I like pound cakes. They're sturdy and substantial, and when they're good they're very very good. When they're bad, well, you can always make trifle. Or a doorstop. This one is heavy, with a very tight crumb, which I loved, because I could slice it thinly. After supper, we each had a thin slice and were completely satisfied. The next day, I dabbed another slice with whipped cream cheese and apricot jam. Fantastic.
Here's a great website: Things Cooks Love, where I was browsing and found this recipe. Lots of recipes from the publisher of The Art and Soul of Baking, among others.
Baker's Notes: I made this on the spur of the moment, and I didn't have any "good" cocoa powder in the pantry. That's why the color is so black, almost the color of an Oreo. I'll get down to the Blommer Factory soon to remedy that, but even with supermarket cocoa, it was delicious. I made the loaf, but included the instructions for the mini-bundt pans, in case you're lucky enough to have those. Note the bubbles in the photo, I guess I needed to rap the filled pan on the counter to get rid of excess air.
Chocolate Velvet Pound Cake
adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking
- 1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened (65° to 68°F)
- 1 ¼ cups (8¾ ounces) sugar
- 1 teaspoon water, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, such as Medaglia d’Oro
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (2 ounces) unsifted unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup (4 ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350°F and position an oven rack in the center. Lightly coat an 8 ½ by 4 ½-inch loaf pan with melted butter, oil, or high-heat canola-oil spray, and fit it with parchment paper to extend up both long sides to the top of the pan (I just sprayed my loaf pan with Bakers Joy.)
Cream the butter and sugar: Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium-high until light—almost white—in color, 4 to 5 minutes. You can also use a hand mixer and a medium bowl, although you may need to beat the mixture a little longer to achieve the same results. Scrape down the bowl with the spatula.
Add the eggs: In the small bowl, stir together the water and espresso powder until smooth. Crack the eggs into the bowl and beat to blend. With the mixer running on medium, add the eggs to the butter mixture about 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to completely blend in before adding the next. About halfway through, turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl, then continue adding the eggs. Scrape down the bowl again.
Add the dry and wet ingredients alternately: With the fine-mesh strainer, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into the medium bowl and whisk to blend. With the mixer running on the lowest speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, beginning with one-third of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk; repeat, then finish with flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl and finish blending the batter by hand, if necessary.
Bake the cake: Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Rap the pan on the counter, to eliminate air bubbles. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. When cool, remove from the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and serve.
The cake can be made several days ahead and kept at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap. Or double-wrap it, put in a resealable plastic freezer bag, and freeze for up to 8 weeks.
Individual Chocolate Velvet Bundt Cakes
Use an individual Bundt cake pan (with six 1-cup molds) and follow the instructions for the Individual Bundt Cakes variation (page 312), but bake for 16 to 19 minutes. See recipe introduction for finishing ideas. Makes 6 individual Bundt cakes.
Mini Chocolate Velvet Bundt Cakes
Use a mini Bundt pan (with twelve ¼-cup molds) and follow the instructions for the Mini Bundt Cakes variation (page 312), baking for 13 to 15 minutes. See recipe introduction for finishing ideas. Makes about 18 mini Bundt cakes.