It doesn’t get much better than holiday baking. Cookies, cakes, candies and more, it’s truly the most indulgent, treat-filled time of the year. I don’t know about you but I fully intend on spending the next three weeks baking (and eating) with abandon. Clean eating is for January. December? Bring on the dessert.
I speak mostly in jest, my indulgences will be balanced with regular jogs on my local running path to ensure my favorite jeans still fit come January, but this time of year is so incredibly special and so much of the joy felt is brought about by joining loved ones around a bounty of excellent food. And since baking is my love language, I’m kicking off the most magical month of the year with a crowd-pleasing classic — chocolate pound cake.
I absolutely love pound cakes. They’re simple and humble, yet so easily customizable that once you’ve found a favorite recipe you can tweak it to highlight the best of any season. This pound cake is rich and moist due to butter (of course) combined with egg yolks and sour cream. It’s deeply chocolatey without being overly sweet, and time spent creaming the butter and sugar until fluffy plus a pinch of baking soda ensure that it’s pleasantly dense without being brick-like (an unfortunate outcome of so many pound cake recipes).
But we can’t just leave it at pound cake. The holidays call for a little something extra special, so to really up the indulgence factor of this cake, I made two incredibly delicious compliments to serve it with. The first is cran-cherry compote. Sweet, tart and lightly fragrant due to orange zest, this compote adds a burst of brightness and contrast to the deeply chocolatey cake. The second is a rosemary whipped cream. Three ingredients, no regrets. Rosemary pairs beautifully with the wintery fruit compote and it’s just a subtle touch of herbal infusion that makes this dessert stand out from the crowd. It’s the perfect finale to a beautiful holiday meal and I hope your friends and loved ones enjoy it as much as mine did.
Wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons!
- 1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sour cream, buttermilk, or plain yogurt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups frozen cherries
- 2 cups fresh or frozen craberries
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- zest of 1 small orange
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- With the mixer on low, add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
- Add half of the dry mixture and beat until just combined. Add the sour cream/buttermilk/yogurt and vanilla and then mix again. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until batter is homogenous.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place on a rack to cool.
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the fruit has cooked down and has started to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Pour the whipped cream into a small bowl. Add the fresh rosemary. Cover and refrigerate overnight to infuse the cream.
- To whip, strain the infused cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Whip on high until the cream begins to thicken. Add the honey then continue to beat until thick.