Chocolate Pound Cake
This chocolate pound cake bakes up so rich & velvety, with lots of deep chocolate flavor. Lovely for dessert or as an afternoon pick-me-up!
Do you need a chocolate fix?
Lately that’s all I feel like I’ve been needing! I’m craving chocolate night and day.
Over the last week or so, I’ve made 3 batches of my famous brownies from scratch, plus a big batch of these thin & crispy chocolate chip cookies (they taste just like Tate’s!), and now I’ve got mean hankering for chocolate pudding with whipped cream on top.
Comfort food! Give me comfort!
This chocolate pound cake is doing the job too.
I just love pound cake because of how simple it is, but also because it’s buttery and velvety and rich and dense and just so perfect! A slice of pound cake and a cup of tea or coffee is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Add chocolate to that and it’s just next level!
WHAT IS CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE?
If you’re not already familiar with pound cake, allow me to illuminate you.
At first glance, it looks pretty plain and not very exciting. It’s basically just plain cake.
But take a bite, and you’ll be transported. The crumb is so fine it almost feels creamy in your mouth. The buttery flavor will totally wow you. The balance of sweet and rich is everything you never knew you even needed. It’s home-y and old-fashioned and nostalgic, and it will make you feel so loved and cared for.
It’s truly magical.
- Traditional Pound Cake (perfumed with vanilla)
- Lemon Pound Cake (butter + lemon = heaven!)
- Brown Sugar Pound Cake (even warmer and richer tasting)
- Orange Spice Pound Cake with Sugared Cranberries (spectacular for the holidays!)
But for today’s recipe we are going to satisfy that beast of a chocolate craving. So this has everything that we already love about pound cake, but also the intense, deep, dark, rich flavor of chocolate!
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE
Just like any other pound cake, this recipe starts with butter and sugar.
Make sure your butter is softened to room temperature (I give mine about 15 seconds in the microwave). It should be soft but not melty.
Put it in a big mixing bowl along with the granulated sugar, and whip its brains out.
You want the mixture to be very pale and very fluffy. This is so important because the air you incorporate during this step is going to leaven the cake. It will make it rise and give it the proper delicate texture that you are looking for.
Don’t skimp! Set a timer for 5 minutes and beat it with a vengeance.
Once the butter mixture looks almost white and is doubled in volume, you can start adding the eggs.
Mix them in one at a time, allowing each one to fully incorporate before you add the next. It’s also a good idea to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and beater with a silicone spatula after each addition.
Next comes the sour cream and vanilla.
Vanilla is really going to round out the chocolate flavor, and sour cream and chocolate compliment each other in the most fantastic way. The mild natural acidity in the sour cream is also going to get together with that little pinch of baking soda, and boost the rise of the cake so it climbs sky-high and light as a feather.
The last step is to add your dry ingredients. I call for cake flour for all the reasons listed here: Why Use Cake Flour? and I really like a combination of dark (Dutched) cocoa and regular unsweetened cocoa powder.
The dark cocoa gives a beautiful color to the cake, and the regular cocoa provides that rich, dark chocolate flavor we are craving.
There’s also a little bit of baking soda added, and a good, fat pinch of salt to balance all the flavors.
Fold these dry ingredients in very gently. This is the step where you want to be careful not to overwork the batter. If you do, your cake will come out tough and it won’t rise properly.
Mix everything together until the batter is *just barely* combined, then transfer the batter to the pan and get it right into the oven.
HOW TO SERVE IT
Honestly, this cake does not need a single thing. It’s simple perfection, just as is.
But there is nothing wrong with gilding the lily every now and then.
- Sprinkle it with a dusting of powdered sugar to make it extra-pretty.
- Bathe it with a blanket of chocolate glaze.
- Add mini-chocolate chips to the batter and/or to the top of the cake before you bake it.
- Serve it with a dollop of softly whipped cream and a handful of fresh berries.
- Top it with a scoop of ice cream. Vanilla ice cream, mint chocolate chip ice cream, or strawberry ice cream would be a few of my top choices. Or you could go completely over the top with this sinful chocolate ice cream.
- Add a drizzle of chocolate syrup, hot fudge sauce, raspberry sauce, salted caramel or dulce de leche.
CAN THIS BE MADE IN A DIFFERENT SIZED PAN?
As you can see in these pics, I baked my chocolate pound cake in a standard-sized loaf pan.
But the recipe can also be doubled to make a double-layer 8-inch round cake, a triple-layer 6-inch round cake, 2 dozen cupcakes, or you can bake it in a 10-cup bundt pan.
