24 May 2010

Chocolate Pound Cake

When I was growing up, there were some special desserts that my grandmother made. EVERYONE'S grandmother made them. One of them was chocolate pound cake. This is one of those recipes that is closely guarded and only given to the younger generation when they marry, as a part of their trousseau. It's an incredibly lovely cake, with a texture like silk and a deeply chocolate flavor. It was often served alone, unfrosted, with perhaps some fruit. When it wasn't served plain, it was frosted with a fudge frosting that was basically fudge spread over the cake before it hardened. It's one of my fondest memories.

I had a recipe for this cake, and I've lost it. I have all my family recipes, given to me by my parents and grandparents, in a notebook. Somehow this recipe has disappeared. Please don't tell my grandmother. Needless to say, as soon as I couldn't find it, I wanted it. Badly.

See, I have this lovely new pan, a gift from a friend, and I think it would be perfect for chocolate pound cake. I've searched high and low and everywhere in between, but I can't find it. I must have put it somewhere safe. Sigh...

Undaunted, I began to search the internet for this recipe. I remember parts of it, and I was confident that I would be able to recognize it if I could find it. After hours and hours of searching, no luck. I found a few that were close, and I combined them into one that I thought was fairly close to the original.

I lovingly measured out all of my ingredients, sifted the flour, creamed the butter and sugar well, added the eggs and then the liquids and the dry ingredients alternatively, beating well after each one. I was channeling my grandmother, who by the way I resemble more and more with each passing year. I carefully greased and floured all the ridges in my new pan, and added the batter. I baked it the requisite time, and stuck it with a bamboo skewer.

Never having had a deft hand with fudge, I frosted it with ganache. Since I'm still in my cardamom phase, I infused the ganache with cardamom. I loved the way that the ganache ran over the cake and into the creases.

So? How was it? It was good. I took it to a party and it disappeared with satisfying speed. If I had never had the other recipe, I'd be veryvery happy with this. However...

It's not my grandmother's chocolate pound cake. If you have your grandmother's chocolate pound cake recipe, please, please--share it with me. Don't make me beg.

Chocolate Pound Cake

6oo g / 3 cups sugar
20 g / 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
340 g / 1 ½ cup butter, softened

5 eggs
400 g / 2 ½ cups cake flour
30 g / ¾ cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
225 ml / 1 cup milk

115 ml / ½ cup heavy cream
1 Teaspoon corn syrup
8 cardamom pods
110 g / 4 oz dark chocolate

  • Preheat oven to 165 C / 325 F
  • Grease and flour cake pan.
  • Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
  • Mix butter with regular and vanilla sugar till light and fluffy. This will take a few minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
  • Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  • Pour into pan and bake until a skewer or broom straw comes out clean. In this pan it took 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  • Cool 10 minutes or so in the pan, then turn out on a wire rack to cool.

When it's cool, make the ganache:
  • Chop the chocolate into very small pieces and place in a medium bowl.
  • Bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer. Crush the cardamom pods with a mortar and pestle and add to the cream. Take off the heat, cover and let steep for about 1/2 hour.
  • Strain the cardamom out of the cream and reheat until just simmering. Watch it carefully--you don’t want it to boil because then it will develop a skin that you’ll just have to get rid of. When the cream is just starting to steam, pour it over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for about 3 minutes. Then stir slowly and gently, starting in the middle until thoroughly combined and then working outward in concentric circles until the mixture comes together. It will. Have faith.
  • Pour the glaze quickly in the center of the cake and around the edges. Let it run off. If necessary, tap the baking sheet on your work surface to encourage the glaze to run down the sides of the cake. Let the glaze firm up before serving.
Enough for 10-12

  • I used vanilla sugar, because I don't have vanilla extract. If you don't have vanilla sugar, you can use 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Add it after the eggs and before the flour.
  • Instead of ganache, this would be wonderful served with a fruit coulis and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Carol at Serendipity said...


I know the cake is wonderful but the Pan you baked it in is gorgeous. Is there a "brand"?

I don't have any recipes for chocolate pound cake or I would share. This one looks awfully good though.


Stella said...

Hi Kate, I hope you find that recipe. Maybe a cousin of yours has it or something??? This looks great though, and I'm not even hungry right now...
Oh, and I would give you my grandma's chocolate cake recipe, but it's probably something you can buy at the store in a box (smile)!

Barbara said...

I'm loving that olive pesto, Kate. Copying the recipe now.

And you've got one of those marvelous bundt pans! I think I saw them at Williams Sonoma. Your pound cake looks divine in that shape. And with the ganache? YUM.

Sorry I can't help you with a chocolate pound cake recipe. Did it have sour cream in it?

My mother made a 7 Up pound cake that is fabulous and I still make it. It's a huge cake, serves a lot of people and is great to take to people who are housebound because you can slice it, wrap the individual slices and freeze.

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Kate,
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I have a slew of cookbooks from all eras on my bookshelf. If you want to email me with the ingredients and steps you remember, I'd be delighted to try and find the recipe for you. Also, have you tried the Uncle Phaedrus, Finder of Lost Recipes website. It's amazing how many lost recipes he finds. Good Luck!

