Three-Layer Pound Cake

Prep Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 55 mins
8 to 10 Serves

One slice in, and this tiered pound cake proves it's anything but vanilla. A rich chocolate base, lighter cocoa center, and buttery top make it far more gratifying than the mere sum of its parts.


  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces, plus more for pan

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature, whisked

  • cup whole milk, room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. In another bowl, beat together sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt on low speed. Continue beating while adding butter until mixture is crumbly. Add half of milk mixture; beat on medium-high until fluffy, 1 minute. Add remaining milk mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

  2. In another large bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons cocoa into chocolate. Stir in 1 1/2 cups batter. Spoon into prepared pan, smoothing top with a small offset spatula. Whisk remaining 1 tablespoon cocoa into another 1 1/2 cups batter in bowl; spoon over dark-chocolate layer and smooth top. Spoon in remaining batter; smooth top.

  3. Bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour, 30 minutes (if top is browning too quickly, tent with foil). Let cool in pan 15 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours.

    three layer marble pound cake on platter
    Sidney Bensimon

Cook's Notes

It's delicious the day of -- or wrap slices individually in plastic and freeze in bags for up to three months.

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