Just be aware that if you bake it in a different sized pan, you may need to adjust the bake time. You’ll know your cake is done baking when a toothpick inserted into the thickest part comes out clean or with just one or two moist crumbs clinging to it.
I would also add that pound cake is very sturdy and can stand up to a lot of weight, so if you’re looking to make a stacked cake with a lot of layers (like a wedding cake), this recipe is a great choice.
CAN THIS BE MADE GLUTEN-FREE?
I have not personally tested it this way, so I can’t guarantee the results, but I do believe that this recipe would come out well using a gluten-free flour blend. Look for one that subs 1:1 for regular flour.
HOW LONG WILL IT KEEP?
Slip your chocolate pound cake into a zip-top bag once it’s completely cool, and it should last at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
After that, if you still have leftovers, pop them into the fridge and they should keep for another week or two.
You can also freeze chocolate pound cake. It will last in the freezer for a couple months at least. Thaw it at room temp or in the fridge before slicing.
A FEW MORE OF MY FAVORITE CAKE RECIPES
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Chocolate Pound Cake
- 3/4 cup (170.25 g) unsalted butter, (1 1/2 sticks), softened
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 3 (132 g) eggs, (large)
- 3/4 cup (172.5 g) sour cream*
- 1 teaspoon (4.93 g) vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups (156.25 g) cake flour
- 1/4 cup (21.5 g) dark cocoa powder, (aka: "Dutched," or "Dutch-processed")
- 3 tablespoons (44.36 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon (4.93 g) kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.23 g) baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and mist a 5-cup loaf pan with non-stick spray.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, or until very pale and fluffy.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, then add the first egg, mixing in on medium speed until completely incorporated.
- Continue to add eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl and allowing each one to fully incorporate before adding the next.
- Stir in the sour cream and vanilla on medium-low speed until well-blended.
- Add the flour, dark cocoa, regular cocoa, salt, and baking soda, folding together gently until just barely combined.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and bake the cake until a skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs (approx. 75 to 85 minutes).
- Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes, then remove it from the pan and allow it to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Thank you for responding so quickly🙂. I did use fairly new baking soda. I whipped butter and sugar about 5 or 6 minutes. Oven was preheated. Only thing I noticed was my batter was very thick and yours looked a tad creamier in your pictures. I did measure my sour cream in a glass measuring cup that I use for liquid measuring. My butter was really soft, eggs and sour cream were at room temp. As you can see, I am trying to figure out what I did to have this result. I will try this again for sure because I know how wonderful your desserts turn out for my family.
I’m not an expert but I bake a lot. If I had to guess I would say your butter was too soft. Too soft butter and it can’t hold the air when whipped.
My cake is only about two inches tall, 2 1/2 at middle peak. I followed instructions exactly, especially gently mixing in dry ingredients. My pan is 9.5 x 5 per your link for pan size. Is this the height I should have? Thank you for guidance. I usually have such success with your recipes because you give such wonderful instructions. ( I used King Arthur cake flour. )
No, that definitely isn’t right! I’m sure you can see from the photos that the final result should dome above the top of the loaf pan. How long did you whip the butter and sugar together, and did you remember to add the baking soda? What’s the expiration date on the baking soda and was your oven fully preheated?
Is Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder OK to use? Is it considered “Dutch processed”? Thank you!!
Can you please tell me what is sour cream .
I would like to try this chocolate cake.
Sour cream is a dairy product. You can find it in the dairy section of your supermarket, near the cream cheese, yogurt, and ricotta. Some brand names include Breakstone’s and Daisy. Good luck I hope you enjoy!
Can you specify the size if the loaf pan that is equal to 5 cups? Both my 9×5 and 8×3.5 hold more than five cups? Thank you.
Hey there! The pan I used for the cake you see in these pics is a standard-sized loaf pan. The capacity is 5 cups. You can use a different sized pan if you’d like, but you may have to adjust the bake time slightly and the shape could end up being a little different. Hope this is helpful info!
I appreciate the cup measurement of the loaf pan, which you noted in the recipe, but I, like others would appreciate the width and length measurement! In advance, thank you!
A standard-size loaf pan (which I’ve linked in the recipe instructions) is 9-inches by 5-inches. Hope this is helpful!
Delicious and easy recipe.
Followed the recipe and added ganache make with coconut milk with dark/ semi sweet chocolate discs.
Sounds amazing! Thanks for the great review Rita!
Mmmmm, this looks really tasty, Allie! I, too, am all about comfort food right now. Cold comfort, actually, as my next bake is going to be an ice cream cake for my birthday this weekend. But after that, this pound cake is definitely next on my list!