Emma Wartzman

Chocolate (tea)cake for breakfast? Yes, please. Editorial Assistant Emma Wartzman shows us the way.

I jumped at the opportunity to participate in this round of the Sunset Cookbook Club because I’m from Los Angeles and have the pleasure of knowing (and loving) Zoe Nathan’s baking in real life. Her cafe in Santa Monica, where these recipes come from, is a place that I frequent—though I will say that makes it no easier to decide between scones and cookies and cakes each time I’m there. The counter is always overflowing, each sweet looking better than the next.

The only downsides of Huckleberry are the line (which is often so long that it curves in funny ways around the restaurant), the fact that it can be difficult to find a table during prime hours, and its location, which for a girl who lives on the more east side of LA is fairly far. So what solves all of those problems? A cookbook! If I can make these treats even half as well as Zoe does in my own kitchen, it’s guaranteed satisfaction.

Why this recipe? Pound cake—especially chocolate pound cake—is one of my very favorite foods, but it’s tricky to make perfectly. It often comes out too dry or too sweet, in my opinion. I wanted to give this one a shot to see if it might turn into a staple—the kind you can eat with ice cream for dessert, as an afternoon snack, or even, if you’re feeling daring, with a cup of coffee at breakfast. Plus “Chocolate Chocolate” in the title. How could I not be drawn to something with that word in it twice?

What was it like to make it? The recipe seems a bit trying when you read it at first. There are quite a few ingredients that need to be sifted, melted, cooled, or otherwise made. But I promise, it actually comes together fairly quickly. The key is to measure and set out everything before you begin to follow the steps.

There are the dry ingredients—pastry flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda—that must be sifted together. Then brewed coffee, buttermilk, and vanilla mixed together. Butter, sugar, salt, and eggs creamed until light and fluffy. Finally, melted chocolate and chocolate chips folded in. See, that makes it seem fairly easy, doesn’t it?

How did it turn out? Incredibly well. It’s the perfect pound cake, in my opinion. Not overwhelmingly sweet, despite the fact that it is very chocolatey. It was perfectly moist and even sat in my kitchen for a few days after and lasted beautifully. Plus, the color is such a satisfying deep brown.

Will I make it again? Yes, for breakfast, snack, and dessert!


CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE TEACAKE

Makes one 9 x 5 inch (23 x 12 cm) loaf

"I love this, my son loves this, my husband loves this, and you will love this," writes Zoe Nathan. "There is something so fun and naughty about eating chocolate for breakfast, and I for one think it should be done more often. Even though this teacake is rich in chocolate, it is not overly sweet and the coffee gives it a slightly more grown-up flavor, but not so grown-up that the little ones won't love it."

"Add 1/2 cup (60 g) chopped, toasted walnuts if you're in the mood. These are also great made into muffins. Serve plain or with lightly sweetened Whipped Cream on the side."

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (100g) pastry flour
  • 6 tbsp. (45 g) all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp. (30 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) strong brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups (300 g)  coarsely chopped dark chocolate, 60 to 70% cacao
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. (225 g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 eggs
  • Powdered sugar for topping (optional)

1. Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease a 9-by-5 in (23-by-12 cm) loaf pan.

2. Sift together the pastry flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

3. Combine the coffee, buttermilk, and vanilla. Set aside. Melt 3/4 cup (130 g) of the chocolate gently over a double boiler or in a small bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water. Remove the pan from the heat, but leave the chocolate over the double boiler to keep warm while you mix the cake.

4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Incorporate the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well. Pause mixing and add the flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the coffee mixture. Fold in both the melted and chopped chocolate.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool completely.

6. Place a flat plate on top of the cake and pan. Carefully invert the cake onto the plate by flipping both upside down. Then lift the pan off the cake. Rest your serving plate on the bottom of the cake and turn the cake right-side up onto the plate. Once cooled, top with powdered sugar, if desired.

This keeps beautifully, tightly wrapped, at room temperature, for up to 4 days.

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