In the first few days of the year I took my good intentions to Fairway and bought millet, quinoa, kasha, and wheatberries. Forsaking easy and delicious white rice and white bread, I was finally going to start eating more whole grains. Quinoa and wheatberries I love; kasha I like when it’s properly cooked, which is not always in my kitchen; and millet—well, I’ve only tried it once so far, and it wasn’t love at first bite. But I had decided to do this thing, and I moved the new sides into the rotation, where they were greeted as a sneaky punishment.
Two Fridays ago, Andrew came home from work and asked, “What’s for dinner?” “Sweet potatoes, broccoli, and millet, or we can go out.” We went out for hamburgers.
Last Friday, Andrew came home from work and asked, “What’s for dinner?” “Chard and kasha with mushrooms, or we can go out.” Convinced now that whole grains were just my way of forcing him to take me out to dinner, Andrew braved the kasha and chard but demanded a treat in return. How could I say no?
Chocolate Bread (Chocolate Pound Cake)
I don’t make pound cake very often because I love it not wisely but too well. I feel as if I am increasing the sum total of delight in the universe every time I enjoy a slice, and how can I resist that? This is Rose Levy Beranbaum’s recipe from The Cake Bible, which I have had since I was a little girl. Then I preferred Sara Lee pound cake to homemade, but I’ve come a long way in the last decade or two! Though I had to make a few adjustments according to what I had on hand, this turned out to be a lovely cake, incredibly tender, light but also good and chocolatey; Andrew said it was like a grown-up chocolate cake. We took it down in 48 hours.
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together until smooth 3 tablespoons boiling water and 3 tablespoons plus 1.5 teaspoons (.75 ounces) unsweetened cocoa. (She calls for Dutch-processed, but I had on hand only non-Dutched, and it was fine.) Allow to cool to room temp and then whisk in 1.5 teaspoons vanilla and 3 large eggs.
Combine in a large mixing bowl 1.25 cups (4.5 ounces) cake flour, .75 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 ounces) sugar, .75 teaspoon baking powder, and .25 teaspoon salt. (If you don’t have cake flour, measure the same amount of all purpose flour but replace 2 tablespoons of it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.) Mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend everything evenly. Add half of the chocolate mixture and 13 tablespoons of softened butter and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. (I only had 10 tbs butter, so I added all of that plus 3 tbs vegetable oil, and the cake was still delightful.) Then beat on medium (in a stand mixer) or high (with a handheld mixer) for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and add the rest of the chocolate-egg mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.
Grease and flour a loaf pan; line the bottom with parchment paper and grease and flour that, too, for best results. You’re supposed to use an 8x4 inch loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, but my loaf pan is 10x5. I just began checking for doneness at 30 minutes, and I think I took it out at about 40. (Every time I think I have mastered the skill of just figuring out when a cake is done, I have some mishap—overdone or raw in the middle—but this time I lucked out, and it was perfect. I took the cake out when a piece of spaghetti plunged into its heart came out looking wet but not chocolatey.) Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.