Pound of chocolate cake demands respect, just for the title alone—but especially when the recipe follows through on such a profoundly tantalizing promise. Truth in advertising.
This square cake is dark and moist, with a fudge-all-the-way-through texture. What else would you expect from an entire pound of chocolate? The cake can be spread with a ganache glaze for even more chocolate richness.–Elinor Klivans
Pound of Chocolate Cake
- 13 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
- 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) unsalted butter cut into pieces
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup ganache cooled until thickened but pourable (optional)
- Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
- 1 quart vanilla ice cream (or flavor of your choice)
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 9-inch square baking pan with 2-inch sides and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper long enough to extend over the opposite sides of the pan. Butter the paper.
- Place the chocolates, butter, and dissolved coffee in a heatproof bowl (or the top of a double boiler) and place it over, but not touching, barely simmering water in a saucepan (or the bottom of the double boiler). Stir until the chocolates and butter are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla until fluffy and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate mixture until blended. Add the flour and mix just until no white streaks remain. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
- Bake until the top of the cake is shiny and firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, about 35 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour.
- If using the ganache, pour it over the cake, tilting the pan to spread it evenly. You can also just drizzle less of the ganache over the cake, artistically, to your preference. Use as much (or as little) as you desire. Cool the cake in the pan completely. If omitting the glaze, you can dust the cooled cake with powdered sugar.
- Use the overhanging ends of parchment paper to lift the cake from the pan. Serve the cake at room temperature with scoops of ice cream. The cake can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.
*What is semi-sweet baking chocolate?A specific type of dark chocolate, semi-sweet is made with cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla, and an emulsifier. Perfect for most types of baking, it has a good balance between sweetness and chocolate. The amount of sugar added can vary dramatically between brands but, in order to be called semi-sweet, it can't be more than 50% sugar by mass. It's usually about 60% cocoa solids and bittersweet hovers around 70%, so you can reliably substitute them for each other in recipes.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This is everything you’d expect from a cake made with a pound of chocolate—although it’s more like a brownie than a cake. It’s very easy, quick to prepare, and is impressive enough for company. The baking took a bit longer than stated—only about five minutes—but otherwise, everything was perfect. The coffee added a wonderful dimension to its flavour. I didn’t make the ganache, so we had it bare. The ganache would’ve gilded the lily here, which wouldn’t have been a bad thing at all.
This is the ultimate chocolate cake, even for the non-chocoholic. It’s an easy recipe to make after you find chocolate worthy enough (I found mine at Williams-Sonoma). The recipe is straightforward, and the only glitch I had was with the parchment lining: I ended up cutting an exact 9-inch width, with about 8 inches more in length to get it to hang over the sides. Suffice to say, that was the hardest part of the endeavor.
The ganache was again something I hadn’t done before, and the tip to add the heated liquid to the chocolate was akin to the two other recipes I referenced before attempting this one. It worked like a charm, and I was quite proud of myself as I licked the spoon, bowl, my fingers, the countertop, and anything else I found dotted with chocolate. My cake took a full 40 minutes to bake, so I’d suggest setting the timer for 35 minutes to start. Everyone, including the birthday girl for whom this was made, proclaimed this a real blue-ribbon winner, and I’ll most definitely make it again.
This recipe turns out just as Elinor Klivans promises: dark, moist and fudgy. It isn’t too sweet, but it’s very, very rich. This is seriously chocolatey, so those who aren’t chocoholics may not enjoy it. I made it in a 9-inch square pan, and it could easily feed 16, as you can only eat a small piece at a time. The baking time was right on. I found it tasted better on the second day because the chocolate seemed to mellow. The ganache was nice, but it took some time to set, and the cake is equally as good without it.
Originally published June 02, 2010