Valentine’s Day gives us all a chance to indulge, and what better way to treat yourself than a rich chocolate cake that is simple to make and completely decadent. I’ve made some version of Chocolate Pound Cake for years, but I kept thinking “this is good, but it could use more chocolate.” So with some tinkering, I figured out how to pack in some really intense chocolate flavor. A healthy dose of deep chocolate cocoa powder set off by tangy buttermilk, with just a little hit of semisweet chocolate. Using buttermilk in the ganache sets it apart – rich chocolate with tang and zip.
This simple cake makes a wonderful dessert for a family dinner or a thoughtful gift for a friend. And I’m just saying, a leftover piece for breakfast with a dollop of strawberry jam keeps the indulgence going.
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cup natural cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole buttermilk, well shaken
- 6 Tablespoons whole buttermilk, well shaken
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ Tablespoon butter, cute into cubes
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray a standard 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with baking spray (like Baker’s Joy).
- Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until creamy. Add the brown and granulated sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the egg until completely combined. Beat in the vanilla and the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together into a small bowl. Really do take the time to sift, as cocoa powder tends to clump. Beat the flour mixture into the butter, alternating with the buttermilk, into two additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60 – 70 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pan to the rack to cool completely.
- Place a piece of parchment or waxed paper under the rack where the cake has cooled to catch any drips.
- Heat the buttermilk in a small saucepan over medium heat just until it begins to bubble. Do not boil. The buttermilk will begin to separate; that’s fine. Drop in the chocolate and turn off the heat. Beat vigorously with a spatula or spoon until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Beat in the cubes of butter until melted and smooth. Because the buttermilk curdles slightly, this ganache is not utterly smooth and silky, but I like it that way – it gives it a homemade look. If you like, you can pour the ganache through a fine strainer into a bowl before spreading it on the cake.
- Slowly spread the ganache over the top of the cake. I love to leave most of the ganache on the top, with just a little overflow dripping down. Go slowly and you can do this to. This way you don’t loose too much frosting in drips. Let the ganache cool and firm up for at least an hour, then slice and serve.
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