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Candy's Chocolate Pound Cake -- REVIEW

  • d

After a week of skiing and dining out every night, I got back in my kitchen and decided to bake. The vanilla coffee cake post (I'll have to try that soon!) led me to one of Candy's posts about a chocolate pound cake that looked delicious, and sounded like something my picky husband would love.

I used Plugra for this recipe b/c butter is such a keystone ingredient in pound cake. On the other hand, the best cocoa powder I can find in the area is Ghirardelli; it's not bad but I'm sure there is better. The buttermilk was interesting: I always feel guilty when throwing food away, and can never find small containers of buttermilk. So I found a dry, powdered buttermilk at Fresh Market and it worked wonderfully. Also, it took my cake 1 hr 35 min to finish.

The cake is excellent. It's definitely one of the best pound cakes I've had. It was very good warm last night (my husband loved the smell so much he couldn't wait to taste, and he NEVER does that) and is just as good today. And I think that if there are leftovers, I may try to replicate an outstanding chocolate bread pudding we had in Vail last week (served with crunchy macadamia nut ice cream).

Thanks, Candy. This will definitely be making an appearance in my house again.

P.S.: here is my first attempt at including a picture.

Link: http://tinypic.com/view/?pic=qy63c8

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  1. Looks great!
    Would someone mind reposting the recipe or a link...I forgot to print it, and really want to try it.

    2 Replies
    1. Thank you, I am glad you liked it. The aroma while baking is amazing isn't it? It is great with a glass of port for dessert and it does keep well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Candy

        The aroma is fantastic. It actually called my husband away from his computer and into the kitchen where he licked the batter from the spatula, then helped me unload the dishwasher! Now that is a good cake!

        Thanks for the recipe, Candy.

      2. f

        I made the cake for weekend guests this past weekend and it received rave reviews. I actually made it a full week before and froze the entire cake, then thawed it in the fridge. It kept moist for four days.

        I used Strauss butter from here in the Bay Area, and fresh, not powdered buttermilk. The only non-dutched cocoa powder I had around was Hershey's which turned out fine, but I'd probably try a higher quality cocoa powder next time (and there WILL be a next time!). It took an hour 10 minutes to bake.

        I didn't make a glaze for it, but think I will next time with a bit of powdered sugar and espresso powder.

        Thanks Candy!

        9 Replies
        1. re: farmersdaughter

          Just curious about your comment about non-dutched cocoa. Is that preferable in a cake like this? I'm still unclear about when to use dutched and when to use natural.

          1. re: wyf4lyf

            I used reg cocoa, too. In the original thread, Candy said she used reg cocoa, so I just followed that. And I remember another poster, Danna (I think), stating that she uses them interchangably without a problem.

            If I remember correctly, if you use reg cocoa in a recipe that calls for Dutch, you have to use more cocoa than the recipe calls for. But I may be wrong on this one.

            1. re: Dev

              I thought it had to do with alkaline content of the cocoa and whether or not there was baking powder or baking soda in the recipe. Where are our board scientists? Help!

              1. re: Dev

                This is just a guess, since I haven't made this recipe, but regular, non-Dutched cocoa is more acidic than the alkaline treated Dutched cocoa. In a baking recipe with buttermilk, the goal is often to have additional leavening from the combination of an acid with the buttermilk, so using Dutched cocoa may result in a heavier cake.

            2. re: farmersdaughter

              You are welcome. It varies every time I bake it for cooking time. After an hour I start checking in my oven it can take about an hour and twenty minutes to an hour and a half. Depends on the weather I guess.

              1. re: farmersdaughter

                After reading so many consistent raves, I'm thinking of trying Candy's recipe in the future. I'm confused by farmersdaughter's statement above about using fresh instead of powdered buttermilk. Looking at the original post, it does call for fresh buttermilk, right? I assume you still add some water to the fresh buttermilk? I'm thinking that FD may have meant to say that she used brewed espresso as opposed to instant.

                Thanks for the clarification!

                1. re: Carb Lover

                  Carb Lover--I'm watching this thread because I was wondering the same thing. (Plus, I've got some buttermilk to use up and this will get me 1c towards my goal!)

                  1. re: Carb Lover

                    farmersdaughter was contrasting how she made the cake (fresh buttermilk) with the technique of the original poster, dev (who used powdered). She was not contrasting her technique with that called for in the reciple.

                    1. re: Timowitz

                      Aha, thanks for pointing that out!

                2. I made Candy's pound cake yesterday, but don't have a standing mixer... it came out delicious and fine, even though it was a bit tedious to beat the butter and sugar with a hand mixer for five minutes... I just kept reminding myself people made pound cakes before they had mixers. Also, I used salted butter (and didn't add any additional salt), and low-fat plain yogurt instead of buttermilk, and about 3/4 C of good cocoa powder and 1/4 C Hershey's. At one point the SO sauntered over and said "I'll take over", which was a little scary because he's not one for baking (or cooking, really), but even with his ministrations and my hoverings ("Don't over mix once you add the flour! This isn't bread!"), it came out delicious and perfect -- I baked it in a silicone bundt pan, and made a cocoa powder/espresso/powdered sugar/milk glaze for it... perfect and tasty -- a great go-to. Not too sweet, which was nice. As the (chocoholic) SO said, "Add this one to the chocolate cake repertoire!" Thank you Candy!

