A chewy, rich and decadent chocolate loaf cake recipe

Sasha Ashall/Staff

The daffodils are blooming, which means spring is about to grace this blessed Bay. It also means that we’ve suffered through the cold, wet and hail of winter — yeah, it wasn’t too bad this year, but I think we could all use some chocolate cake for our trouble. And this is close to the Platonic ideal. One bowl, uncomplicated ingredients, a funky buttermilk twist and rich, dark Dutch cocoa powder make for one hell of a decadent slice. With a crackly crust, a rich coffee note and dense, chewy crumb from the butter and brown sugar, this is my new go-to chocolate cake — and yours.

Recipe: Chocolate loaf cake

Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes  | Yields: One 9″ x 5″ cake


(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

½ cup softened butter (plus more for greasing pan)

1 ½ cups sugar, brown and white mix (I did about ¼ cup white, 1 ¼ cup brown, but any configuration will do)

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk (a combination of milk and sour cream would work here too)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon brewed coffee

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (plus more for dusting pan)

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

Optional: powdered sugar for final dusting


Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then mix in the egg until fully incorporated. Mix in all other wet ingredients. Sift in flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and fold in with a silicone spatula until there are no lumps.

Dump the mixture in a loaf tin that’s been greased with butter and lightly dusted with cocoa powder to prevent sticking. Bake for about 1 hour, checking with a knife or skewer at the 50 minute mark. When the knife or skewer comes out clean, the cake is done.

Let the cake sit for at least 15 minutes in the pan, then turn it out using a cutting board or plate. Ideally, you want to let the cake sit until it’s fully cooled to room temperature, but I know you just want to get in there with some ice cream, and I’m not going to be the one who stops you.

Contact Sasha Ashall at [email protected].