sifted so it's free of lumps
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 Tablespoons espresso powder, (or instant coffee ground to a powder)
- 12 oz (3 sticks) unsalted butter at cool room temperature
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 18 oz light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs, , lightly beaten
- 4 oz sour cream
- 6 oz whole milk
For the Ganache
- 3 oz semi sweet chocolate, (high quality chips are fine)
- 3 oz half and half
For the Espresso Glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- small pinch fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee ground to a powder
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- enough milk to get it to drizzling consistency, , about 1-2 Tablespoons
For the Cake
- Thoroughly pan spray a 12-cup Bundt pan. Dust the inside liberally with sifted cocoa powder, knocking out excess. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, soda and espresso powder until well combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth and creamy.
- Add the salt and brown sugar and cream on medium speed until very light and fluffy, scraping bowl as necessary. This will take about 10 minutes.
- Whisk the vanilla into the beaten eggs and slowly drizzle the eggs into the batter with the mixer running. Do this gradually, a bit at a time, over about 5 minutes. Scrape bowl as necessary.
- Whisk together the sour cream and milk.
- With the mixer off, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the bowl. Mix on low for a few seconds and stream in about half of the milk/sour cream mixture. Scrape bowl as necessary.
- Add another half of the dry ingredients followed by the rest of the milk/sour cream. End with the dry ingredients.
- Fold batter by hand to make sure all the flour is incorporated.
- Scrape into the prepared pan and bake on the center rack of the oven for about an hour. It takes 1 hour, 5 minutes in my oven for the cake to be done and register 200F on an instant read thermometer.
- Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 20 to 30 minutes. Turn cake out onto a rack to cool completely before glazing.
For the Ganache
- Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl.
- Bring the half and half to a boil and pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit a minute and stir slowly until smooth and glossy.
- Spoon evenly over the cooled cake. It won't give you full coverage, and that's just fine.
For the Espresso Glaze
- Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add a tablespoon of milk and the vanilla. Stir well and check consistency. It should be a fairly thin glaze that will flow freely from the end of a spoon or the tines of a fork. Stir in milk, a teaspoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
- Pull some glaze out of the bowl with a spoon or a fork and move it over the cake in a circular motion. Continue until you have pretty even coverage all over the top and about halfway down the sides of the cake.
- Store cake at room temperature. Enjoy.
Here’s your fun printable Christmas recipe card. If you’d like, you can download all three templates here.
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Pound cake is one of my favorite things to make. I do recommend you have a stand mixer for most cake making (except for ones made using the Dissolved Sugar Method like my stout cake and chocolate creamsicle cake). And while you can bake them in loaf pans, I prefer baking in Bundt pans, partly because it gives them more presence and partly because I love all the fun designs! Here are some of my recommendations for you. Please note that the holiday pans won’t hold an entire recipe. When that happens to me, I always bake the extra batter in muffin tins.
I think you are really going to enjoy this chocolate espresso pound cake. It’s the kind of cake, too, that gets better with age. While it’s tasty on day one, it gets fudgier and deliciouser by day 3 and 4, if you can keep it around that long.
Thank you for spending some time with me today. Take care, and have a lovely day and the very best Christmas ever.