Love the look of that chocolate pound cake in that new pan! Way cool...I should add, whenever my grandmother made pound cake, she literally used one pound of all the basic ingredients. Hence the name pound cake:)

Thanks for me if need be...acalenda [at] gmail [dot] com

Jane said...

Hi Kate-- That is an exceptionally beautiful cake. I've seen a lot of photos of cakes baked in that exact type of pan, but I think yours takes the cake (pardon the cliche pun!). I love the way you dripped the ganache. Gorgeous photo of what sounds like a pretty good recipe, even if it's not the preferred genuine article from your grandma. Lovely post!

Kate at Serendipity said...

Carol, thanks for stopping by. You can find that cake pan here:

Stella, all my cousins are boys. My sister doesn't have it, and neither does my mother. Nor my friend who had the same one from her aunt. Zut! LOL about your grandma's recipe!

Barbara, I'm glad you like the olive pesto. We're still enjoying it as well. 7Up pound cake? That sounds interesting. Do you share the recipe?

Louise, thanks for the link--I'm checking it out! If I can't find it, I'll email you. You're wonderful!

Jane, I'm chuffed that you said that. (blush). Thanks. The ganache was really wonderful on it. It made it grown up!

Amanda said...

Wow, that is one gorgeous cake! I want to pretend to be "sick" right this second so I can go home from work and make one. Yum!

Kim said...

I love the top photo with the ganache drizzling down over the cake! It looks like heaven on a plate, Kate. I love that you added cardamom to the ganache. I bet it adds an absolutely wonderful flavor.

Best of luck finding the recipe!

The Gypsy Chef said...

Kate, This cake looks so good, I want a bite now! Yum!
I love the cardamom chocolate combination. I been using it for truffles. The problem is I can't stop eating them. I think I would have a similar problem with this cake.

Linda said...

Oh that is a beauty of a cake!
I too have lost recipes and it is like a death...mostly my own fault because I had them on hand written papers and little pieces of magazine articles...and then when I decided to keep a lot of my recipes on my computer... a hard drive crash...poof they were gone!

I have a Sour Cream Chocolate Poundcake that is on my is not from my Grandmother but from a very dear friend who is a fabulous baker and it is a fabulous is actually a Nick Malgieri recipe with a few little tweeks. Everyone raves about it....

Your cakes looks absolutely divine! I bet it was delicious!

Juliana said...

Wow, what a beautiful the pan...and the pictures are awesome :-)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I love my Heritage bundt cake pan because the cakes turn out so beautiful. The next time I use it will be for this recipe - it sounds wonderful! I'm starting to have a Pavlov's response over it!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I wish I had a "grandmother's" chocolate pound cake recipe to share, but yours looks pretty darn fabulous. The glaze dripping down over that beautifully shaped cake is making me crave that pan - and that cake.

tasteofbeirut said...

I know how you feel! Sometimes it does take years to find a recipe! It is the search that is so agonizing! I still think this recipe is excellent and the pound cake and ganache with cardamom is wonderful!

Taylor said...

Your cake is truly beautiful! Unfortunately, my grandma never made chocolate pound cake...good luck on your recipe search!

Hungry Dog said...

This looks amazing. First, that pan is to die for. Second, I was thinking of making a pound cake this week and had not even thought of my mind is spinning. Third, cardamom in the ganache is brilliant. Cardamom. Sigh. I love it.

Kitchen Butterfly said...

My grandma didn't make chocolate cakes Kate, sorry but this looks stunning. Love the bundt!

grace said...

LOVE the pan, LOVE the idea of chocolate and cardamom combined in a ganache topping. this is delightful, but i hope you find your grandma's recipe!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Chocolate pound cake reminds me of my childhood too! Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Stunning pictures!

Cathy said...

Your chocolate pound cake is beautiful with the chocolate glaze dripping down the sides. I wish I had a recipe to pass on to you but I don't remember my grandmother ever making chocolate pound cake.

Kate said...

Beautiful cake! I love the swirl of the cake and the flow of the chocolate...yum.

The Dutch Baker's Daughter said...

Ohhh...the cake is gorgeous! I do hope you find that recipe. I know from trying to recreate's tough! I wish I had paid more attention back in the day, sigh...btw, that cardamom/chocolate combo sounds great!

A Canadian Foodie said...

So that is what that cake pan is for! I have seen it and wondered - and have you ever done it justice. That cake looks absolutely amazing. I am surprised to see how perfectly it came out of the pan. The glaze added exactly what was needed. What a lovely tribute and the cardamom with the chocolate sounds perfect.

Sophie said...

Hello Kate!!

Your chocolate pound cake looks fabulous & so does your ganache spread, aka glaze!!

Fantastic food! Very stylish too!

Anonymous said...

Hey - I am certainly delighted to discover this. Good job!

Carve Your Name Comics said...

Have you tried this one?

The ingredient list is way down at the bottom. I am also searching for an old southern chocolate pound cake with fudge icing that sounds just like what you described and I'm going to try the one above this week! When my mom makes that cake, it is gone before anyone even eats their dinner!