Dorie made me do it.

Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours cookbook. Sharing a decadent Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours cookbook.

I want to be a baker.

And not even a professional baker. Just a confident baker at home doing her thing. Right now I’m kinda so-so.

Yesterday I was talking with a sweet blogger friend and expressed my desire to be a better baker. She tried to reassure me that it was no biggy and that there are so many other things to cook. She’s right. And I do cook a wide variety of things that I don’t think twice about whipping up, but when it comes to baking I tense up.

I have to have everything just so. Clean. Organized. Solitude for no interruptions. I get a little anxious. It’s crazy really. It’s just butter, flour, sugar and other simple ingredients but there’s something about the exactness of it all that makes me clinch my butt cheeks a little too much.

There’s no rushing when baking either. It takes a certain amount of time. There’s usually no budging involved. The funny thing is that I was a chemistry major for a short period.

Very short.

Minute even.

But still, measuring, mixing and adding heat shouldn’t throw me. Maybe I need a Bunsen burner to work with.

Anyway, to combat my short-comings with baking, I recently purchased Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. No messing around here folks. I’ve got a can do attitude and that, along with tight cheeks, can work magic.

I’ve enjoyed drooling my way through the cookbook. Dorie makes it sound so simple, so common – of course, for her, it is. But when I saw her description for the Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake, “…it looks fussed over and yet it takes no more time, effort or talent to make than a batch of brownies,” I knew she was talking to me.

Plus there was no picture, which usually bothers me, but I figured no pressure to measure up to some gorgeous photograph. Perfect.

Chocolate Loaf Cake This cake was just as Dorie said it would be, simple ingredients and quick to put together, with yummy results. And, I know it’s trite, but if I can do it you can do it. The cake is a dense, rich, dark chocolaty, yummy goodness with subtle ribbons of sweet raspberry flavor running through it. It’s ut into three layers which are spread with raspberry or cherry jam or preserves. I used raspberry this time around. Then the giant sandwich is frosted with a dark chocolate, sour cream frosting. Sour cream, which is used in both the batter and the frosting, gives the cake a special sumpn,’ sumpn.’

The cake is fairly basic. Start by sifting all dry ingredients together. I like to use Hershey’s Dark Cocoa Powder, and used it with this cake as well. It was perfect.

In a separate bowl beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy, then, one at a time, add the eggs followed by the sour cream. Next gradually add dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix.

That is one thing I’ve learned so far, to not overmix batters, or you’ll end up with a tough cake – which is fine if you’re in the market for a door stop.

After mixing in all dry ingredients, pour batter into a greased and floured loaf pan and bake. When baking is finished and cake has cooled, the fun begins. The plan is to cut the cake into three layers length wise.

Chocolate Loaf Cake The layers I cut weren’t perfect by any means, but once frosted who will know? Basically the top becomes the bottom and vice versa. Place the bottom layer (which is really the top) on the bottom, cut side facing up, and spread half of the jam/preserves over the layer. Jiggy? (Take note that my cake was not overmixed – hardly. Swirls of butter and sugar were showing but it didn’t matter to me – it was yummy.)

Add next layer and repeat with remaining jam/preserves. Now you’ve got a three layer giant chocolate sandwich.

The frosting is made by melting the chopped chocolate over a hot water bath.

Stir until smooth. Add the sour cream and stir again until smooth and shiny.

Frost the top and sides of cake however you like.

Yummilicious Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours cookbook. I went for a smooth and sleek finish because that’s how I roll.

Chocolate Cake

A chocolate sauce, ice cream or whipped cream would be a great topper finish for this cake. But, most certainly, a tall glass of cold milk is a must have with this deliciousness.

Yummilicious Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours cookbook. I usually post the full recipe here when trying out a new recipe, but this time, I’m not. I know, bummer. Dorie can’t be duplicated, adapted or improved upon. Go buy her book or borrow it from your local library. Again, it’s called Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

It’s a sweet treat to behold. A real page turner.

So tell me, have you stumbled upon any new cookbooks that you’d recommend?

Or how about any good baking tips you can pass along?

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  1. 2

    cbp says

    Yummm! Are you still up and did you just pull that out of the oven? I can’t think of a better midnight snack. A small sliver of Dorie’s loaf cake and a tall cold glass of Happy Cow milk to go along with it! Just give me a call and I’ll bring the milk ;)

  2. 5


    Congratulations! The cake looks terrific and I’m thrilled that it’s gotten you started baking. Keep at it and enjoy — Dorie

  3. 6

    Betty says

    It looks so good I wanting to bite my computer screen. The first photo is wonderful. The rasberries look alive. I know that sounds stupid, but they do. (It must be the “tight cheek” thing that helps you hold the camera so still.)

  4. 9


    The cake looks great. My tip? If the recipe doesn’t work, it’s probably the recipe…not you!

