When I dog-earred this pound cake recipe from Nicole Rees via Serious Eats, I had every intention of making pound cake loaves that were true to form. The tender, golden crust and moist, rich crumb spoke to me this rainy morning, and having superfluous sticks of butter in my fridge did not hurt. After removing the loaves from the oven and letting them cool, I eagerly prodded the cakes out of the loaf pans, only to discover that they would not budge. Even after knifing clean the sides, the cakes resisted removal. And when the tops of my loaves finally did break free, the lower halves did not follow, remaining stubbornly clung to my insufficiently-buttered pan bottoms. So much for proper pound cake. But, rather than mope around and proclaim the failure of a lost cause, this blog entry by David Lebovitz on the non-difference between banana bread and banana cake sprung to mind. Who needs pound cake in bread-shaped form, anyway? So I scraped everything out and packed it all — tops, bottoms, pan crumbs — into a casserole dish and baked this collection of former pound cakes for an additional 10 minutes. Dress with some makeshift chocolate ganache to hide the blemishes and voila, the end product bears a strong resemblance to the classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting, which, like blessed few things in life, never goes out of style.
I think it went over well with the crowd — after all, it still had all the stuff (in the devilish proportions) of a pound cake at the end of the day. The ganache is not necessary, and I wouldn’t have added it had the top of my cake not looked like a pen exploded on it. I guessed, and correctly though, that the 70% chocolate prevented it from overwhelming the cake, such that it served a similar function to fudge on ice cream — adding a variation of rich, creamy chocolate just because.
Moist Chocolate Chip and Vanilla Pound Cake — or, simply Cake — with Chocolate Ganache
– makes 16 servings –
Adapted from Baking Unplugged by Nicole Rees
For the cake:
2/3 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup plus 2 tbs unsalted butter, soft
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (I crushed and used half a 250g bar of 70% dark chocolate)
125g chopped chocolate
about 2 or 3 tbs whole milk (preferably cream)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan (I used 3 smallish loaf pans ideal for quick breads, then transferred everything into a medium-sized casserole dish once they fell apart. Had I known I would’ve been making a single cake, I would’ve just used the casserole dish from the beginning). Combine the milk and the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and the baking powder.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and salt together until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs. Stir in the flour in three additions, alternating with the milk, but starting and ending with the flour. Add in chocolate chips/chunks. Gently spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 42 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the center comes out with only moist crumbs clinging. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Cool completely out of the pan on the rack.
3. Heat cream or milk on low heat and add in chocolate to melt. When desired consistency is attained, spread evenly over cake and let cool to harden.