Old Fashioned Chocolate Loaf Cake

I spent part of this blustery, snow-showered Sunday baking this for my neighbor who has a birthday tomorrow. This is very similar to a pound cake and is very fine grained. Like most loaf cakes I have tried, it is easy to make and there is nothing unusual about it.

About the baking time - author Maida Heatter says that it is very long - about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Knowing about her baking times in advance, I questioned this and started checking the cake after one hour. Sure enough, it was done in about 1 hour and 10 minutes. The cake will crack along the top (she says that is expected) so don't be alarmed by that. The cake slices beautifully (not crumbly at all) and tastes wonderful. It is great with milk, tea or coffee.

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
8 oz. unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup sugar
5 large eggs, separated

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter an 8-cup capacity loaf pan and dust with fine bread crumbs.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

Melt both chocolates together in a double boiler over barely simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.

Cream the butter. Add the vanilla extract and then 1 cup of the sugar (reserving 1/4 cup). Mix thoroughly. Add the egg yolks one at at a time, mixing well. Add the melted chocolate and blend well. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until well mixed (scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure it is all incorporated).

In a separate mixer bowl, whip the egg whites until they hold a soft peak. Continue to mix, adding the 1/4 cup of sugar, until a firm peaks are achieved.

Now fold the egg whites into the batter. The batter is very thick so this is a bit awkward at first. Use a wooden spoon to begin and add about 1/3 of the egg whites. When this portion is folded in, add another third and continue. The batter will begin to get lighter. You can use a plastic spatula to add the last of the egg whites. Fold in until the egg whites disappear.

Place the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Bake until a cake tester comes out dry. Baking times depend on the size of the pan you are using. (The cake baked in 1 hour and 12 minutes for me). Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before carefully removing it. Place it on a cooling rack to cool thoroughly.

After completely cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and let it sit overnight before serving.

(Recipe adapted from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2006.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I have been craving something chocolate. Yummm this sounds so good. I remember my Mother making something similar. She would wrap the loaf in waxed paper. I might have to try this.


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