At Home With Algonquin: Cocoa Pound Cake from Maman’s Homesick Pie

Madame’s Cocoa Pound Cake

Madame, the lady who ran the lunch kiosk at my school in Iran, made two simple cakes every day, spice and cocoa. She displayed them under a cake dome, lightly dusted with powdered sugar, and sold them for the equivalent of thirty cents a slice – a fortune to me, and a rare treat.

I made a lot of pound cake before I came up with one that resembled Madame’s, but in my fond childhood memories, hers still tastes better.

At Christmastime I make dozens of these cocoa pound cakes to give to family and friends. This year, my son walked into the kitchen as I was lining them up to wrap in a cellophane and raffia. Will any of those ever be for us? he asked, sighing. I set one on a plate with a knife and made us two mugs of hot chocolate, and we sat down to eat cake together. Maman, you don’t always have to give them away, he reminded me.
Yields 1 9-inch Bundt cake (loaf style works fine, too)

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) softened unsalted butter

1 ½ cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

¾ cup buttermilk, at room temperature


1. Butter a 9-inch Bundt pan. (Loaf style works fine, too.)

2. Preheat the oven to 350.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking sods, salt, and cocoa powder.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.

5. Fold in the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, mixing well after each addition.

6. Spread the butter evenly into the pan. Bake on the center rack for approximately 35-40 minutes , until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto a wire rack to cool.

8. To serve, place on a cake platge and drizzle with chocolate glaze (see following recipe) or simply sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.


Chocolate Glaze

¾ cup heavy whipping cream

6 oz dark chocolate, chopped

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, scald the cream. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until the glaze is smooth and glossy. Drizzle over cake.

This recipe is from Maman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan

5 Comments On This Post:

September 14, 2011
10:15 am
Marylou says...

I think I’m in LOVE!

September 14, 2011
10:44 am
Lisa L. says...

This looks fabulous!

September 14, 2011
4:36 pm
chris oslund says...

The world needs as many ways to consume chocolate as possible. This appears to be a worthy addition.

September 15, 2011
2:45 am
Mani Farhadi says...

So many memories of childhood and good times are tied to the foods we ate! This tribute to Donia’s mom is really about capturing precious moments.

August 16, 2012
12:30 pm
Amy Greene says...

I devoured Donia Bijan’s tribute to her mother almost as much as what is probably one of the best chocolate cakes ever!

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