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This is the best Chocolate Pound Cake! It has a rich and decadent flavor with a perfectly dense, tender and moist crumb.
I proudly bring you the best Chocolate Pound Cake recipe. It has a deep chocolate flavor from an epic amount of cocoa powder along with the perfect pound cake texture. The intense chocolate flavor will hit all those chocolate cravings just like my other chocolate recipes, including the light and airy French silk pie and rich and thick easy chocolate pie recipe.
Adorn your chocolate pound cake with a simple yet sexy dusting of confectioner’s sugar. I also suggest a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a spoonful of crème anglaise, or a generous dollop of crème fraîche whipped cream to really bring out the chocolate notes!
Table of Contents
- Why you will love this chocolate pound cake:
- Chocolate Pound Cake Ingredients
- Chocolate Pound Cake Ingredient Substitutions
- How to Make Chocolate Pound Cake
- Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip
- How to make a dense chocolate pound cake
- Why use sour cream in pound cake?
- How to get a cake to come out of a Bundt pan?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Chocolate Pound Cake Recipe Recipe
- Before You Go
Why you will love this chocolate pound cake:
- Melt in your mouth texture: When I say melt in your mouth, I mean it. The mixing method and ratio of ingredients in this cake make the absolutely perfect crumb.
- Ideal for any occasion: Birthdays, bake sales, romantic dinners, divorce parties–you name it, this pound cake will deliver it.
- Deep, rich chocolate flavor: From a self-proclaimed chocoholic, this cake has the perfect chocolate flavor without being overly sweet.
Chocolate Pound Cake Ingredients
- Butter: I use unsalted butter for baking, because you want to control the amount of salt you are adding. Every brand is different and it makes adjusting the recipe a challenge.
- Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar is here for sweetness, but it also helps create a tight crumb for a dense, moist pound cake.
- Light Brown Sugar: Using light brown sugar adds sweetness along with a little moisture. This will keep the cake softer while adding a nice, rich molasses flavor.
- Whole Egg: The eggs are here to add fat, moisture and leavening. The fat from the yolk adds richness and helps keep the pound cake moist. Eggs also emulsify the batter and keep everything texturally perfect.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla Extract adds a beautiful flavor itself but it also boosts the flavor of other ingredients around it, like chocolate and brown sugar.
- All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour has just the right amount of gluten to make a dense, tender pound cake. Care must be taken to not overmix your batter while adding the wet and dry ingredients.
- Cocoa Powder: I use dutch processed cocoa powder, which just means it has been treated with an alkaline solution. This neutralizes the acidity, which means it will not react with baking soda or baking powder. It has a rich, deep flavor and a darker color than other cocoa powders.
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is less salty than table salt and a teaspoon weighs less than other finer ground varieties. It heightens the flavor here and will keep your cake from tasting dull or flat. Things like baking soda and salt might seem like small details, but they make a huge impact!
- Baking Soda: Do check the freshness of your baking soda! It loses potency over time. If it’s not fresh, send it to the back of the refrigerator to absorb some odors, or clean your marble countertops with it!
- Sour Cream: Sour cream is essential for the dense texture of this chocolate pound cake. It has just enough moisture to hydrate the flour and cocoa powder and enough fat to inhibit the gluten formation. It also adds a beautiful flavor.
- Water: Water is here for just a little bit more moisture.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Death By Chocolate: Add up to a cup of chocolate chips to the batter before baking. And then positively drown the cake in the phenomenally delicious chocolate fudge glaze!
- Experiment with glaze: This chocolate pound cake recipe would be delightful with my vanilla donut glaze or a cream cheese buttercream. You could also use the cream cheese glaze from my cinnamon swirl scones.
- Make a trifle: Use the recipe for this Raspberry Trifle with any leftovers from your chocolate pound cake and you have a brand new dessert to bring to the next function! It takes moments to put together, and is a serious stunner.
Chocolate Pound Cake Ingredient Substitutions
- Cocoa Powder: You could substitute standard cocoa powder for Dutch processed cocoa powder in this recipe. The flavor will be slightly more acidic and the color will be lighter with a reddish tint.
- Sour Cream: I almost always bake with full-fat dairy because the fat adds to the texture and intensity of flavor, but low fat versions of sour cream or even Greek yogurt can be substituted in most cases. Lower fat sour cream also breaks easier than the full-fat varieties when heated or an acid is added. This is generally not catastrophic but it will impact the final texture in a subtle way.
- Cake Flour: You could certainly substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour, but the resulting texture will be ever so slightly lighter. Be sure to sift it!
How to Make Chocolate Pound Cake
Use these instructions to make the perfect chocolate pound cake every time! Further details and measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
Prepare your pan:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325°F. You can use either the convection or conventional setting.
Step 2: Spray your pan with cooking spray and then add a handful of flour. Tap the flour around until every inch of the pan’s interior is covered. Tap out the extra flour onto a piece of parchment paper. You should be left with a perfectly floured pan.
Some recipes call for coating your bundt pan with cocoa powder. However, I have found that coating the pan with cocoa powder causes the batter to stick in more detailed molds and I’m not about that added stress.
Make the cake:
Step 3: Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
Step 4: In a different bowl, whisk together the sour cream and water.
Step 5: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars just until a thick paste forms. Add the eggs one at a time. Scraping down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula after beating in every two eggs or so. Add the vanilla extract along with the last egg.
Step 6: Switch the mixer to low and then alternately add the sour cream and flour mixture. When you are finished, you should have a silky, smooth cake batter.
I don’t wait until all the flour has incorporated until I add the next batch. I just keep adding with two hands. Pro-style. I do stop the mixer to add the last of the sour cream mixture because I like to scrape it all out with a rubber spatula.
