Chocolate Truffle Pound Cake

Actual conversation that recently took place in my household:

Me, to Little C: What did you just say?
Little C: I said--I'm a hot mess, Mama. You know, like you!
True story. And such a terrific example of how children of a certain age can make you want to suffocate them with kisses, laugh until you cry and yet simultaneously horrify you. Now, in all fairness, I do often proclaim loudly that I am a hot mess, and everybody knows that toddlers are parrots (and pudgy-knuckled crumb carriers). But that doesn't give my barely two-and-half-year-old offspring reason to rub it in, right? Also, let it be known that my disorganized shanty of a brain managed to actually pull something genius out the madness in recent days--Chocolate Truffle Pound Cake. Little C shoved half of it in her face almost immediately. Kids, I tell ya. They never give you any credit.

Way back when I shared an heirloom recipe for a much-loved, buttery, golden-crusted pound cake with you, I thought I'd reached the Pound Cake Apex. And in a way, I had. But that was before I thought to make a soft bittersweet chocolate ganache, scoop it into gumball-sized truffles, and then bake them into the pound cake. I know, right?! Next level stuff.

So grab yourself a big, thick slice and a tall glass of milk and enjoy. Marvel at the combination of buttery, fragrant vanilla cake tunneled with melty chocolate truffles. And try to ignore any nearby toddlers who are probably just criticizing you behind your back.

Chocolate Truffle Pound Cake

This is a perfect cake for gifting--it actually gets better in the few days following baking.

Don't fret about making perfectly round truffles. Some of them will melt in the batter and make their own little chocolate tunnels throughout the cake.
Makes 1 9x5-inch loaf

For the chocolate truffles:

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 60% cacao), chopped

3 tablespoons heavy cream

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups cake flour, spooned and leveled
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (not lowfat)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Begin by making the chocolate truffles. Combine the chocolate and the cream in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring well after each, until the mixture is smooth. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to set until firm, several hours or overnight. If you're impatient like me, you can speed things up by throwing the bowl in the freezer until set.

When the ganache is firm, use a small scoop (I like a melon baller) to scoop truffles about 1 inch in diameter. Place the truffles on a small parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze again until firm, about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.

Sift the flour with the salt and baking soda into a medium bowl.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and beat in the eggs one and a time. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and stir in the sour cream and vanilla on low speed. Add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time on low speed until the batter is smooth.

Pour the half the batter into the prepared pan. Drop half the truffles willy-nilly about the surface of the batter, pressing them lightly into the batter, but not submerging them completely. Repeat with the second half of the batter and truffles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (melty chocolate notwithstanding), about 70-80 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan on a wire rack before using the parchment sleeve to remove the cake from the pan and allowing it to cool completely.

Chocolate, CakeShauna Sever