Dark Chocolate Chai Pound Cake

One day a few months ago while grocery shopping and perusing the baking aisle I ran across a chocolate cake mix that had chai tea or chai flavoring in the mix.  I got a bit obsessed with the idea of chai and chocolate in a cake. I made this cake combining loose leaf chocolate chai to a good chocolate pound cake recipe I had…all easy and homemade for the Holidays.

 I prefer pound cakes that are dense & moist, cut into thick slabs to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea…sometimes toasted.  No icing, please.

There are thousands of chocolate pound cake recipes on the internet and in cookbooks, but this one is simple & straightforward. The generous addition of finely ground up “Chocolate Chai Loose Leaf” from Firepot Nomadic Teas makes one fine cake. A combination of organic cardamom, coriander, ginger, black pepper and cloves as well as cacao nibs says it all. I used a mortar and pestle for grinding the chai, but an electric coffee grinder works as well.

I dust my cake pans with cocoa powder when I’m making a chocolate cake of any kind. The more dark chocolate goodness, the better.

Thick slices…toaster ready.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup good quality cocoa powder + extra for dusting loaf pan
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons loose leaf chocolate chai (use any loose leaf chai you like)
  • 2 sticks softened butter + extra for greasing baking pan
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 5 loaf pan generously with butter. Dust generously with cocoa powder. Set aside.
  2. Whisk flour and salt together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Put 3/4 cocoa powder in a glass or metal bowl and while whisking, drizzle in the boiling hot water. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Grind the loose chai using a mortar and pestle or electric grinder until somewhat fine, but not powdery.
  5. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment beat the 2 sticks butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of mixer as needed.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and cocoa-water mixture and beat until combined on medium speed.
  7. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Again scrape down sides of bowl as you need to.
  8. Turn mixer to low-speed and add flour-salt mixture just until blended. Remove mixer bowl and using a rubber scraper scrape down sides of bowl and blend in any remaining flour.
  9. Add the ground chocolate chai to the batter and blend well. Scrape batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top.
  10. Bake for about 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool baked cake on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes or so. Remove cake from pan and set on wire rack to continue to cool if you can wait long enough! The aroma of the chocolate and chai combination is fantastic.

Teresa Blackburn    http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com    http://www.foodonfifth.com

“Blood Oranges, Poundless Poundcakes & a Poem”

Blood Orange

Blood Oranges

They reach out to you….. 

…..Glow 

like brilliant sons. 
Silent and sleepy
in the aisle 
of imported fruit.
They call to your amazement-
these prodigals far from home.
But, this is not Italy.
No Alimentare here.

Poem in part by ari’ anna arena (click here for full poem)

Enchanted….seduced…far-away-longings…These are all brought about each late winter when the “Moro Blood Oranges” begin to show up in the markets. I can never resist them.

In posts from the past, “Blood Orangecello & Bootlegging” and “Bloody Sweet Orange Tartlets”, I have proclaimed my devotion to this most exotic & engaging citrus.

This week I turn to musings about pound cakes (doesn’t the name sound fattening?).

Recently on a photo shoot for Relish Magazine I baked a couple of pound cakes using no butter, just olive oil. They were delicious & absolutely moist, dense & sturdy, yet delicate in flavors & texture…lower in fat…here is my version using Blood Oranges.

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“Blood Orange & Olive Oil Poundless Pound Cake for Waltzing into Spring”

Ingredients for cake:   1 cup self-rising flour, 1/2 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal, pinch of salt, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 generous Tbsps. finely chopped Blood Orange rind, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup freshly squeezed Blood Orange juice

Ingredients for glaze: 1/2 cup Blood Orange juice & 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Blood Orange Peel

Juicing Blood Oranges

Chopped Blood Orange Peel

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard loaf pan. Line with two sheets of parchment paper cut to fit…overlapping in the bottom of the pan.

2. Whisk together the self-rising flour & self-rising cornmeal & salt.

3. Whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla, chopped rind & olive oil. (or use a stand mixer). Add the flour mixture, blend well. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack.

Blood Orange Poundcake BatterBaked Poundcake Blood Orange

4. While cake is baking, make the Blood Orange Glaze. Put juice & powdered sugar in a small saucepan, stir well, bring to a low boil and remove from heat. While cake is still warm poke holes in top with a skewer. Drizzle glaze by spoonfuls over cake until half of glaze is used, allowing glaze to soak into the cake through the holes.

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Blood Orange Glaze

5. Remove cake from pan when cooled somewhat using the edges of the parchment paper to lift.

Serve sliced with additional glaze drizzle if desired.

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Tip: One of favorite simple things to do with slices of Blood Oranges is to dip the edges in Turbinado sugar & eat!

Add sugar dipped wedges of Blood Oranges to the rim of a cup of tea. Just squeeze juice into tea & stir.

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A short, sweet season is close to the end…until next year my beauties!