If you love banana bread or pumpkin bread, you'll really love this chocolate bread! This subtlety sweet chocolate loaf is one of my favorite breakfast treats!
So is this bread or cake? Well it's kind of both. This chocolate bread is a quick bread similar to banana bread or muffins and it's less sweet than a typical chocolate cake. But when baked in a bundt pan, it's more like a pretty chocolate loaf cake! But whatever you call it, this chocolate bread is moist, rich and perfect with morning coffee or as a dessert!
You just need a few pantry staples to make this easy chocolate bread!
- Cake flour - I always use cake flour in my baked goods because it makes them super soft and tender, but all purpose flour also works great!
- Vegetable oil and butter - This recipe calls for both vegetable oil AND melted butter! The butter adds rich flavor and the oil keeps the chocolate bread extra moist! For the oil, you want to use a neutral oil like vegetable oil, canola oil, or a light olive oil.
- Cocoa powder - My absolute favorite cocoa powder to use in my baking is the King Arthur Flour Triple Cocoa Blend! It's a blend of natural, Dutch, and black cocoa and is perfect for any baking. But you can easily substitute Dutch-processed cocoa instead! If you want to use natural cocoa, see the notes below.
- Espresso powder - This is optional, but I love how espresso powder enhances and deepens the chocolate flavor! King Arthur is my favorite brand of high quality espresso powder!
- Chocolate chips - These are optional, but I just love those extra bites of melty chocolate! If you like dark chocolate, I highly recommend the Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate baking chips. The flavor is amazing and the baking chips are slightly larger and flatter than normal chocolate chips and melt beautifully inside your chocolate loaf cake.
dutch-processed cocoa powder vs. natural cocoa powder
Natural and Dutch-processed cocoa have different levels of acidity due to how they are processed. And as such, are different in terms of whether you should use baking powder or baking soda to leaven the cake. This is a great article from King Arthur Baking that breaks everything down in more detail!
This cake calls for either Dutch-processed cocoa powder or a cocoa blend (mostly Dutch) and mostly baking powder. So if you want to use natural cocoa powder instead, you need to adjust the leavening agent.
To use natural cocoa in this cake: Replace the listed measurements of baking powder and baking soda, with ½ teaspoon baking powder + ½ teaspoon baking soda.
How to Make Chocolate Bread
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Whisk the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter, vegetable oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until combined.
Then add in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
Stir in about half of the flour mixture.
Then stir in the milk and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until fully combined. The batter will be thin.
Gently fold in the chocolate chips if desired.
Prepare your bundt loaf pan by spraying thoroughly with a vegetable oil based pan spray.
Then pour in the batter and smooth into an even layer. [See notes on using a regular loaf pan.]
Bake at 350°F for 40-55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted near the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let the cake rest in the pan for 1-2 minutes.
Place a cooling rack on top of the bundt pan and turn over. It should fall right out but if it doesn’t let it sit for a couple minutes and then tap the top of the pan to gently coax it out of the pan.
Let cool on a wire rack, then lightly dust with powdered sugar!
Optional Mix-ins & Toppings
If using this pretty loaf bundt pan, this cake needs no other decoration to look beautiful! But you can easily dress it up!
If desired, you can top the chocolate bread with chocolate ganache (use the recipe from my chocolate layer cake) for more of a dessert cake vs quick bread.
You could also mix in chopped nuts like hazelnuts or pecans (use about ½ cup), or top the cake with fresh raspberries or strawberries.
If using a loaf bundt pan, make sure you use a high quality non-stick pan to increase your odds of the cake sliding cleanly out of the pan! I only use Nordic Ware bundt pans because they’re extremely well made and won’t break the bank. You can also find them on sale all the time!
You also want to use a good pan spray! I love Everbake Pan Spray or Baker's Joy, but any vegetable oil spray will work. You do not want to use butter though as the milk solids can solidify during baking and cause your cake to stick in some of the smaller crevices.
Use Regular Loaf Pan
Cut a parchment paper sling slightly smaller than the width of the loaf pan and make sure it fits flatly in the bottom. Then lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with a vegetable oil based spray. Place you parchment paper sling in the bottom of the pan and smooth it out so that it sticks to the pan spray. You can also use solid metal binder clips to hold the parchment in place.
Make Chocolate Muffins
You can easily make this chocolate bread into muffins! Simply line a muffin pan with muffin liners, and reduce the baking time to 25-30 minutes! This recipe will make about 12 chocolate muffins!
Tips for the Best Baked Goods
Use room temperature ingredients! Always make sure ingredients like butter, eggs, milk, yogurt, etc. are at room temperature before baking (unless the recipe indicates otherwise)! This ensures they'll incorporate into the batter more easily and leads to overall better texture. Remove all ingredients from the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before baking for best results.
Measure your flour correctly! It's most accurate to use a kitchen scale, but if you're measuring by volume you want to spoon and level! Fluff up the flour a bit with a spoon, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Once it's overflowing, use the back of a knife to level it off. Don't ever pack flour into the measuring cup or you'll end up with way too much! Improperly measured flour can lead to dry, dense baked goods. [Measure cocoa powder the same way!]
Use an oven thermometer! Just because your oven says it's 350, doesn't mean it is! If you oven hasn't been calibrated recently, it can be as much as 30 degrees off, which will negatively affect all baked goods from cakes to macarons! An oven thermometer is the easiest/cheapest way to ensure your oven is always at the proper temperature.
Make sure you baking powder is fresh! Baking powder is important for helping baked goods rise properly, but it has a relatively short shelf life once opened, so it's one of the few items I never buy in bulk! To test if your baking powder is still fresh, add a small amount to boiling water. If it bubbles it's still good to use, but if not it's time to toss it!
Wrap the chocolate bread in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Yes! It's best to slice it up and wrap each slice individually. Then store in the freezer for up to 2 months.
This can happen for a few reasons. The pan you're using and the nonstick spray are usually the biggest culprits! See the above notes on what I recommend!
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like!
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Chocolate Bread (Chocolate Loaf Cake)
- 1 ½ cups cake flour, substitute all purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder, optional
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup chocolate chips, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Whisk the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter, vegetable oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until combined.
- Then add in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
- Stir in about half of the flour mixture.
- Then stir in the milk and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until fully combined. The batter will be thin.
- Gently fold in the chocolate chips if desired.
- Prepare your bundt loaf pan by spraying thoroughly with a vegetable oil based pan spray. Then pour in the batter and smooth into an even layer. [See notes on using a regular loaf pan.]
- Bake at 350°F for 40-55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted near the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let the cake rest in the pan for 1-2 minutes.
- Place a cooling rack on top of the bundt pan and turn over. It should fall right out but if it doesn’t let it sit it for a couple minutes and then tap the top of the pan to gently coax it out of the pan.
- Let cool on a wire rack, then lightly dust with powdered sugar!
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.