  5. 10


    WOW. Wow. Wow!! This looks AMAZING. I am SO impressed and again… am blown away by your photography!!! Just stunning. THIS should be in a cookbook!!

    Just beautiful!!


  6. 11


    I LOVE to bake. I don’t have a ton of time to do it, and if I have baked goods in the house I can not be trusted, so I don’t do a lot of it. But I LOVE it. I am certain that once you get in the baking grove and learn it’s little tricks (over mixing being one of them – and sifting your flour!)you’ll find its much like throwing together dinner with whatever you find stashed in cupboards.
    Cake looks divine – I’ll have to get my hands on the cookbook – and I’ll recommend anything by Gale Gand, she is a fantastic pastry chef indeed!

  7. 12


    congrats on that beautiful cake!!!

    The book that got me baking was this same book, her variations offered with the recipes are the best….love this book! I have had only success with her recipes! I love her lemon tart with whole lemons and Chocolate Malted Whopper Drop cookiesare my favorite!!!!

    Enjoy and I cannot wait to see what you bake next!

  8. 13


    I think the cakes looks perfect and that sounds fantastic. I didn’t know Hersheys had a dark cocoa.

    I like baking because they tell me exactly what to do. Sometimes I like to be told what to do. Sometimes.

    I will totally make this.

  9. 14


    YUMMY! I love that cookbook, but I haven’t made too many things out of it because it all looks so good I can never decide. Don’t talk on the phone when you’re baking. Yesterday I almost forgot the sugar in the banana muffins because the phone kept ringing. :)

  10. 15


    Saw the cake on foodgawer. For not being a ‘baker’ you sure blew this one out of the water! I just bookmarked it and will be making it soon! Thanks for the inspiration.

  11. 17


    my compliments to the chef–this looks OUTSTANDING. so dense yet fluffy, rich yet completely irresistible.
    incidentally, i was a chemistry major as well…for four years. has my degree been useful? yes, and mostly in the kitchen. :)
    oh, and i also hate when there are no accompanying pictures with a recipe. so annoying!

  12. 18

    The Purple Foodie says

    Your photos are drool worthy! I often dismiss recipes without photos.. I just need to see what it looks like.. Not that you’ve put this image in my head, I’m going to go back and make it when I find some raspberries.

  13. 19

    nickki says

    Absolutely gorgeous! I am a big fan of Dorie and this book. I have never made this cake but judging by your wonderful pictures I am going to have to go and read the recipe right now!

  14. 20


    Dorie’s book is AMAZING. And gosh. I seriously can’t decide whether to make this or a flourless chocolate cake for Valentine’s Day. Your awesome photography isn’t helping my decision!

  15. 21


    You are most definitely a baker – I am envious of your smooth-as-silk icing skills. This cake looks decadent, rich – divine!

  16. 24

    Veronica M. says

    Well, I’d say you’re a fantastic baker! Just look at that beautiful, moist cake! I can almost taste it.

    A note on the “not overmixing batters.” This does apply to muffins but not to cakes. Actually, the opposite is true for cakes. The batter should be beaten a few minutes to get the right structure (learned this in The Cake Bible). I don’t make a lot of scratch cakes, but those I have made require several minutes of mixing time once all the ingredients are in the bowl. And if you read the back of a cake mix box, they all have you beating your cake mix for two minutes. So there’s no need to fear overmixing a cake batter.

    Good luck and have fun with your future baking adventures! It looks like it’s gonna be a bright one–your baking future, that is!

  17. 25

    Ashley@ Just Another Mom of 2 says

    Oh my goodness, this looks like heaven!! I am going to have to give this a try, I have been trying to improve my baking skills lately. I am drooling over this.. yum..

  18. 26


    Chocolate and raspberries are my two favorites things. There’s just something about the tart raspberries and sweet chocolate that makes me crazy. Yum!

  19. 27


    Wow, you did such a beautiful job! I just made brownies out of a box last night and am pretty proud about that, lol. Maybe one day I can graduate to something like this…

  20. 32


    Hi Amy – just found your site for the first time via Tasty Kitchen. Your blog is beautiful! And your cake looks like it turned out great. I’ve had Dorie’s book on my wish list for a while now… really need to go buy it.

  21. 34


    Isn’t Dorie the best – I swear by her book. It really is the only baking book one needs! In another breathe, I want Lenny to make this for my birthday – can you come teach him!

  22. 36

    Janene says

    Your cake looks fab!

    I love to cook, but also love to bake. I particularly love making yeast breads, scones, etc.

    I would highly recommend buying The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook. It’s a primer that covers a wide array of baking. Lots of great information about technique, ingredients, etc. It’s all presented in a common-sense way, not overwhelming at all.

  23. 37

    nikki says

    A great tip I learned from Ina Garten is to add a little espresso powder to chocolate recipes to give it that extra deep chocolate flavor. It actually works.

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