|Total Time||2½ hours|
Pound cake often lives down to its name, turning out dry and leaden. But the recipe James Villas developed for Saveur magazine a couple of years ago is dense without being heavy, moist without being clumpy, and rich without feeling overly decadent.
This is his recipe, slightly tweaked for flavorings, and transformed into a luxurious chocolate cake. The trick of “blooming” the cocoa powder in hot milk comes from baking expert Rose Levy Beranbaum.
|½ to 1||Tbsp. butter, for greasing the pan|
|½ to 1||Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting the pan|
|3||cups unbleached all-purpose flour|
|1||tsp. baking powder|
|½||tsp. kosher salt|
|2||Tbsp. instant espresso coffee powder|
|1||cup unsweetened cocoa powder (either natural or Dutched is fine)|
|3||tsp. vanilla extract|
|6||oz. (about 3 squares from a 9.7-ounce Scharffen Berger bar) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70 percent cacao)|
|12||oz. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature|
|6||large eggs, at room temperature|
|4||oz. (about 2 squares from a 9.7-ounce Scharffen Berger bar) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70 percent cacao)|
|½||cup heavy cream|
Variations: For a more traditional plain pound cake, leave out the melted chocolate and use 1 teaspoon each of rum, vanilla, and lemon extract; coat the pan with flour instead of cocoa powder.
Rose Levy Berenbaum’s trademark cake is a lemon pound cake, but you can lemonize this one by using 3 tsp. lemon extract in place of the rum and vanilla and adding the grated and minced zest of 2 lemons. Use the juice of the lemons, cooked with about 1/3 cup sugar, to make a lemon syrup; poke the warm cake lightly all over with a skewer and pour the syrup over it.
For a boozy cake (and to extend the cake’s shelf life), make a syrup of 2/3 to 3/4 cup rum, brandy, or other liquor heated gently with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water; poke holes halfway through the warm cake, about 1/2 inch apart, and pour the syrup over the cake. Cool for 30 minutes before unmolding.
Finally, Saveur also published a caramel version of Villas’ original pound cake, featuring brown sugar.
This content is from the Culinate Kitchen collection.
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