Not all chocolate cravings are created equal. Some call for a piece or two of dark chocolate, while others might need a big bite of white chocolate to be satisfied. Some aren’t satisfied by real chocolate at all and need to be treated with a slice of chocolate cake. For me, the answer to this kind of craving is an easy to make chocolate loaf cake. It takes only a couple of minutes to put together and needs no frosting, so you only have to wait for the cake to bake and cool (at least somewhat!) before indulging.
This cake was inspired by a recipe I’ve made many times before, a marbled chocolate bundt cake. That recipe is one featured in Alice Medrich’s excellent cookbook, Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts. Tasting that cake, you would never know that it is lower in fat than your average pound cake, and so I took some ideas from that recipe to come up with this one. For instance, I used yogurt to add moisture and tenderness to the cake, and opted for cocoa powder to give the cake its chocolate flavor, rather than higher fat chocolate. While my finished product isn’t too low in fat, it’s still reasonable enough that two slices can be eaten without guilt – and it tastes delicious.
It looks like a pound cake, but has a soft and fluffy texture, with a very fine and tender crumb. It is moist in the way that you expect a good sheet cake to be, but not in the same “wet” way as a carrot cake often is. I’ve had some yogurt-based cakes that do seem wet and dense, and this cake is neither. The cake has a very deep chocolate flavor, with a perfect balance between sweetness and bitterness (from the cocoa powder). Loaf-style cakes aren’t usually served with frosting, and fortunately this cake has enough presence on its own that it doesn’t need any. I like this cake plain, but if you really want even more chocolate, stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips before baking.
As usual, I used a thick low fat Greek-style yogurt. You’ll get the best results by using a low fat or full fat yogurt, rather than nonfat, just because the extra fat will contribute to the tenderness of the cake. This isn’t to say that nonfat won’t work (it will), just that your results may be slightly different and you should take a bit more care not to overbake the cake. If you don’t have yogurt, use sour cream instead because it has a very similar flavor and consistency. Regular yogurt can be used if you don’t have Greek-style yogurt and the results should turn out just fine.
Chocolate Yogurt Loaf Cake
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt (low fat is fine)
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until the mixture is fluffy and resembles wet sand. Beat in egg and egg white. Mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture.
In a small bowl, whisk together water, cocoa powder, vanilla and yogurt until mixture is smooth. Add half of this mixture to the sugar mixture, followed by another 1/3 of the flour mixture. Stir in remaining yogurt and remaining flour, stirring only until no streaks of flour remain.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cake cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully cut along the sides of the pan to release the cake and turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.