November 2, 2010

Chocolate Velvet Pound Cake . . . hmmm!

This pound cake is delicious!  It is so smooth, moist, and chocolate-y.  I think the cake tastes better the day after it's made.  Sweetie and I ate the whole loaf!  :)  I like that it makes a loaf instead of a larger size cake.  It is very manageable for two to eat.

I've been a fan of red velvet cake for years (I grew up in the South), but the red food coloring grosses me out a bit.  Although it doesn't stop me from eating it!  I was excited to make this pound cake with a velvet texture, but no red food coloring.

I made a few adjustments to the recipe because of the high altitude.  Instead of one cup all-purpose flour, I used 3/4 cup all-purpose and 1/4 cake flour.  I also decreased the baking powder by half.  It turned out beautifully!

Chocolate Velvet Pound Cake

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon water, at room temperature
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsifted unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position an oven rack in the center.  Lightly coat the 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch pan with melted butter, oil, or high-heat canola-oil spray, and fit it with parchment paper to extend up both long sides to the top of the pan.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium-high until light - almost white - in color, 4 to 5 minutes.  You can also use a hand mixer and a medium bowl, although you may need to beat the mixture a little longer to achieve the same results.  Scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

In a small bowl, stir together the water and espresso powder until smooth.  Crack the eggs into the bowl and beat to blend.  With the mixer running on medium, add the eggs to the butter mixture about 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to completely blend in before adding the next.  About halfway through, turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl, then continue adding the eggs.  Scrape down the bowl again.

With a fine-mesh strainer, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into the medium bowl and whisk to blend.  With the mixer running on the lowest speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, beginning with one-third of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk; repeat, then finish with the flour mixture.  Scrape down the bowl and finish blending the batter by hand, if necessary. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely.  When cool, remove from the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and serve.

Storing - The cake can be made several days ahead and kept at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap.  Or double-wrap it, put in a resealable plastic freezer bag, and freeze for up to 8 weeks.

Hat Tip - The Art & Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet

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