Is anybody else low-key obsessed with The World's Most Extraordinary Homes on Netflix? I started watching it with my mom when she was in town last spring (right before we left for our Istanbul trip!) and I'm still hooked. They feature beautiful homes across the world, all with unique features and designs. There was the home in the first season that was made with spare plane parts, another in Portugal that was built around existing trees, and I just finished an episode that featured a Norwegian house that literally sat on a small rock in a fjord and is only accessible by boat. To quote Caroline, one of the show's hosts: corrrrr.
To be honest, the homes that appeal to me the most are the ones that look simple and unassuming from the outside, and only show how beautiful and grand they are once you step inside. Like this loaf cake! It looks just like any boring old pound cake from the outside. Good, sure—most loaf cakes are often flavorful and moist—but kinda boring? But never judge a book by its cover! Slicing into it reveals three layers of cake all in one simple loaf. It's almost like magic.
The best part about the recipe is that it uses the same base loaf cake recipe for all three layers: to get the chocolate layers, you simply mix varying amounts of chocolate and cocoa powder in them to get the different colors of ombre brown. But to be honest, the same thing that makes this recipe easy and awesome is also what handicaps it — I didn't think there was much difference in taste between the two chocolate layers. It tasted more like a regular marbled chocolate and vanilla loaf to me, rather than a triple-flavored one? But honestly, that's a relatively minor flaw, so you can probably just ignore me and make it anyway. And I've already got ideas for other, more distinctive three layer pound cakes in the future (because you know that's how I roll). Enjoy!
Some baker's notes:
- I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but it's actually a Martha Stewart recipe that I've had bookmarked for ages. The only changes I made were to make it in a 8 x 4-inch loaf pan (she uses a 9 x 5-inch pan, but I think it domes better in a smaller pan) and to use a measuring scale to divide out the batter in three equal parts. You can use the volume measurements provided in the original recipe (it tells you to divide the batter into three 1 1/2 cup portions), but according to this blog that doesn't create even layers so I just used my measuring scale to weigh out the batter and divide it evenly instead (my recipe below has the weight measurements to do exactly this). If you're a baker and you don't have a scale, it really is worth getting one!
- Because you're essentially making three batters, if you're not paying attention, you'll find that you accidentally used all the bowls up in your kitchen (REAL LIFE: IT HAPPENED TO ME). The best way to minimize the mess and ONLY use three bowls is this:
- BOWL 1: Measure out all the dry ingredients into a bowl big enough to use to make the batter (so, your mixer bowl if using a stand mixer).
- BOWL 2: Measure out all the chopped chocolate into a bowl big enough to hold about 1 1/2 cups of batter comfortably (ie, with enough space so that you can mix batter without it spilling over the sides). I used a 1 1/2-quart Pyrex glass bowl from this set.
- BOWL 3: Reserve a final bowl around the size of the chocolate bowl. I used a 1 1/2-quart Pyrex glass bowl from this set (I own two of this set like a crazy person — in a pinch, you can probably get away with using the smaller 1 quart size in the set).