Chocolate pound cake is a rich, moist, and dense but tender loaf cake—a chocolatey perfection! It’s made with pantry staples, and it’s super speedy and easy to whip up (no electric mixer required here). I hope it will become a staple in your household as a perfect any day treat.
I love a slice of this pound cake with my beloved morning coffee. It also satisfies my after-dinner sweets craving. Recently, I poked a few (yes, just a few!) candles on top to celebrate my chocolate-loving mother’s birthday. I will be baking it over and over again.
Before you rush off to preheat your oven, I want to share a few things I learned that will help you bake the best chocolate pound cake ever.
Cocoa Powder vs. Chocolate
Recipes that call for chocolate either use cocoa powder or chocolate (bars, chunks, or chips), or both. What’s the difference and is one better than the other?
The nitty gritty: Both cocoa powder and chocolate come from cacao beans. Chocolate is made with cocoa solids (aka flavor) and cocoa butter (aka fat). Cocoa powder is primarily cocoa solids—it has little fat but produces a strong chocolate flavor when baked.
There are two types of cocoa powder out there: natural, often called unsweetened cocoa powder, and Dutch-process. Natural cocoa powder is somewhat acidic in flavor. Dutch-process cocoa powder is treated with an alkali to neutralize that acidity. They are not always interchangeable in baking recipes—you may need to adjust the leavening agent (in this case baking soda) to get the same results.
This recipe uses a combination of natural cocoa powder (for chocolatey flavor) and semisweet chocolate chips (for flavor, moisture, and texture).
Butter or Oil? Both!
For a chocolate loaf that is fudgy, moist, and just the right density, butter seemed like the obvious choice. But after testing a few batches, I noticed that my loaf was a little dry the next day. (Disclaimer: It didn’t deter me from eating it.) Trial, error, and some research led me to add a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil, which is liquid at room temperature, for added moisture.
Many chocolate cake recipes call for creaming butter and sugar until light and airy, which creates a soft and light cake. Chocolate pound cake calls for melted butter and a little vegetable oil. No need to cream it. The ingredients are mixed until just combined without incorporating any air into the batter. It is dense but still tender and moist.
What Will Intensify the Chocolate Flavor?
I’m glad you asked. Chocolate cakes, brownies, and chocolate puddings often call for coffee. This doesn’t make your recipe coffee flavored, instead it helps to enhance the flavor of the chocolate.
Recipes can call for a brewed cup of joe, but here I use a teaspoon of instant espresso powder mixed with hot water. If coffee isn’t your thing, you can simply omit the espresso powder. You’ll still need to add the 1/2 cup of boiling water.
Brown Sugar for More Flavor
Another ingredient that is really going to enhance the chocolate flavor is brown sugar. Brown sugar is simply granulated sugar with molasses (flavor!) added to it. Dark brown sugar has more molasses than light brown sugar. The molasses, just like vegetable oil, is liquid at room temperature and contributes moisture.
How to Tell When the Loaf is Done
Chocolate pound cake is so dark it’s sometimes hard to tell if it’s done baking. Enter the toothpick test!
Check for doneness at the low range of the suggested bake time (for this recipe: 65 minutes). Insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf. If it comes out with just a few moist crumbs, it is ready. If you get wet batter, it needs to bake longer. Check every 5 minutes thereafter.
If the toothpick is clean, the loaf is overcooked. But that’s okay! An overbaked loaf can be saved by brushing simple syrup over the top and letting it seep down into the loaf.
A Warm Loaf Will Crumble
The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the loaf to cool completely before slicing into it. A warm loaf will crumble. It will firm up as it cools, ensuring clean slices.
Jazz it Up
While this loaf is scrumptious as is, sometimes fancy is fun.
- Fold in your favorite nut, like chopped pecans or walnuts, into the batter before baking.
- Add white chocolate chips or dried fruit for a different flavor profile.
- Top it off with a simple chocolate frosting or chocolate ganache.
- Serve it with whipped cream or sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Fresh berries on the side would be delicious.
Wrap Your Leftovers
Wrap any leftover loaf tightly with plastic wrap or place it into an airtight container. Keep it at room temperature for up to 5 days.
For Your Everyday Chocolate Cravings
Chocolate Pound Cake
Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing the pan
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups (326g) semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup (196g) dark brown sugar, tightly packed
2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (201g) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (35g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven and prepare the pan:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two of the sides. Set it aside.
Melt the chocolate:
Place the espresso powder and 3/4 cup (163g) chocolate chips in a large bowl. Pour in the boiling water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, whisk together until smooth.
Add the wet ingredients:
Whisk in the brown sugar, melted butter, vegetable oil, and vanilla until smooth. Add the eggs and whisk until fully combined.
Mix the dry ingredients:
Set a sifter or fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, and sift. Whisk to combine.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients:
Use a rubber spatula to fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until just combined.
Add chocolate chips:
Fold in the remaining 3/4 cup (163g) chocolate chips.
Bake the pound cake:
Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until the loaf has risen and cracked a bit on the top, 65 to 75 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with just a few moist crumbs, but no wet batter.
Cool and serve the pound cake:
Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool for about 1 hour. Use the parchment sling to lift the loaf out. Slice and serve at room temperature.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 8 to 10|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 32g||41%|
|Saturated Fat 18g||89%|
|Total Carbohydrate 58g||21%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||11%|
|Total Sugars 37g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|