This is the cake that started my love affair with pound cake. My mom’s dark chocolate pound cake was the dessert my brother and I grew up fighting over. And with good reason. It’s a rich and easy cake to make. Long before I perfected my master pound cake recipe, I was loving this chocolate version.
And now, after years of having my mom make this cake, I have taken the reins. Since I cannot leave well enough alone, I have given this recipe a few minor tweaks, but at its heart, it’s the old fashioned chocolate pound cake that saw me through childhood, through college, and well into adulthood. I hope you love it as much as I do!
And for you pound cake super fans, I’ve rounded up all my pound cake recipes in one place on the blog!
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Aunt Charlotte’s Favorite
My mom is famous for her chocolate pound cake. 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 were relatives of the heart.
Her birthday was on December 31, and every year my mom baked her a chocolate pound cake. She’d done this for Decades. Even so, Aunt Charlotte used to Drop Hints starting in October, just to make sure that mom Wouldn’t Forget.
Aunt Charlotte was one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. She was a dear, dear woman and would do anything for anyone. She is practically a saint. The one personality flaw that kept her from being immediately sainted upon her death was her Very Selfish Streak when it came to mom’s chocolate pound cake.
She was very proud of the fact that she could hoard each cake for weeks. If a neighbor or family member was lucky enough to be offered a piece, she made certain it is so thin that you could read through it.
I know this because this near-sainted woman used to brag 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.
The Mixing Method is Important
This is the very cake that I tried, and failed, to make for my friend in college.
Even though I used to watch mom make this cake and thought I knew what I was doing, and even though she was actually standing beside me as I worked, she watched as I added all the eggs AT ONE TIME AND DIDN’T EVEN STOP ME.
Now-me realizes that adding the eggs one at a time is crucial to building a stable emulsion.
Then-me just wanted to get the cake in the oven.
Of course, the batter ended up thin and sad and not at all the billowy chocolate heaven it normally was.
Don’t rush like I did. Make sure to use the creaming method to make this cake. I go over the steps in detail in the recipe, and I’m also adding a video in the recipe card below so you can watch me do the creaming method.
In a nutshell, though, here are the steps.
The Creaming Method
- Beat butter until smooth and creamy.
- Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. NOTE: I modify this by beating the eggs in a bowl and drizzling them slowly into the batter over about five minutes or so. This results in the most stable emulsion possible.
- Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients dry->wet->dry->wet->dry.
- Pan and bake.
Pan Size is Important
It turns out that mom’s pound cake recipe is nearly identical to all my pound cake variations. The basic formula, not including flavorings, leavenings, etc, is:
- 13 oz cake flour (about 3 cups)
- 12 oz unsalted butter (3 sticks)
- 20 oz granulated sugar (about 3 cups)
- 5 large eggs
- 10 oz by weight liquid (1 1/4 cups, usually of dairy of some sort)
If you don’t own a 12 cup Bundt pan, it doesn’t mean you have to buy one or that you can’t make this cake.
Check out my brown sugar cinnamon pound cake recipe. That recipe has the same proportions, and I baked some of the batter in a loaf pan, some in an 8″ round pan, and I also made 11 cupcakes.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match different size pans. If you need to check how many cups of batter a pan holds, Wilton has a great cake size chart that will help.
How I Tweaked My Mom’s Recipe
The only things I changed about the original recipe were to
- up the amount of salt originally called for
- up the baking powder just a bit
- swap out some of the milk for sour cream
- add a bit of baking soda to balance out the acidic sour cream
- add just a tiny bit of heat with a bit of cayenne. This is totally optional.
And now, without further Ado, here it is.
How to Make the Two-Tone Glaze
I think the glaze is so pretty! It’s also really easy to achieve.
The white layer is just my regular old glaze (and I never measure for glaze):
- powdered sugar
- a pinch of salt
- a splash of vanilla and
- just enough half and half to make a thick, barely pourable glaze
NOTE: For additional richness and a glaze that tastes more like a traditional frosting (but pourable), whisk some melted butter into the powdered sugar before beginning to add the half and half. Maybe 2 Tablespoons of melted butter per 2 cups powdered sugar.
The chocolate glaze is also easy to make. You can do it with nothing more than melted chocolate chips.
I went ahead and melted chocolate chips with some half and half and a tiny bit of corn syrup, for shine.
Either way, pipe it on with a pastry bag and a reusable #2 tip or just snip off a tiny corner of a zip top bag and use that.
It’s a seriously delicious cake, y’all.
A little fudge-y, very chocolate-y and with a tight, 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.
This guy freezes really well for a good 3-4 months. Make sure it is well wrapped in both plastic wrap and then heavy-duty foil.
For ease of serving, I suggest slicing it before freezing. That way when you want a piece of cake, you can just take out what you need.
If you are planning to freeze the whole cake, wait until you thaw it out to glaze it. Then let the glaze set up for 2-3 hours before slicing and serving.
A Note About Measurements
NOTE: Most of my recipes are written by weight and not volume, even the liquids.
Even though I try to provide you with volume measurements as well, I encourage you to buy a kitchen scale for ease of measuring, accuracy, and consistency.
This is the scale I use, love, and recommend:
I really hope you love this recipe you guys! If you make it, don’t be selfish like Aunt Charlotte, and please share a photo with me, either in the PCO Facebook Group or on instagram by tagging @onlinepastrychef and using hashtag #pcorecipe. Thanks, and enjoy every bite!
- 12 oz butter, (3 sticks at cool room temperature)
- 6 oz . brown sugar (about a scant packed cup)
- 13 oz . sugar (about 2 cups)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs
- 10.5 oz cake flour (about 2 1/2 cups, whisked, spooned into a cup lightly, and swept off level)
- 2.5 oz cocoa powder (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 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. If your cocoa powder is lumpy, sift all dry ingredients together. Set aside.
- 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.
Please note the recipe says it makes 24 slices. If you're Aunt Charlotte, you can get at least 32 if not about 160 slices out of one cake!
For the moistest possible cake, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap once you remove it from the pan and allow to cool that way. The plastic wrap ensures all the moisture stays in your cake instead of evaporating out as it cools.
VIDEO NOTE: This is an old video I made with an actual camcorder! The sound is not great but the information is useful!
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Nutrition InformationYield 24 Serving Size 1 slice
Amount Per Serving Calories 280Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 75mgSodium 231mgCarbohydrates 35gFiber 1gSugar 23gProtein 3g
The stated nutritional information is provided as a courtesy. It is calculated through third party software and is intended as a guideline only.