Step 7: Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
Step 8: Bake in a preheated oven until a cake tester comes out with a few clinging crumbs. This will take about 60-85 minutes depending on your oven. Mine baked for 70 minutes. If you over-bake this cake, it will be dry. Even that much butter, sugar and sour cream can’t compensate for overbaking.
Step 9: Let the cake COOL for 20 minutes. When 20 minutes have passed, loosen the edges with a paring knife and then turn it out onto a rack. Allow it to cool completely.
Step 10: Dust with powdered sugar or make a simple chocolate fudge glaze. You could also cover it with chocolate ganache, or simply enjoy it as is!
Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip
The biggest secret to baking the best chocolate pound cake is to not over-cream the butter and sugar. I use butter that is softened but still cool to the touch, then I cream the butter and sugars just until a paste forms. Yes, this will beat in a little air, but it will also keep the crumb tight.
How to make a dense chocolate pound cake
- Butter ratio: The butter to sugar ratio is key here. I have found that a 1:1 ratio actually produces a lighter cake than more sugar to butter.
- Sugar ratio: There is a serious amount of sugar in this recipe. That is intentional. It adds to the flavor but also helps keep a tight crumb that still melts in your mouth. The sugar also highlights the cocoa flavor and balances it so that it doesn’t become bitter.
- Creamed just right: Technically this is the creaming method; however, you want to beat the butter and sugar just until the point when they form a paste. If you keep beating, then you will begin to trap air between the sugar and fat molecules. This is how cakes and other baked goods get that light, airy texture without a ton of leavening. But, for a pound cake, that’s not our goal. Turn off that mixer, we want this cake to come out dense.
- Barely any leavening: ¼ teaspoon of baking soda? Is that a joke? No. I never joke about cakes. I know it might seem odd but just a tiny bit of baking soda will immediately react with the acid in the sour cream, and that will add just the right amount of leavening.
- Not much liquid: Just enough but not too much. This is a silky, thick batter. You will gaze at it in wonder—so luscious, so smooth. The lower liquid content in the sour cream also adds to the rich, dense texture.
Why use sour cream in pound cake?
Just like with Glazed Chocolate Donuts, the extra fat and the low liquid content in sour cream are key here. The sour cream hydrates the flour and the fat shortens the gluten strands. This keeps it moist and tender while adding to the tight crumb structure.
How to get a cake to come out of a Bundt pan?
- Flour that Pan: Do not underestimate the power of a well-greased and floured pan. It is especially key with a detailed fluted Bundt pan like the one I used for the pictures. While developing this recipe, I actually added my flour from the parchment sheet back to the pan. I then tapped it around a second time in the opposite direction to get every millimeter of the surface. Then tap that out as well. No weird patches of flour on the outside of your cake!
- Let her cool: It’s the hardest part of the whole process, but it’s so important. I am the queen of impatience but I also know that a Bundt cake turned out of its mold too soon will end in disaster. I turn my Bundt cakes out after 20 minutes of cooling. And, you still have to let it cool completely on a baking rack after that. Cake that is cut when it is still too warm will turn into a gloppy situation. The crumb hasn’t set and it will be compressed too much by the cutting process. If it still will not come out after the edges and center have been loosened. Let the cake cool completely and then try again. If she still will not release, surgery might be necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store chocolate pound cake well-wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature, refrigerated or frozen. Pound cakes will keep 5 days at room temperature, two weeks refrigerated, or 3 months frozen. For optimal freshness, serve within 2 days of baking or freeze for longer term storage.
You can make the batter up to one day ahead or bake, cool and freeze the cake for serving at a later date. Regarding batch size, you are only limited by the capacity of your stand mixer. When multiplying recipes, it’s helpful to measure by weight.
Pound cakes freeze beautifully. This is the best way to preserve the moisture and texture of a freshly baked cake. I like to pre-slice them before freezing if I am not planning on serving the cake whole.
Thaw pound cake covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
If you tried this recipe and loved it please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you; your comments make my day!
Chocolate Pound Cake Recipe
Prepare your pan:
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. You can use either the convection or conventional setting.
- Spray your pan with cooking spray and then add a handful of flour. Tap the flour around until every inch of the pan’s interior is covered. Tap out the extra flour onto a piece of parchment paper. You should be left with a perfectly floured pan.
Make the Cake:
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a different bowl, whisk together the sour cream and water.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars just until a thick paste forms. Add the eggs one at a time. Scraping down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula after beating in every two eggs or so. Add the vanilla extract along with the last egg.
- Switch the mixer to low and then alternately add the sour cream and flour mixture. When you are finished, you should have a silky, smooth cake batter. I don’t wait until all the flour has incorporated until I add the next batch. I just keep adding with two hands. Pro-style. I do stop the mixer to add the last of the sour cream mixture because I like to scrape it all out with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
- Bake in a preheated oven until a cake tester comes out with a few clinging crumbs. This will take about 60-85 minutes depending on your oven. Mine baked for 70 minutes. If you over-bake this cake, it will be dry. Even that much butter, sugar and sour cream can’t compensate for overbaking.
- Let the cake COOL for 20 minutes. When 20 minutes have passed, loosen the edges with a paring knife and then turn it out onto a rack. Allow it to cool completely.
- Dust with powdered sugar or make a simple chocolate fudge glaze. You could also cover it with chocolate ganache, or simply enjoy it as is!
Yield: 1, 10-12 cup bundt cake
Before You Go
I hope you enjoyed this professional chef tested recipe. Check out our other delicious, chef-developed cake recipes!