When my mom used to come home from the A&P bearing the Sara Lee chocolate-swirl pound cake, it’s a wonder she made it through the door alive. My brother, sister and I would rip the bag from her arms and hunker down around that cake much in the same way our Paleolithic brothers and sisters would converge upon a wild boar that had just been brought in for dinner.
Other than my mother’s butter cake, this was, in my estimation, the perfect cake. The taste was buttery, the crumb was light and moist and that chocolate ribbon was sublime. We kids would fight over the “scrapes,” the thin bottom layer of cake that would linger in the tin after a slice was cut. I judged all cakes by the Sara Lee chocolate-swirl pound cake.
I was very unhappy to find out that Sara Lee chocolate-swirl pound cake is no longer available. It has been replaced by a strawberry-swirl pound cake, which sounds too gross to contemplate. I wish I knew why Sara Lee made this switch. I have too much faith in mankind to believe it prefers a strawberry-swirl cake to a chocolate-swirl one. Until this is rectified, it’s up to us to carry on and make and eat chocolate-swirl pound cakes. Pull out your loaf pan today and join me in this righteous action, won’t you? And, if you want to write to the Sara Lee company to complain, well, that’s entirely up to you.
Since I Sara Lee has hung me out to dry, I had to try my hand at making this pound cake. When it’s cold out of the fridge the day after I make it, it almost tastes like the Sara Lee pound cake. Almost.
Chocolate-Swirl Pound Cake with Coconut
Makes about 12 servings
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Pound Cake in How to Cook Everything
If you want to dispense with the coconut, go right ahead. I know not everyone loves coconut the way I do. But…this pound cake is really good with the coconut. No pressure, though. In MB’s original recipe he uses cocoa powder, but I’m glad I used melted chocolate because it makes a thick fudgy ribbon that says, “Aren’t I incredible?” every time you bite into it. This is especially true when you eat it for breakfast.
Canola oil spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
⅓ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 9x5 loaf pan with canola oil.
2. In medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until it’s smooth. Add the sugar ½ cup at a time until it’s incorporated. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Don’t beat, but stir dry ingredients into wet until just combined. Stir in the vanilla.
4. Whisk together melted chocolate and about ½ cup of the cake batter.
5. Stir the coconut into the remaining batter. Pour half of the cake batter into the loaf pan. Then pour the chocolate mixture on top of that. Use a knife or spatula to swirl the chocolate mixture. Pour the remainder of the cake batter on top of that.
6. Bake 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool fully on rack before slicing and serving. Transfer to airtight container, where it will keep for 2 or 3 days. I like to put it in the fridge, but if you don’t roll that way, no worries.