Chocolate and pecans: Made for each other, right? My Southern Chocolate Pound Cake delivers delight in every bite, even without this magnificent fudgy-pecan glaze. Enjoy it plain or embellished — either way, it’s do-able pound cake heaven.
Valentine’s Day Thoughts
Flowers, candy, cards, candlelit dinners, chocolate: That’s my word-association when Valentine’s Day comes up. We tend to focus first on romance, special someone’s, expressing sweetheart-love.
But that’s thinking small. Read what my friend Denise Vivaldo (co-host of the fabulous podcast Women Beyond a Certain Age), wrote on the subject of Valentine’s Day, and how we need to rethink it and open things up. Her take is smart, short and sweet. You can read Denise’s essay in about 54 seconds, and I promise you will be glad you did. Just click HERE.
Denise then shares two recipes, one for adorable petit fours, and one for a pretty champagne cocktail involving raspberries. Lovely any time of year, just like Denise!
Chocolate as an excuse for doing what needs doing:
It has actually been a rather chocolate-y week around here. I have been and remain very, very busy on a big project, and bless my heart, when I really get going and need relief, I tend to bake. Going out for a run, a game of racquetball? Were those my escapes, instead of baking, that wouldn’t have worked, given the big snow and all.
I know some people clean and organize their homes and offices. That is so nice, and I may change as I age, but so far, it’s baking. Flipping through my Miscellaneous Recipe folder (one of the 243+ MR folders around the house in various places around the house) I came across a printed out recipe for “15 Minute Chocolate Cake”.
A Mystery Chocolate Cake Recipe:
It had no notations at all as to where I had found it. Must have been a cut-and-paste, I thought. Can it really be a 15 minutes-into-the-oven chocolate cake, I wondered? I had everything it called for. Fifteen minutes? Really?
A Fifteen-Minute Challenge:
Into the kitchen I went; set a timer; heated the oven to 350 degrees; set out the ingredients; and stirred it up. Oh NO!!! I forgot to do the pan first. Don’t like to do that so I had put it off.
Checked clock. Five minutes left!!! I got pan, greased it, lined it, and presto, got it into oven before the bell. The cake lifted up beautifully and came out just fine. Then I felt frustrated, because I couldn’t share it without credit and where in the world did I get it from? How would I ever find it?
Mystery Solved via Google
But why not at least just go Google 15 minute chocolate cake, I mused, and so I did. Voila! There it was, on my friend Andrea Nguyen‘s wonderful blog/website, Viet World Kitchen. “Well, help my time!” is what my maternal grandmother used to say at such a time, which is Southern American NC English for “Who knew?”
For Andrea’s recipe and story about her 15 Minute Chocolate Cake, click HERE. For pix and notes about finishing the cake, here you go:
The Icing on the Cake
“That went well!”, I said to myself. Then, I thought about icing/frosting, and knew I needed the fastest simplest icing as I was WAY off the topic of the Big Project, and I thought not of a certain cake book we keep handy, with lots of smudges and scribbles and crumbs on its pages.
Instead, I thought of ganache! Chocolate and cream, right? How hard could that be? Not hard at all, as it turned out. I went with this recipe from Martha Stewart’s website, and it worked just fine.
Pecans are often the answer
I had pecans handy, and a wholesale bakery where I once worked briefly used to put ground almonds on the sides of their Vienna fudge cake. No almonds handy, so I used their idea, but with pecans.
Said bakery finished their signature cake with a candied violet in the middle. This ingredient I happened to be out of. Kidding — I never have candied violets. (I did buy some once, back in another era of my cooking life, and almost broke a tooth on one. I think those were more decorative, not for actual eating, though they were edible.)
This cake is chocolate and tasty, along with easy to make. We loved it, especially with an assist from whipped cream or ice cream. But back to chocolate and Valentine’s Day and baking and treats.
