I have a complicated relationship with chocolate. I can both love and hate it, depending on the situation. Sound insane, I know, but it’s the truth. While I love both the idea and flavor of chocolate indulgence, too much chocolate is actually a thing. The die-hard chocolate lovers out there may be rolling their eyes reading this, but trust me, chocolate overindulgence is real. But balance is possible and it’s easier to obtain than one may think. Here is one of my all-time favorite simple desserts, chocolate marble pound cake, and it has the perfect, rich but not overwhelming, chocolate balance I seek.
Looking back, I can truthfully say I have always been a pound cake fan. Perhaps that’s because I love butter. Pound cake reminds me of a richer version of vanilla cake, and that has always been a favorite dessert of mine. But pound cakes are their own thing separate and apart from cake. They are richer, denser and often more complex in flavor, compared to a light fluffy, airy layer cake.
My mom has many wonderful talents, but as I’ve mentioned previously, she is not a baker and rarely baked much of anything when I was growing up. My mom used to buy my sister and I Sara Lee all butter pound cake (from the freezer section…), anyone remember that???? Gasps aside, you can now fess up, if you’re even close to my age, I know you know the pound cake I’m referring to. My mom used to serve this store-bought pound cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream as an easy dessert in the summer as it was much less involved than making an actual strawberry shortcake. I totally loved it.
It was my childhood love of pound cake that led me to this recipe for marble pound cake. This is not my recipe, it is from Food and Wine and I have adapted it only slightly. The original recipe can be found here. This recipe has a rich vanilla butter-cake with a rich coco-powder chocolate layer swirled in the middle. And the two together create the perfect flavor union.
If you swirl well already, or practice enough, you’ll get the swirl part just right allowing for a little vanilla pound cake and chocolate pound cake in every bite. This simple little cake should not be underestimated, it is a great go-to dessert for summer holidays such as Memorial Day, or July 4th, when no one wants to get stuck in the kitchen. Prep ahead and serve with fresh strawberries and whipped cream for the ultimate warm weather summer dessert.
Chocolate Marble Pound Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus 3 tablespoons melted
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened (good quality)cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil and line it with parchment paper. Be sure to oil the parchment paper as well.
- Step 2 In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. In another medium bowl, add the melted butter with the cocoa until smooth. Set aside.
- Step 3 Using a kitchen mixer, such as a Kitchen Aid, fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar and beat well till lightly and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Next, add the dry ingredients and pulse just until combined. Add the cream and blend. Transfer 1 cup of the batter to the bowl with the cocoa and stir until smooth.
- Step 4 Spoon half of the remaining batter into the prepared pan and use a large rubber spatula to smooth out. Spread the chocolate batter in the pan, then cover with the remaining plain batter. Using a butter knife, cut 5 swirls in the batter.
- Step 5 Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for an additional 25 minutes more. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the cake is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.
- Step 6 Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then unmold and let cool completely on a wire rack. Serve as is or with fresh berries and whipped cream.