simple chocolate loaf cake

choco loaf cake main

I will admit that when I was dreaming of cake on Friday, this is not what I had in mind.

I had visions of layers of cake and buttercream, perfectly frosted, beautifully adorning a cake pedestal, filling my belly with rich, sweet, decadent chocolate.

But then, life happened, as it tends to do. Next thing I knew it was Sunday afternoon and I found myself sitting at home, surrounded by piles of laundry, short one cake pan, knowing that my layer cake wasn’t going to happen. Not today, at least. Then, I remembered this recipe that I saw about a million years ago on Smitten Kitchen. A simple loaf cake.

One bowl, one pan, one hour.


It’s not really the texture of  “cake”, instead it is somewhere around that of most other loaf “cakes” – lemon poppy seed and the like – not quite dense but not really light either. The rich chocolate flavor and tender crumb “hit the spot” perfectly, so to speak. Simple, sweet, potentially elegant. Adorned with freshly-whipped cream and strawberries, it might not have been the one I was dreaming of Friday afternoon, but it was perfect in its own right.

Chocolate Loaf Cake

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (6 7/8 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (2 5/8 ounces) Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line with parchment and/or butter and lightly flour a 9×5×3-inch loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla.

3. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. (You can do this in advance, into another bowl, if you’re not in need of a “one bowl” recipe) Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

5. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan. Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries or a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

*If you only have non-Dutch cocoa,  you’ll want to use 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and no baking powder

2 thoughts on “simple chocolate loaf cake

Somethin' to say? Share it here!