Chocolate Loaf Cake

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Yield: 12 to 18 servings

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Loaf cakes are in many ways the building blocks of great desserts. With a close-grained slice of loaf cake as a starting point, you can create a delicious sundae, a beautiful trifle, or simply enjoy it with a cup of coffee or tea. This rich chocolate loaf cake makes a great snack with a little bit of peanut butter on top.

Chocolate Loaf Cake

star rating (26) rate this recipe
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 12 to 18 servings
Published: 02/04/2011



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Note: As of 02/12/13, the following adjustments have been made to this recipe: the baking temperature has been increased from 325F to 350F, and the baking time reduced from 75 to 80 minutes to 60 to 70 minutes. We feel this yields a slightly moister cake.

1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a loaf pan: either 9" x 5", or 8 1/2" x 4 1/2". The smaller pan will yield a higher-crowned loaf.

2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa, and Cake Enhancer to make a sandy, somewhat clumpy mixture. Don't worry; the eggs will smooth things out.

3) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl midway through this process.

4) Add half the flour to the bowl, beating at low speed to combine.

5) Add all of the milk, beating at low speed to combine.

6) Add the remaining flour, beating gently just until the batter is smooth.

7) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

8) Bake the cake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The top may look a tiny bit damp; that's OK. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the center will register about 205F, while just under the top will register about 195F.

9) Remove the cake from the oven, loosen the edges, wait 10 minutes, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

10) Store completely cooled cake well wrapped, at room temperature.

Yield: 12 to 18 servings.


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  • star rating 09/22/2014
  • JT from Washington State
  • This was an easy recipe to make. The results are good and simple. I would call this a very "homey" cake. This cake makes me think of something that a postwar housewife would make when company drops by unexpectedly. If you're looking for something elaborate you may be disappointed with this. Although I imagine that it is good with freshly whipped cream and fresh berries. But sometimes life just calls for something comforting.
  • star rating 02/14/2014
  • W. Graham from Dayton, OH
  • I made this today as a Valentine's gift to my daughter and her husband. Not bad for an old guy. lol. It came out wonderful. Now this is one recipe, I will not let get away.
  • star rating 01/15/2014
  • Keeley from Newark, DE
  • This cake was so easy to prepare and the batter tasted amazing... and then I baked it. It was okay. Definitely edible, but not as good as I expected. I baked it in an Emile Henry loaf pan (I believe it's ceramic and 9" by 5"). Maybe that's where i went wrong. It took 90 minutes for it to bake through and unfortunately the top got a little too brown and crumbly. In addition, it cracked horribly. We didn't mind it and it did get eaten, but the texture was a bit drier than I expected and dense, but not in a good way. It was edible, but I'm going to try some other recipes on your site to find a better one for me. Maybe I should have baked at a lower temperature? I have no idea, but I'll keep working through your recipes. You have an awesome site!
    Glass and ceramic pans do tend to bake faster than metal. Try reducing the oven temperature by 25F when using that pan, to avoid that drying out of the cake. ~ MJ
  • star rating 01/12/2014
  • tbva from KAF Community
  • I made this yesterday using the smaller loaf pan so it would dome. I am kinda disappointed in the cake. The method was interesting and the result was ok but..just ok. The crumb is nice but the crust is pretty tough, much tougher than my other pound cake type recipes. The batter started to climb the sides of the pan before it crowned so it's not pretty. The top cracked too. It would be good as the cake portion of ice cream cake after cutting off the crusts. Cassata style. It was interesting to make but I don't think I will make it again.
  • star rating 12/29/2013
  • C. S. from Southwest Florida
  • This is an excellent recipe. I made this today and turned out great, even with some substitutions. I only used 1 teaspoon of vanilla instead of the 2 called for. Since it is a chocolate loaf thought that was a bit too much vanilla. I omitted the espresso powder and the Cake Enhancer. I also cut the salt from 3/4 teaspoon to only 1/2 teaspoon. I only had salted butter on hand and the recipe did not specify if to use unsalted or not. Figured I would go the safe route and use a little less. Instead of the 3/4 cup of milk I used only 1/4 cup of the milk and subbed the rest (the remaining 1/2 cup liquid) with Cherry Brandy that I was given by a friend My friend loved my eggnog loaf with rum so much at Christmas that I thought I would make the King Arthur Chocolate Loaf with the cherry brandy for him as a thank you. I made the recipe in 4 mini loaf pans and baked at 350 for 35 minutes each. I could of filled the loafs a little fuller, they only rose just to the top of the pan. Next time I will only use 3 loaf pans and fill each a little more to get a nice crown. I also did a simple glaze for the top of the loaf and drizzled over the loaves when cool: I cup powdered sugar 2 teaspoons milk 2 tablespoons Cherry Brandy Mix well and drizzle over top of cooled loaf. Fabulous recipe and turned out great! Cant wait to try it again with some Grand Marnier or orange liqueur.
    We like to use unsalted butter in recipes so the baker can control the amount of salt. Thanks for sharing your variation of this recipe - we're drooling in Vermont! Happy baking - Irene@KAF
  • star rating 08/29/2013
  • Alicia from Columbus, OH
  • I have made this several times now (it is always delicious) and always bake it in the 9x5 pan. However, this time I made it in the smaller pan size listed. The cake looked gorgeous until about 20 minutes into the baking time when the top started to crack and crack so badly that I will have to frost it. I've never had this problem before-any suggestions on what I did wrong? I followed the recipe exactly.
  • star rating 04/21/2013
  • Dee Dee from Southern California
  • Wow! I use this recipe when I want something a little less heavy than the double-chocolate loaf from The Baking Sheet (still my favorite). I didn't have espresso power so I added a couple of tablespoons of cold strong coffee and a couple teaspoons of cinnamon, which really added to the flavor. Baked beautifully in my KAF loaf pan. Definitely a keeper!
  • star rating 04/13/2013
  • Arielle from Montana
  • Very easy, and delicious! I was surprised at how quickly making the batter went, especially since I don't have a mixer.
  • star rating 03/20/2013
  • lisa from Prov, UT
  • First let me say what I love about KAF is that I know the recipes will work and will not let me down and this recipe was no exception- it was great! I had another recipe for a chocolate loaf that I wanted to try also. So I did both recipes (my family makes fun of me- they call my kitchen- "Mom's Test Kitchen"). The KAF recipe had a beautiful slightly domed appearance and the texture of the loaf was perfect. It was chocolately but not overwhelming so. The "other" recipe did not rise well, looked weird and severely caved in as it cooled! Thank you, thank you KAF!
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