                  1. I wanted to pull this up and thank Candy for posting this recipe. It's so easy and delicious. I've made it a few times and always get compliments. Rich, fudgy but not too sweet. My 11 year old made it for Mother's Day yesterday and it turned out great--speaks to how fail-proof this recipe is. So, thanks again!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: chowser

                      What "fail-proof"? The kid is obviously a genius and has a great future!

                      1. re: yayadave

                        LOL, no, a genius in the kitchen is my friend's daughter who at 8 or 9 made a complete roast chicken dinner w/ roasted potatoes and fresh rosemary from the garden, all by herself, no help. Mine just follows instructions.

                        1. re: chowser

                          When I was that age I made a chocolate birthday cake from a box for my mother. When she came home from bowling, she taught me how to "patch" with icing. TeeHee

                    2. Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of praise for this cake. I don't love baking, so a cake has to be fantastic and easy for me to make it more than once, and this is definitely going into my rotation.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: AppleSister

                        Here's my photo. I used fresh low-fat buttermilk.

                      2. Do you think that this will work in a regular loaf pan, sorry I don't have any bundt types at all...

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          Use 2 loaf pans and you should be fine. One is not enough, as this is a big cake.

                          1. re: pikawicca

                            I have always used fresh buttermilk, nnot dried but if you are going to use the dried butter milk, mix it dry in with the dry ingredients. Don't try to reconstitute it like you might with powdered milk. Just add water to equal the amt. of buttermilk to the wet ingredients.

                            Glad it has worked out so well for all of you. It is a great cake when you are baking for a bunch of people.

                            1. re: Candy

                              Hi, Does anyone have a link to the vanilla coffee cake post mentioned above? Thanks, Richie

                              1. re: javaandjazz

                                I think it's the one I posted a long time ago. It's really wonderful...here it is:

                                Breakfast Cake (Vanilla Coffee Cake)
                                2 sticks butter, room temperature
                                1C sugar
                                3 eggs
                                2-1/2C flour
                                2t baking powder
                                1t baking soda
                                1t salt
                                1C sour cream
                                5t vanilla

                                Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour a Bundt pan. Cream the butter with the sugar. Add eggs one at a time. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and add to batter. Stir in sour cream an vanilla until incorporated. Batter will be thick. Spoon into Bundt pan and bake about 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

                                Serve for breakfast, snacks, or dessert

                        2. Ok, I couldn't resist all the raves. It's in the oven right now. What beautiful batter!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: QueenB

                            Wow, very rich and very chocolatey. This is a keeper! Thanks Candy!

                          2. Mine is in the oven now and it smells absolutely wonderful. It'll be murder waiting until tomorrow to taste but it's for an event so I have to.

                            Thank you, Candy! My chocolate loving crowd is in for a treat.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: xena

                              You are quite welcome. It is a recipe people ask me to make frequently. I just love the way it smells while it is baking. You just know it has to be good.

                            2. Wowee, what a cake. We just had our dessert and this cake was a hit. We had strawberries and ice cream and whipped cream (I know, but we believe you really can have it all) and it was lovely. RIch chocolate flavor, great texture. It really is a huge cake so I've popped a quarter of it in the freezer and we'll have a treat next week.
                              I'm slowly coming out of several really busy years and am just beginning to get back to things like scratch cakes. What fun it is and how thrilling to serve something this delicious. Thank you again, we loved it.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: xena

                                This makes so much cake I was thinking of making a trifle w/ leftovers--adding rum whipped cream and strawberries and layering.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  Oh, good idea! The sad truth here is that we are making our way through this cake far more quickly than we ought to be. I can tell you from first hand experience that it is still moist and delicious, in fact maybe the best yet, on the 3rd day. Yep, it's only morning but I've already had some. This cake is dangerous.
                                  Enjoy your trifle!

                                  By the way, I forgot to mention yesterday that I used the powdered buttermilk and added it as Candy suggested, dry with dry, wet with wet. One day I may try it with fresh just to compare but really, it is wonderful as is.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    I just got home from a three day business trip and the cake is all gone. No leftovers for me I guess!

                                  2. re: xena

                                    I'm glad it worked out well for you. I too am adjusting to sort of retirement and long days . Enjoy it and the time to cook and take care of those too long put off details around home. Those are now becoming a pleasure!

                                  3. I took this cake to church yesterday and it garnered rave reviews. Its everything all of you have said it is and more. Thank you Candy for a great treat!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: PapaHarley

                                      You are quite welcome. It is nice to be able to share something like that with so many.

                                    2. I published this recipe in my food column a few months back, in Candy's hometown. Judging from reader feedback, about half the people in town have made this cake and become addicted. I've baked lots of chocolate cakes in my time, and this is certainly one of the best -- and easiest. Make it!

                                      1. Mine is in the oven right now. So excited. I skipped the espresso powder because it cost $4.50 and I'm on a budget...I used strong brewed coffee instead of the water instead.

                                        Should I refrigerate the leftovers or will it be find on the counter? I'm using my cake stand for the first time and that thing is not going to fit in the fridge.


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: smittys

                                          Don't put it in the refrigerator, it will be fine on the counter!!!