This easy chocolate pound cake recipe is a delicious dessert with a moist, soft texture and rich chocolate flavor from the cocoa powder and chocolate ganache glaze. It's made with simple ingredients and will easily become your go-to weekend bake-off recipe.
Ingredients and substitutes
Flour - I use all-purpose flour (sifted), but you can replace it with cake flour if you like. Cake flour will give your pound chocolate cake a more tender crumb.
Cocoa powder - Use unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Dutch-processed cocoa powder) of good quality for the ultimate chocolate flavor. Also, make sure you sift it to break up all the lumps before mixing it with wet ingredients.
Baking powder - Since this recipe is made with Dutch-processed cocoa powder, we need to use two teaspoons of baking powder as a leavening agent. If you want to use natural cocoa powder (which is acidic), you will need to use one teaspoon of baking powder and one teaspoon of baking soda instead.
Salt - Always use some salt for flavor balance.
Butter - Butter (unsalted) should be at room temperature to beat well with sugar into a fluffy, pale mixture.
Sugar - I use regular white granulated sugar in my recipe. You can have a half and half mix of white and brown sugar, if you like.
Vanilla - I like to use a little bit of vanilla extract in chocolate dessert recipes. However, other flavor variations can be used here. You can read more about them further in the post.
Eggs - Eggs should be at room temperature. Using cold eggs will cause the butter to solidify and appear grainy when beaten together.
Milk - Use whole milk at room temperature. The milk will give our perfect chocolate pound cake extra moisture and tenderness.
Chocolate ganache - Use dark chocolate and heavy cream (34-36% fat) in equal proportions to make a chocolate glaze.
As I mentioned previously, I add a little bit of vanilla to my chocolate pound cake because this is what I like. However, there are other things you can add to make the flavor more interesting.
Instant coffee - Add two teaspoons of instant coffee of your choice when you beat the eggs with the butter mixture to intensify the chocolate flavor.
Espresso shot - If you have a coffee machine at home, you can make add one 30ml espresso shot to your chocolate cake.
Chocolate chips - There's no such a thing as too much chocolate in a chocolate dessert! This pound cake isn’t overly sweet and you can add more chocolate to add extra sweetness, moisture, and deliciousness. Any type of chocolate chips (from white to dark) can be used here. As for amounts, don't go overboard! ⅓ to ½ cup of chips will be enough.
Flaky salt - I know that we're already adding some salt to the pound cake batter but hear me out. Sprinkling some flaky sea salt on top of the chocolate glaze - amazing! The salt crystals will stick nicely and won't melt, which will give us a defined, salty punch when you bite in.
Nuts - You can go nuts and add some nuts to the pound cake batter to play with flavor and texture. Anything like roughly chopped hazelnuts, walnuts, and pecans will work great.
Glaze - Even with the glaze you can be creative! You can use plain chocolate to make the ganache, or you can use chocolate with added nuts, cocoa nibs, etc.
Weigh all the ingredients using a digital kitchen scale. I say this every time and I will continue to do so. To get a consistently good result in baking, you should always properly weigh your ingredients.
Beat your butter well. It's not enough to just mix the butter with sugar, we need to beat it well to capture air bubbles inside which improves texture and makes the pound cake lighter. So, take your time and beat the butter with the sugar for a good 5 minutes or until it's fluffy and pale.
If the butter and egg mixture curdles, don't worry. This happens because there’s too much fat from the butter and egg yolks. Once you start adding flour, the mixture will become super smooth, as it should be.
Don't overbake. Overbaking can result in a dry pound cake. I suggest that you start checking on your cake after 45 minutes of baking by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the pound cake. If it comes out wet, keep baking for extra 5-10 minutes. Then, check again. If it's still not ready, give it 5 more minutes. My cake was done after 55 minutes, but it can take 5 minutes more or 5 minutes less for your oven, as they all bake differently.
Don't open the oven too early. Contrary to the last point, you shouldn’t open the oven too early to check if your cake is ready. Opening the oven's door too early into the baking process can deflate your cake – and it won't rise again. So, as I said in the previous paragraph, start checking after 45 minutes.
Step by step directions
1. Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside.
2. Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy and pale (approximately 5 minutes). Scrape the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl now and then.
3. Add one egg at a time and beat until incorporated. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl now and then.
4. Add the dry ingredients while alternating with the milk and mix on low, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Should look like this – dry/half of the milk/dry/the rest of the milk/dry. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl now and then.
5. Pour the batter into the 9x5-inch (23x13cm) loaf pan lined with parchment paper and bake on the middle rack in the oven (preheated to 170C/340F) for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.
6. Remove from the oven and let cool down in the loaf pan for 5-10 minutes. Then, transfer the cake onto a cooling rack to cool down completely.
7. Heat the chocolate in the microwave in short increments, mixing in between until completely melted.
8. Add the heavy cream and mix with a rubber spatula, scraping the sides and the bottom of the bowl until a homogenous consistency is reached.
9. Pour on top of the cooled loaf and spread evenly. Slice and serve.
Caramel - Drizzle some sauce on top of a slice of pound cake. By the way, you can make your own Salted caramel if you want; it takes almost no time!
Whipped heavy cream – Cold, plain whipped cream fits well with chocolate desserts. You can sweeten your cream with some powdered sugar if you want.
Ice cream - Just a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a still-warm slice of moist chocolate pound cake... yum!
Raspberry coulis – You can make homemade Raspberry coulis (or sauce if you will) to have with this chocolate dessert.
Without ganache, chocolate pound cake can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to one week. With ganache, it can be stored at room temperature for 1 day and in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Wrap the whole loaf (unfrosted) or slice it and wrap each slice individually in plastic wrap, then in foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before serving. You can heat it in the microwave for 10 seconds to make it soft again.
More chocolate dessert recipes
Chocolate pound cake
- Digital kitchen scale
- Rubber spatula
- Stand mixer
- 9x5 inch (23x13 cm) loaf pan
For the pound cake
- 190 g all-purpose flour
- 50 g unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 220 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 250 g granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 g whole milk at room temperature
For the glaze
- 85 g dark semi-sweet chocolate, plain or with nuts or cocoa nibs
- 85 ml heavy cream 34-36% fat, can be cold
- Preheat the oven to 170C (340F) and line a 9x5-inch (23x13cm) loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Into a bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or you can use a bowl and a hand mixer), add the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat at medium-high speed until the butter is pale and fluffy. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl now and then.
- Then, add one egg at a time and beat until fully incorporated. Don’t add the next egg until the previous one is fully combined. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl now and then.
- Add the dry ingredients while alternating with the milk and mix on low, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Should look like this – dry/half of the milk/dry/the rest of the milk/dry. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl now and then.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake on the middle rack for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.
- Remove from the oven and let cool down in the loaf pan for 5-10 minutes. Then, transfer the cake onto a cooling rack to cool down completely.
For the glaze
- Place the chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat 15 seconds at a time, mixing in between until the chocolate has completely melted.
- Add the heavy cream and mix well with a silicone spatula, scraping the walls and the bottom until a homogenous consistency is reached.
- Pour the ganache on top of the cooled-down pound cake and spread with the spatula.
- Slice and serve.