Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Chocolate Pound Cake (Two Ways)

Cupcakes on a platter,
just looking cute

This was Julia's birthday cake.
You can't go wrong when you fill a platter with homemade chocolate cupcakes topped with pink frosting.
I used to use cake mix for cupcakes, but the awful list of ingredients on those boxes made me feel like I was feeding poison to my family.

I started out by following the recipe from How to Bake by Nick Malgieri, but I quickly modified it to make it a bit more healthy.  Now I have two versions.

Chocolate Pound Cake
(Very, very good, but quite bad for you)

Based on the recipe from How to Bake

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 oz. dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare a loaf pan (I line a Pyrex pan with parchment paper), or a cupcake pan (for 12 cupcakes).

In a batter bowl, combine half the sugar and all the cocoa powder and stir firmly with a spoon or a rubber scraper, until all the lumps are out of the cocoa. Add remaining dry ingredients, stir to combine.

Melt the chocolate using your preferred method. A bain marie over hot water is recommended, but I always microwave the chocolate. You just have to check it every 20 seconds or so or it will burn.

In a mixing bowl (such as a KitchenAid bowl), beat butter till it is fluffy, add eggs, remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, and vanilla, and continue to beat for about two minutes. Slowly add the melted chocolate, spoonful by spoonful, as you continue to beat. Scrape sides of bowl as needed. Add sour cream and mix till combined.

With a rubber spatula, stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture till well combined.

Scrape batter into your pan, or scoop it into your cupcake papers (I use the Pampered Chef Large Scoop for this).

Smooth the top of the cake. Batter is quite thick and it will bake the way it looks now, more or less.

Bake cake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick emerges clean.
For cupcakes, check after 20 minutes.

Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.

I usually skip icing or glaze, and just serve this with ice-cream and maybe some fresh berries.
It might be the best cake you've ever had.

Now for the recipe I make most of the time:

Chocolate Pound Cake
(Quite good for you, but a bit dry and crumbly. And it will taste strongly of coconut)

3 oz. dark chocolate, melted
1/2 cup coconut oil (this solidifies at room temp. so you'll have to scrape it out of the jar in small increments)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 or 3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unflavored yogurt

1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup whole-wheat flour, or a gluten-free substitute if you're feeling brave
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Using the same methods as in the first recipe, combine all ingredients.
The main difference is that the coconut oil might be difficult to incorporate. You can melt it if you wish, but I don't, and a few little chunks of coconut oil don't bother me.

I have to admit, this cake isn't nearly as delicious as the first recipe. But it's still very, very good. The problem is that the first recipe is possibly the Most Delicious Cake in the World, and hence, it's not supposed to get a makeover.

But we can eat many of the coconut-oil cupcakes, relatively guilt-free.
And Julia loved them.
And that is all that matters.

Happy baking!

p.s. If you're wondering about the frosting - I didn't use a recipe. It was roughly 1/2 stick of butter, 8 oz. of cream cheese, and vanilla, whipped to smithereens. Then I added about 2 cups of powdered sugar, I didn't measure so just take it easy with the powdered sugar till your frosting is of the desired consistency. I like it malleable so it pipes more easily.


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