This rich and moist chocolate loaf cake is the perfect size for a family dessert. Easy to prepare and bake, it requires basic pantry and fridge staples and can be baked beforehand but glazed right before serving. Both the cake and the chocolate glaze are made with cocoa powder. The resulting cake has a dense and brownie-like texture, with a deep chocolate flavour. The recipe includes instructions to make a glaze or to make a thicker frosting, depending on your liking.
Serve it with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. Use it as the base of fun and different trifle, cut it in chunks for a decadent sundae, or simply enjoy it with a cup of coffee or tea. Alternatively, use our loaf recipe to make muffins.
For the best results, let your refrigerated ingredients get to room temperature first and don’t overmix the batter.
For the Chocolate Loaf Cake:
1 1/2 cups sugar (white granulated)
1/2 cup butter (softened)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
For Chocolate Glaze:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/4 cup milk
Steps to Make It
Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dessert is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.
Gather the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas Mark 4). Grease and flour a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan or spray with a baking spray that includes flour.
Beat sugar and butter together until well blended.
With the mixer on low speed, add the salt, vanilla extract, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa powder. Mix until blended.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add about 1/3 of the flour and 1/2 of the milk and mix on low speed until combined.
Add another 1/3 of the flour and the remaining milk and mix thoroughly.
Add the remaining flour and combine all ingredients, being careful not to overbeat the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly.
Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for about 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a rack.
Make the Chocolate Glaze
Gather the ingredients.
Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a bowl and set aside.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
Whisk in the cocoa powder and milk and continue cooking and stirring until thickened.
Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar. Thin out with more milk, if needed, or add more confectioners’ sugar if a thicker icing is desired.
Glaze the cake with the chocolate glaze, or frost, as desired.
What Is the Difference Between a Cake and a Loaf?
Although made with similar ingredients, cakes and loaves aren’t the same. Here are some of the main differences:
- How they are shaped: Loaves are baked in a loaf tin, whereas cakes can take many shapes depending on the tin in which they’re baked.
- How they are mixed: Loaves’ ingredients are mixed separately, dried and wet, and then mixed together. Cakes’ ingredients are also mixed separately, but usually, the sugar and butter are creamed before adding other items. There is also a lot of care put into mixing the ingredients of cake to make an airy batter that results in a lighter texture. Conversely, loaves tend to be denser.
- How ingredients are used: Many of the basic loaf and cake ingredients are alike (flour, eggs, butter) but are used in different proportions even if the loaf can result in the same amount of servings as the equivalent cake. Loaves usually have additions like dried fruit, nuts, chopped-up fruit, or seeds.
On a side note, loaves and pound cakes are not the same—true pound cakes only use eggs, flour, and butter—just as pound cakes and cakes are not alike. Cakes use additional ingredients like milk and oil.
How to Store Chocolate Loaf
- Once the glaze is firm, cover the cake with foil or plastic wrap. Store leftovers at room temperature for up to three to four days or refrigerate for up to one week. The unfrosted cake may be wrapped and frozen for up to six months, and then thawed overnight before consuming.
Check Your Temperature
- Oven temperatures can vary, and many run hot—even as much as 50 F over the programmed temperature. An oven thermometer is a worthy investment if you bake frequently because you can adjust the temperature and avoid overbaked and dry food.
- If you don’t have an oven thermometer, bake this cake for about 5 minutes less than the recommended time. Check it with a toothpick and bake it longer if needed.