I’m not much of a joiner, but recently discovered a group I was anxious to become part of: The Clandestine Cake Club, where home bakers come together in hidden locations to meet each other and share their home baked cakes.
Have you heard of it? I hadn’t until a couple months ago when I happened upon The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook in a London Bookshop. Intrigued, I did a little internet searching when I got home and discovered that a new Phoenix chapter had just formed and would be having their first meeting in July where the theme would be ‘Chocolate Cake.’
So, I marked my calendar for Saturday, July 20th, invited Mom to come as my guest and consulted the chocolate cake recipes in several of my favorite cookbooks.
I finally decided to go super simple, choosing the recipe for Chocolate Pound Cake from Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook: The Best Recipes from Southampton’s Favorite Bakery for Homestyle Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Muffins, and Breads, which looked easy to make, and would be effortless to transport because it didn’t require icing.
Described in the book’s headnotes as, “Not as rich as a brownie and not as light as devil’s food cake. This cake is perfect plain or even better with ice cream and raspberry sauce or with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.” I made the raspberry sauce but skipped the ice cream since it would have been a melty mess to deal with.
Saturday, we gathered in North Phoenix to share our chocolate cakes…
All the cakes were delicious and most way fancier than my simple chocolate pound cake. There was a Texas sheet cake, 3 chocolate layer cakes and 2 dense flourless chocolate cakes, all baked by a wonderful, friendly group of gals. Needless to say, the greedy gal within needed to sample all of them!
And I’m proud to say, though plain and simple, my simple chocolate pound cake held its own. Moist and tender with great chocolate flavor, the raspberry sauce provided a nice bright contrast.
Last night we tried some of the leftover cake with a little vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. It did not disappoint. Two days after baking, this chocolate pound cake was better than ever.
Made with butter, eggs, sugar and sour cream, this chocolate pound cake, is not exactly Weight Watchers friendly, but it’s not obscene either. Each slice (1/16th of the cake) has 283 calories and 8 Weight Watchers PointsPlus. I think you could shave about 50 calories (1 PointsPlus) from each slice by substituting buttermilk for half of the butter, something that has worked for me with other pound cake recipes, but I haven’t actually tried it.
Making baked goods lighter can be tricky since it involves a fair amount of precision and chemistry, so I’ve learned the hard way that when it comes to light baking I’m a lot more successful when I bake tested recipes from reputable sources, such as Cooking Light or Weight Watchers or other dependable light baking books, rather than make random substitutions myself. When I go to the time and expense of baking something, I want it to work, not land in the trash.
And when I’m going to my first ever Clandestine Cake Club Meeting, calories and Weight Watchers PointsPlus are the furthest thing from my mind! This was all about celebrating without an ounce of guilt or remorse
I’ll definitely be making this chocolate pound cake again.
- 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons water
- Position an oven rack in the oven’s center and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan.
- Sift the cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder into a small bowl and set it aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for several minutes until the mixture lightens in color and becomes fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until the egg is completely incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and water. Mix in the dry mixture and the sour cream mixture alternately in five stages beginning and ending with the flour mixture (i.e. ⅓ of the flour, then ½ the sour cream, then ⅓ of the flour, then the remaining half of the sour cream and then the remaining third of the flour). Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times to make sure everything is well incorporated.
- Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared Bundt pan.
- Bake at 325 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 60 to 80 minutes. (Mine took about 75 minutes to be done.)
- Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack, allowing the cake to cool completely in the pan. When cooled, turn the cake out onto a cake plate.
Thoughts on Making Recipe Lighter: Replacing ½ the butter with buttermilk would decrease the calories to 235 and Points to 7.
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