Remember at the beginning of the year I said that I was going to bake through my Bon Appétit Desserts cookbook, but then promptly stopped after only doing 1 recipe? Well…I’m back at it.
The second recipe is ‘Deep Chocolate Pound Cake’, and I actually did make it right after the ‘Classic Pound Cake‘ back in February. However, this recipe was a beast to convert to dairy-free. It requires sour cream, which I normally just omit without any resulting problems. However, the cake came out so dry that it was inedible. So the first one ended up in the trash.
Obviously with my allergy, I’ve never tasted sour cream. How in the world was I to try to think of a suitable substitution for an ingredient I can’t taste? I started thinking about the assumed qualities of this mysterious sour cream. By the name, I know that it has a tangy taste and would add fat. I’ve seen it before, so I knew the consistency reminded me of mayonnaise. Then I remembered hearing of chocolate cake recipes with mayonnaise in it, and decided that would probably be the best substitute. It would add fat and moisture, just like sour cream. As for the tangy element, distilled white vinegar seemed the obvious solution. Plus, the vinegar would give the cake a lighter, fluffier texture, which the first dry mess that I made desperately needed.
In an effort to make this a proper experiment, I have decided that I’m going to follow all the instructions to a tee instead of doing things differently straight out the gate just because it’s different than what I would normally do. The whole point of this is to break out of my baking box where everything is comfortable and safe. I wouldn’t be doing myself justice if I didn’t follow instructions.
The instructions for this recipe say to remove the cake from the pan immediately after it comes out of the oven, and then to let it cool. Doing this went against my better instincts, but in the spirit of Hermoine Granger, I followed the instructions anyways… And the cake crumbled because it was too hot. A taste test sealed it’s destiny for the trash: although the mayo helped a lot with the dryness of the cake, it was still too dry for my taste.
So the third time, I added an egg to help with the moisture level and I let it cool completely in the pan before removing it. It came out of the pan without a problem, was a tolerable texture, but it really didn’t have a chocolate flavor. It looked like a chocolate cake, but the original recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, which is about what a red velvet cake calls for. But with red velvet, the chocolate look is covered up with red food coloring, so you don’t look at it, see brown, and expect a full chocolate flavor. However, this recipe is called ‘Deep Chocolate Pound Cake’, so one expects a deep chocolate flavor, which the original recipe just did not deliver on. So, this one also ended up in the trash.
That was the point when I was done with this recipe, and only summoned up the motivation to give it one more shot just yesterday.
This time, I doubled the amount of cocoa powder, as well as the amount of water. To ensure that the cake wasn’t too bitter with the extra cocoa powder, I also increased the sugar from 3/4 cups to a full cup. I found the recipe’s 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to not be enough, so I also doubled that to a full cup. The result was a cake that had a dry crumb, but was not too dry to eat. It had a strong chocolate flavor that was not overly sweet and was balanced out with an ever-so-slight tang. The chocolate chips throughout provide a surprise of sweet chocolate bursts. I also topped it with a simple vanilla glaze, which added sweetness.
Honestly, it was still a bit dry for my taste. But it went really well with coffee. My husband had the idea of pouring coffee directly on a piece of it, and it was truly delightful when eaten that way. Because it’s a sturdier cake, it did not get soggy, but was rather the perfect sponge for the yummy coffee, whose flavor nicely complimented the chocolate.
Is it my new all-time favorite cake? No. It is a little on the dry side for my taste, and the steps to put it together are too complicated for my liking. I lean towards simple cake recipes; preferably ones that can be mixed in one bowl. This recipe calls for 4 different mixing containers. 4.
I was tempted to try it one more time in an attempt to make it moister, but I realized that just because I am baking through this cookbook, does not mean that I need to love the way everything comes out. Some of them will become new favorites, while others just simply won’t be my cup of tea.
However, if you like cake that is not too sweet, has a good chocolate flavor, pairs really well with coffee, and is dairy free, then I would encourage you to give this recipe a try.
Dairy Free Deep Chocolate Pound Cake
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 4 Tablespoons boiling water
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup regular mayonnaise (you need the fat, so don’t get the light or fat free or olive oil stuff)
- 2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, plus 3 teaspoons of water
- 1 cup sifted sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven. The ideal temperature will vary oven to oven. In my previous oven, 325 degrees worked better, but in my current oven, 350 degrees works best. You know your oven, so you make the call on which would be best. This cake takes and 1 hour and 15 minutes to bake, so if you aren’t sure, air on the side of caution and do the lower temperature so the sides don’t burn.
- Grease and flour a 9″ or 10″ loaf pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sifted cocoa powder, boiling water, and honey. Set aside to cool.
- In another bowl, mix the mayonnaise and vinegar. Set aside.
- In yet another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a measuring cup, mix the milk and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, put the vegetable shortening and 3 teaspoons of water. With the whisk attachment, mix on a medium speed, until it’s a creamy consistency.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the sifted sugar. Whisk until combined. The texture will be a bit crumbly.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs, one at a time, being sure to whisk well after each addition.
- After all the eggs are mixed in, scrape down the sides of the bowl and give it another mix.
- Add the cooled cocoa powder/honey/water mixture to your shortening/sugar/egg mixture and whisk well.
- Take turns adding bits of the flour mixture and the mayo mixture, whisking well after each addition.
- When the mayo mixture is all added, continue adding the flour mixture in small amounts, but now alternate with the milk.
- When all of that is added, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then whisk well until smooth.
- Add the chocolate chips in and mix with a spatula by hand.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, and bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with dry crumbs.
Basic Dairy Free Vanilla Glaze
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 teaspoons of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- Whisk powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of milk together.
- Add milk until desired consistency is reached. It should be thin enough to drizzle, but not so thin that it’s soupy.
Once cake is completely cooled, remove from pan and drizzle the glaze over the top. Enjoy with a fresh cup of coffee!
WARNING: Your 3 year old might dig into it BEFORE YOU CAN EVEN GET IT OUT OF THE PAN. I know this, because that’s exactly what mine did…