Monday, March 22, 2010

B's Birthday: Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

It seems to be a big birthday time! We celebrated my mom’s birthday over the weekend, my maternal grandmother’s birthday is this week, my friend Sunny’s son just had his second birthday and she is anticipating the birth of her twins. By the way, I ‘d like to give a huge round of applause to her for handling bedrest like a champion and making it to 36 weeks!

Last week was my colleague, “B”’s birthday. She and I began working together in September and became fast friends. It’s been a rough time at work for both of us, and to complicate things further she is now hobbling around on crutches with a broken leg! She was in definite need of a chocolately birthday treat!

I made Chocolate-Chip Pound Cake to bring in to work on her special day. This pound cake comes together easily, and gives you chocolate cake that is filled with chocolate chips and topped with chocolate sauce. A chocolate trifecta! You can dip the bread in the chocolate sauce, but I like to pour it over the top and allow it to harden for a few minutes in the refrigerator. Oh, and this makes two cakes! Eat one and put one in the freezer, because it freezes really well!

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
(From Giada's Kitchen)
5 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup water
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 ¼ cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips

For Homemade Chocolate Sauce:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9x5-inch loaf pans.

In a small saucepan, combine the unsweetened chocolate and 1 cup water. Place over medium-low heat and stir constantly until the chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool for 2 minutes, then whisk in the mascarpone until the mixture is smooth.

Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl for 30 seconds. Stir in the chocolate-mascarpone mixture. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of each loaf comes out with no crumbs attached. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. (If you plan to freeze the cakes, wrap them well in aluminum foil once they are completely cool.)

To make the sauce:
Place the chocolate chips in a small heat-proof bowl. Combine the heavy cream and vanilla extract in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until small bubbles appear at the edges of the pan. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate chips. Stir with a fork until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the pound cakes and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes to set the chocolate sauce. Return to room temperature before serving.