A Gorgeous Photo from My Fellow Author and Friend
I’m so proud and lucky that my friend Linda Rogers Weiss, has cooked from my books, and also shared her own recipes to include in them. She has also taken gorgeous photos of some of my recipes, and let me share them.
This image she took of my chocolate pound cake delights me every time I see it. We share a deep love of Southern food and culinary traditions. I love her blog, Southern Cooking at Home, and her cookbook, “Seasoned in the Kitchen”, which you can order in e-book format right HERE.
Southern Chocolate Pound Cake
This is my very favorite chocolate cake, but please know, it is too wonderful to save for Valentine’s Day only. This classic pound cake makes for an especially good choice if you want to bake something to share with lots of people on Valentine’s Day Weekend.
It uses cocoa, so you don’t even need to melt chocolate, and it keeps wonderfully for days!
Pound cake works equally well in celebration of “It Snowed!” Or in honor of “You did it!” Or as a means to say, “Thank you for being so _______!” and “I appreciate how you ________!” We don’t need to wait till next February 14th to express love, appreciation, gratitude, or kindness, do we, now?
On this love-centered day and and moving forward, let’s broadcast love. Let’s plant it and cultivate it. Let’s share cake or candy, cards or notes, hearts or flowers, smiles or jokes, simple kind greetings, looks and words. My friend Denise Vivaldo said it well in her Valentine’s post linked above:
“…I think what we are supposed to celebrate is love and the JOY it brings us. Maybe you celebrate with a spouse, or a lover, or your best friend. Maybe the true romance of Valentine’s Day is the kindness we can show another.”
Talk about short and sweet! This video from Southern Living by way of MyRecipes gives a dandy and useful explainer on getting glaze on a pound cake or bundt cake, in 29 seconds! It also gives you a vanilla alternative to the chocolate glaze included in this post.
Vanilla glaze goes wonderfully with this chocolate cake, with pecans, walnuts, or no nuts at all. The glaze recipe ingredients show up toward the end of the video, so have a pen ready and hit pause if you’d like to get the scoop.
- FOR THE CAKE
- 3 cups sifted flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups light or dark brown sugar
- 5 eggs
- FOR THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
- One 1-ounce square unsweetened chocolate, or 3 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 1 /4 cups confectioners sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
To Make the Cake:
Heat the oven to 325 F. Generously grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan or two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt over a medium bowl. Stir the vanilla into the evaporated milk.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and the shortening and beat well with a mixer until they form a smooth, fluffy mixture. Add the sugars gradually, beating well to achieve a creamy, smooth consistency.
Add the eggs one by one, beating well each time. Add about one third of the flour mixture, and then half the milk, beating each time at low speed only until the flour or milk disappears into the batter. Mix in another third of the flour, the rest of the milk, and then the last of the flour in the same way.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 325 for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or 55 to 60 minutes for loaf pans, until the top of the cake is firm and dry, the sides are pulling away from the pan, and a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack or a folded kitchen towel for 15 minutes. Loosen the cake from the pan with a table knife, and turn it out onto a wire rack or a plate to cool completely, topside up.
To Make the Frosting:
In a small saucepan, combine the butter and the chocolate or cocoa.
Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until melted and smooth.
Remove from the heat, add the confectioners sugar, milk, and vanilla, and stir well until the glaze is smooth.
Spread the glaze over the cake while it is still warm, or cool to room temperature and use it to ice the top of the cake.
Quickly sprinkle the chopped pecans over the frosting on the top of the cake.
Some folks do not like the idea of using shortening in baking, and if that's you, no problem. Simply substitute 1/2 cup of butter for the shortening, bringing the total amount of butter to 1 1/2 cups. Many old-time Southern cooks call for a combination of butter and shortening, more butter of course, because of the good effect that portion of shortening adds to the overall texture of a pound cake. I love it, but do what works for you.
Nutrition InformationYield 25 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 368Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 50mgSodium 112mgCarbohydrates 58gFiber 2gSugar 44gProtein 5g