A whole cake may be an even better way to show your love than a box of chocolates. Or, if your Valentines include the whole family, they, too, would appreciate a homemade cake. Here we rediscover the joys of one of the oldest cakes: the pound cake. This is actually a cake that’s been with us for 300 or 400 years, about as long as sugar has been a key part of kitchen life (as opposed to honey), notes cookbook author and baking expert Elinor Klivans, who contributed this recipe to Real Food. The original ones were made of equal weights eggs, butter, sugar and flour—a pound of each, for instance, thus the name. Her recipe is more refined than those early ones, but takes advantage of the pound cake’s traditional strengths: They’re easy to make, unfussy crowd-pleasers which are invariably delicious.
Cocoa powder adds the rich, dark chocolate flavor and color to this cake, then chocolate truffle sauce ripples through the center. Finally, the cake is heavily drizzled with chocolate glaze, and there you have it: a chocolate pound cake extravaganza. This cake is baked in a bundt pan, but a large, fixed-bottom tube pan will work as well.
Dark Chocolate Ripple Pound Cake
Makes 16 Servings
1⁄4 cup heavy cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons melted butter and flour for pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
6 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup strong coffee
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons corn syrup
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Using a pastry brush, carefully brush inside of bundt pan with melted butter then dust generously with flour. Tilt pan to coat evenly with flour; tap out excess flour.
2. For the chocolate filling: Heat cream in a small saucepan over low heat until cream is hot; do not let boil. Remove pan from heat, add chocolate, and let sit in hot cream about 30 seconds to soften. Whisk until smooth and chocolate melts. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. For the cake: Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until smoothly blended and lightened slightly in color, about 3 minutes. Add eggs in three additions, beating 1 minute after each. Add vanilla and beat 1 minute. On low speed, in 5 alternating additions, add flour mixture and coffee, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Scrape about 2⁄3 of batter into prepared pan, leaving a 1-inch plain edge.
4. Using a spoon, make a slight indentation in batter all around pan. Spoon chocolate filling into indentation. Swirl once with a knife to blend slightly. Scrape remaining batter into pan, spreading evenly. Bake until top feels firm if touched lightly and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
5. Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around top of sides and center tube of pan to loosen. Remove from pan by inverting onto a wire rack; leave bottom side up to cool.
6. For the glaze: Heat cream, butter and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over low heat until cream is hot and butter melts; do not boil. Remove pan from heat, add chocolate chips, and let sit in hot cream mixture to soften, about 30 seconds. Whisk until chocolate melts and glaze is smooth. Set aside to cool until thick enough to cling to cake, about 20 minutes. Using a spoon, drizzle glaze thickly over cake. Allow glaze to firm, about 30 minutes. Using a large knife, slice cake and serve. Once glaze is firm, cake can be covered and stored at room temperature up to 3 days.
Nutrition info (per serving): Calories 586 (275 from fat); Fat 31g (sat. 19g); Chol 140mg; Sodium 167mg; Carb 73g; Fiber 4g; Protein 7g