A chocolate pound cake wonderful by itself, or used as a base for Chocolate Marble Cake (below). It is moist and rich all by itself, so it requires no frosting.
Grease & flour 1 loaf pan (8" x4" x2 ½") [20 cm x 10 cm x 6 cm] or a 4 or 6 cup (1 or 1.5 liter) fluted tube pan
In a medium bowl combine the cocoa and water, whisking until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature and lightly whisk in eggs and vanilla.
In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and half the chocolate mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 minute to aerate and develop the cake's structure.
Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining chocolate mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each to incorporate the additional ingredients and strengthen the structure.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. The batter will be almost ½ inch (2 cm) from the top of the 4-cup [1 liter] loaf pan. (if your pan is slightly smaller, use any excess batter for cupcakes.) Bake 55 to 65 minutes (35 to 45 minutes in a fluted tube pan) or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover loosely with buttered foil after 30 minutes to prevent overbrowning. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.
To get an attractive split down the middle of the crust, wait until the natural split is about to develop (about 20 minutes) and then with a lightly greased sharp knife or single-edge razor blade make a shallow mark about 6 inches long down the middle of the cake. This must be done quickly so the oven door does not remain open very long or the cake will fall. When cake splits, it will open along the mark.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes and invert it onto a greased wire rack. If baked in a loaf pan, to keep the bottom from splitting, reinvert so that the top is up and cool completely before wrapping airtight.
Prepare 2 loaf pans or one 8 to 10 cup [2 to 2.5 liter] fluted pan.
Instead of vanilla, Bailey's Irish Cream adds a wonderfully rich flavor!
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