Chocolate Almond Pound Cake

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Layer with strawberries Chocolate Almond Pound Cake

This is post #4 of LunaCafe’s annual Love Rules! All Chocolate! All Month! celebration. Each post in February will feature a very special chocolate recipe, perfect for sharing with those special people in your life. Click the link above for photos and pointers to all past chocolate posts. And don’t miss the post titled, The Wonderful World of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, which details 17 fabulous cocoas, including my picks for top honors. Now back to the celebration!

I have been dreaming of creating a chocolate and almond paste pound cake for some time now and have finally done it. The impetus was Valentine’s Day of course but maybe even more this gorgeous, nonstick Nordic Ware quilted heart cake pan.

Batter trio Chocolate Almond Pound Cake

I ran into it online and ordered it on the spot. A couple of days later and there it was, sturdy and gleaming on the kitchen counter. I took a close look at the intricate design and began to have trepidation about whether the cake would release cleanly from the pan, with all of the design intact. The directions that come with the pan indicate to brush the interior with soft butter or shortening before adding the cake batter. I almost floured the surface as well but then thought better of it. After all, the surface is nonstick. The cake released perfectly, every bit of the design preserved.

Fresh from the oven Chocolate Almond Pound Cake

However, most of my pound cake recipes are engineered for a 10- to 12-cup bundt pan, and although this Nordic Ware pan says it has a 10-cup capacity, it most decidedly DOES NOT. It has a capacity of 7 cups tops, and I recommend that you do not fill it any fuller than 6 cups.

So, because of the capacity issue, I was prepared to test this recipe a couple of times to get the proportions just right for the pan size, but the first test was perfection.

Sprinkled with powdered sugar Chocolate Almond Pound Cake

The cake has a moist, tender, dense, and almost chewy texture, with a full chocolate flavor balanced by an equally assertive almond flavor. It is one of those cakes that actually seems to improve in texture the second day after it is baked. And in fact, the cake was still moist when we finished it off on the third day. Do of course wrap it closely with a couple layers of plastic wrap and maybe even foil to boot.

Slice with berries Chocolate Almond Pound Cake

Although this cake is an appropriate choice to conclude a special meal, it is also great as a snack pulled from your backpack after a long hike. Its sturdy texture ensures that you can eat it out of hand with only a few stray crumbs. So, if you are on lunchbox duty and want to impress someone special on Valentine’s Day, this is your cake.

Strawberry layer square Chocolate Almond Pound Cake

Chocolate Almond Pound Cake

This cake has an enchanting texture, partly because of the chewy effect lent by the almond paste. It is excellent served plain, dusted with only a little powdered sugar, and sublime served with crème anglaise (custard sauce) and dark caramel sauce, both drizzled on the plate. It can also be coated with chocolate glaze for an elegant finish.

 unsalted butter, room temperature, to brush pan

1½ cups King Arthur unbleached, all-purpose flour (6¼ ounces)
½ cup unsweetened, natural process cocoa (not alkalized) (1 1/8 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1½ cups sugar
3½ ounces almond paste (half a 7-ounce tube)
¾ cup unsalted butter, cool room temperature (1½ sticks)
2 teaspoons instant espresso  
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

¾ cup sour cream

  1. Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven with plenty of room above it and preheat the oven to 325°.
  2. Brush a 6- to 7-cup capacity nonstick cake or bundt pan with room temperature butter.  (If the pan is not nonstick, butter it first, and then dust evenly with flour, tapping out any excess that does not stick.)
  3. Over a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar with the almond paste until well combined. Add the butter and beat until smooth and creamy. Stop the machine a few times and scrape the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula.
  5. While beating at medium speed, add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and espresso, a bit at a time, beating only until they are blended.
  6. With the machine running at medium speed, drizzle in the egg, a little at a time, making sure that each addition in fully absorbed before adding the next bit.
  7. With the machine running at the lowest speed, and using only bursts of power, add a third of the flour mixture and a third of the sour cream, Repeat twice more with the remaining dry ingredients and sour cream, scraping the bowl with a flexible spatula in between additions. Finally, beat the batter on medium speed for 10-15 seconds until smooth.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top feels springy and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If you see the sides of the cake pulling away from the pan, remove the cake immediately from the oven. Don’t overbake or the cake will be dry.
  9. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes or so. Turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  10. To finish, dust with powdered sugar.

Make Ahead   If well-wrapped to prevent moisture loss, this cake will keep at room temperature for a few days; or longer in the freezer.

Makes one cake; serves 6-8.

There’s More

Check out these additional CHOCOLATE recipes, from the first, second, and third (thus far) Love Rules! All Chocolate! All Month! celebrations at LunaCafe: 

Season 3 

Season 2

Season 1

Copyright Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.

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About Susan S. Bradley

Intrepid cook, food writer, culinary instructor, author of Pacific Northwest Palate: Four Seasons of Great Cooking, and founder of the Northwest Culinary Academy.

Comments

  1. Made this for a Valentine’s gift and it kept very well. I used a heart-shaped bundt pan that had a small heart cut out in the center, so wasn’t sure how much batter it would hold. I probably could have put a little more in but wasn’t sure & didn’t want it to overflow, so ended up filling 5 muffin tins with leftover batter…& I got to enjoy them myself. I actually froze them but have already dipped into the freezer for another “taste” a couple times…that almond/chocolate blend is fabulous.

    The only store I could find almond paste had it in a can, not a tube. They had marzipan in a 7oz tube; but I went ahead with the can & just weighed it out on my scale….froze the leftover paste. Will use it soon.

  2. Just checking, does this recipe then work for your smaller heart bundt pan or for a regular-sized bundt pan? Sounds yummy!
    Michelle’s Cookie-Cutter Blog´s last blog post ..A Sweet Spring Treat: Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean FrostingMy Profile

  3. I love everything about this cake. Pound cake alone is amazing but the the flavors – chocolate almond just take this one over the top. What a beautiful mold and design. Really lovely!
    Sue´s last blog post ..CHICKPEAS – NOT YOUR AVERAGE FRIESMy Profile

  4. What a perfect cake for Valentines day. I love chocolate and almonds together. I have a copper clad stainless steel lined mould that’s about 6-7 cup capacity. It’s pretty heavy to be just a jello type mould, it even has a rolled edge like a cake pan. Do you think it would work okay to bake a cake in it? Would the copper conduct too much heat?

  5. The cake has an accurate and lovely form. Inspirational idea! Thx.

  6. Very instructive and easy to follow recipe. Great share!
    Byron Brown´s last blog post ..Find All the Courses in the UK by CategoryMy Profile

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