Chocolate Pound Cake

Today’s cake was an excuse to use some of the cocoa powder I bought last week at Costco.

chocolate pound cake

Next time you’re warehouse shopping, check the baking aisle because you may get lucky and find the 24 oz cans of Rodelle unsweetened cocoa powder for about $7.00. That’s a good price for just about any cocoa powder, but it’s especially good for Rodelle, which is a Dutch processed type as opposed to a “natural” cocoa powder. So far I’ve only made this cake with Dutch processed, but I think natural would be fine, too. Or for a really dark cake, you could try using Hershey’s Dark.


To get a tight crumbed, light texture, I ground the sugar in a food processor, replaced the original all-purpose flour with cake flour, and used a combination of butter and shortening instead of just butter. The first time I baked the cake I halved the recipe and baked it in a loaf pan. For the second cake, I baked it in a tube pan.

Chocolate Tube Cake

For both cakes, I used a glaze which sets quickly and cracks a little bit. It’s not the smoothest and prettiest glaze, but I love the taste and texture so I keep using it over and over. The glaze is actually my favorite part of the cake, but you can leave it off and just dust the cake with powdered sugar if you prefer. As for the pan, if you plan on slicing or plating the cake ahead of time, I recommend the tube pan. For presentation’s sake a Bundt would look better. The glaze just looks kind of weird on a tube pan shaped cake (though it tastes great!).

Chocolate Pound Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is my new favorite chocolate pound cake.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 20
  • 2 1/4 cups (9 oz) cake flour or 2 cups (9 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, I used Rodelle Dutch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (21 oz) granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (3.4 oz) shortening
  • 1 1/2 packets of instant coffee or 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 5 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature **
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 10 inch tube pan very generously with flour added baking spray. Set it on a rimmed cookie sheet.
  2. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Grind the sugar in a food processor and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached, beat the butter and shortening until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating for five minutes.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed after each egg is added. When all the eggs are incorporated into the batter, scrape sides of the bowl and increase the mixer speed to medium high. Beat on medium-high for about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and the coffee.
  6. With mixer on the lowest speed (or by hand), add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add the water and stir until incorporated.
  7. Pour into the greased tube pan. Hold the cake batter about 4 inches above the counter and drop it to remove air bubbles. Set it back onto the baking sheet and bake for about 80 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then carefully invert.
  8. Let the cake cool completely, then make the icing. To make the icing, melt the butter in a large (2 cup) microwave safe bowl or measuring cup. Stir in the cocoa powder and powdered sugar, then gradually add the cream, stirring until shiny and smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Pour over the cake before the icing starts to set.
For the buttermilk, you can substitute SACO buttermilk powder with 8 oz of water. Some people add the powder with the dry ingredients and then add the water with the wet ingredients, but I like to dissolve the buttermilk powder in the water to get rid of any lumps.

For the coffee, I used a pack and a half of Folgers Black Silk.


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  1. Katherine says

    Happy to see this recipe! I bought the same cocoa powder at Costco last week too. Is there any instance when you should not use Duthch process over natural?
    I’ll try making the cake tomorrow. Looks yummy.

  2. says

    Katherine, the natural cocoa is more acidic, while Dutch processed is more alkaline. The varying pH levels combined with the other ingredients in the batter affect the action of the leavening agents. If you’re baking something with a lot of acid (buttermilk, sour cream, baking powder) you might want to use a more neutral cocoa (Dutch process), while a more alkaline batter might need the acidity of a natural cocoa to activate the chemical leavening agents. And then sometimes it barely seems to matter! In this case, the batter has baking powder and buttermilk so I guess it’s got enough acid to support Dutch cocoa. I might make it again with natural cocoa just to see if I get a different texture. This cake rises quite a bit in the oven, but settles down somewhat as a it cools.

    Anyhow, I’m looking forward to hearing how yours works! Just remember to beat as directed, add the eggs slowly and bake it at a slow and low temperature.

  3. says

    Oh Anna, this does look delicious. It kind of reminds me of a Texas Sheet Cake in pound cake form. What is not to love about that. I can’t wait to use my Rodelle cocoa to make this.

  4. says

    Yes! You can definitely make it in a loaf pan. Just halve the recipe and use an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch pan. I think the bake time is about an hour, but that’s always variable.

  5. Katherine says

    This is a delicious pound cake. I agree with you (as well as my kids) the glaze is the best part! It tastes like the frosting on a chocolate donut. I made mine in a Bundt, and was able to share it with a couple neighbors- it’s a big cake! It would be a great cake for a trifle. I’m imagining a Black Forest trifle. Yum!

  6. Niki H. says

    can you tell me where you purchased your cake pan? is it a one piece or two piece?

  7. says

    Great question, Niki! It’s an old fashioned two piece and I purchased it at the Assistance League of Austin for about $2.

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