pound-cake
photograph by Matt Hulsman

Yield: 16 servings.

1 pound unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup dark cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup whole milk, warm
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°. Butter, cream cheese, and eggs should be at room temperature. Cream together butter, sugar, and cream cheese until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Add alternately with milk to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in vanilla. Pour into greased and floured tube pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cover with foil until completely cool.

Chocolate Royal Icing

4 cups powdered sugar
½ cup dark cocoa powder
2 egg whites, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream

In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix lightly. In a separate bowl, mix egg whites, vanilla extract, and half of the cream. Add to the dry ingredients. With an electric mixer, mix on low speed, and gradually add the remaining cream. Mix until the icing reaches the consistency of thick syrup. Turn the mixer to high and whip for approximately 2 minutes, until the icing is light and fluffy, like meringue.

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.