Chocolate Pound CakeWhen I was growing up, there were some special desserts that my grandmother made. EVERYONE’S grandmother made them. One of them was chocolate pound cake. This is one of those recipes that is closely guarded and only given to the younger generation when they marry, as a part of their trousseau. It’s an incredibly lovely cake, with a texture like silk and a deeply chocolate flavor. It was often served alone, unfrosted, with perhaps some fruit. When it wasn’t served plain, it was frosted with a fudge frosting that was basically fudge spread over the cake before it hardened. It’s one of my fondest memories.

I had a recipe for this cake, and I’ve lost it. I have all my family recipes, given to me by my parents and grandparents, in a notebook. Somehow this recipe has disappeared. Please don’t tell my grandmother. Needless to say, as soon as I couldn’t find it, I wanted it. Badly.

See, I have this lovely new pan, a gift from a friend, and I think it would be perfect for chocolate pound cake. I’ve searched high and low and everywhere in between, but I can’t find it. I must have put it somewhere safe. Sigh…

Undaunted, I began to search the internet for this recipe. I remember parts of it, and I was confident that I would be able to recognize it if I could find it. After hours and hours of searching, no luck. I found a few that were close, and I combined them into one that I thought was fairly close to the original.

I lovingly measured out all of my ingredients, sifted the flour, creamed the butter and sugar well, added the eggs and then the liquids and the dry ingredients alternatively, beating well after each one. I was channeling my grandmother, who by the way I resemble more and more with each passing year. I carefully greased and floured all the ridges in my new pan, and added the batter. I baked it the requisite time, and stuck it with a bamboo skewer.

Never having had a deft hand with fudge, I frosted it with ganache. Since I’m still in my cardamom phase, I infused the ganache with cardamom. I loved the way that the ganache ran over the cake and into the creases.

So? How was it? It was good. I took it to a party and it disappeared with satisfying speed. If I had never had the other recipe, I’d be very very happy with this. However…

It’s not my grandmother’s chocolate pound cake. If you have your grandmother’s chocolate pound cake recipe, please, please–share it with me. Don’t make me beg.

Chocolate Pound Cake

  • 6oo g / 3 cups sugar
  • 20 g / 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
  • 340 g / 1 ½ cup butter, softened
  • 5 eggs
  • 400 g / 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • 30 g / ¾ cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 225 ml / 1 cup milk


  • 115 ml / ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 Teaspoon corn syrup
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 110 g / 4 oz dark chocolate
  • Preheat oven to 165 C / 325 F
  • Grease and flour cake pan.
  • Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
  • Mix butter with regular and vanilla sugar till light and fluffy. This will take a few minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
  • Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  • Pour into pan and bake until a skewer or broom straw comes out clean. In this pan it took 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  • Cool 10 minutes or so in the pan, then turn out on a wire rack to cool.

When it’s cool, make the ganache:

  • Chop the chocolate into very small pieces and place in a medium bowl.
  • Bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer. Crush the cardamom pods with a mortar and pestle and add to the cream. Take off the heat, cover and let steep for about 1/2 hour.
  • Strain the cardamom out of the cream and reheat until just simmering. Watch it carefully–you don’t want it to boil because then it will develop a skin that you’ll just have to get rid of. When the cream is just starting to steam, pour it over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for about 3 minutes. Then stir slowly and gently, starting in the middle until thoroughly combined and then working outward in concentric circles until the mixture comes together. It will. Have faith.
  • Pour the glaze quickly in the center of the cake and around the edges. Let it run off. If necessary, tap the baking sheet on your work surface to encourage the glaze to run down the sides of the cake. Let the glaze firm up before serving.

Enough for 10-12


  • I used vanilla sugar, because I don’t have vanilla extract. If you don’t have vanilla sugar, you can use 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Add it after the eggs and before the flour.
  • Instead of ganache, this would be wonderful served with a fruit coulis and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Kate McNally

Kate McNally

Born and raised in Atlanta, with degrees from UGA and UT Knoxville, Kate never lived above the Mason-Dixon line. That is, until she moved to Belgium. She now lives in the Belgian Ardennes, near Germany and The Netherlands, in an area where three cultures clash and co-exist. She used to have a stress-filled life, living in Washington DC and working as a management consultant all over the US and Canada. About 9 years ago, Kate and her husband Dan quit their jobs and moved to Europe. Now they teach English as a second language to business people there. They went there for two or three years. They're still here. Kate loves to cook, to travel, to paint and to write. She tries to do all of those as often as she can, and she shares tales of her life there in her blog. Kate says, "My blog is called 'Serendipity'. That pretty much sums up our life here in Belgium: serene with a little ‘dipity’ added. You’ll find here tales of our life as we sometimes struggle with other languages and other ways. You'll also find some paintings. And more than a few recipes, because I love to cook. My husband loves to eat. Perfect!" You can find her blog at