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Chocolate chip spice pound cake recipe, for Julia Child's birthday

Chocolate chip spice pound cake, for Julia Child's birthday, from The Perfect Pantry.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking changed the way the world cooked. A more recent collection of recipes, Julia Child & Company, the companion to her 1978 PBS television series, changed the way I cook. In this book, Julia presented French-inspired recipes for American-style entertaining. From coulibiac to corned beef hash, to a chicken melon ball that nearly defeated my husband Ted and me on a weekend cooking date many years ago, Julia encouraged us to try new menus for all occasions.

For this occasion, a celebration of her 100th birthday on August 15, I wanted to bake a cake. Not a fancy French gateau, just a simple cake, and Julia herself came to the rescue with a recipe in JC&Co for a chocolate chip spice pound cake, flavored with mace and vanilla, and made with a combination of white and brown sugars. The first time my friends Bev, Christine and I made this cake, we followed Julia's instructions to the letter. When I made it again, I combined Julia's flavorings with the recipe for Lorna's sour cream cake, and I liked the result even better than the original. Here's my version, an homage to Julia, right down to the plating in my photographs, as you can see on page 212 in the book. Bon anniversaire, Julia. (Be sure to check the PBS Julia Child page for more blogger tributes.)

Chocolate chip spice pound cake, from The Perfect Pantry.

Chocolate chip spice pound cake

From the pantry, you'll need: butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, pure vanilla extract, all-purpose unbleached flour, baking powder, baking soda, sour cream, baking spray.

Recipe inspired by Julia Child & Company, and adapted from this recipe for sour cream cake. Serves 8-10.


2 cups + 1 tsp all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground mace
1/4 lb (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, roughly chopped
Baking spray


Preheat oven to 350°F. (Note: if using a ceramic pan, do not preheat the oven.) Spray the inside of a small (5-cup) Bundt pan or loaf pan with baking spray, place it on a baking sheet, and set aside. A tip Lorna shared: if you're using a Bundt pan, roll a small piece of parchment paper, an inch or so taller than the pan; place the pan on a sheet pan, and insert the parchment paper in the hole. If the cake rises above the top of the pan, it won't slide down in the center.

In a mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups of flour, plus the baking powder, baking soda and mace.

In the bowl of a Kitchenaid-type stand mixer, cream together the butter, both sugars, and the eggs, until smooth and a bit fluffy. Stir in the vanilla. Add to the egg mixture, alternating, the dry ingredients and sour cream, just until all are combined.

In a small bowl, toss the chocolate chips with the remaining 1 teaspoon of flour. Gently stir into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and spread evenly.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes (if using a ceramic pan, place the pan on a baking sheet in a cold oven, set to 350F, and bake for 60 minutes), or until a tester comes out clean.

Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert the pan and remove the cake. Let it cool completely. Serve, or wrap and freeze.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Yogurt coffee cake with pecan filling
Easy cinnamon-apple coffee cake with streusel topping
Coffee cake with espresso-cocoa swirl
Apple spice cake
Lemon tea cake

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Meyer lemon whipping cream pound cake, from Cooking On the Side
Banana chocolate chip cake, from Pittsburgh Needs Eated
Easy lighter homemade pound cake from scratch, from Simple Nourished Living
Banana cookies, from Simply Recipes
Chocolate orange cream cheese pound cake, from Joy the Baker

Chocolate chip spice pound cake, for Julia Child's birthday.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


What a great recipe & tribute :-)

CJ, thanks! Julia Child & Company is one of the cookbooks I use most often.

This does sound delicious. I love the idea of sour cream in cake!

Lovely pound cake, Lydia. Wish I had a slice right now, of course :) I don't have that cookbook, but do have the two volumes of Art of French Cooking with some favorites -- and funny stories to accompany of my own. I'm still mulling over your chicken melon ball...

Kalyn, the sour cream was a great addition to Julia's basic recipe.

Kellypea, the chicken melon ball has become code in our kitchen for "dishes we don't ever want to try to make again" -- beautiful concept, but our kitchen skills were not up to the execution.

What a pretty cake and lovely tribute to Julia Child - I used to love watching Julia Child's TV series. I've never used mace before, but will have to take a whiff next time I'm at Penzey's spice store.

Jeanette, mace is the ingredient that makes this cake really unusual. It gives that je ne sais quois to a traditional pound cake.

I love moist cakes and this one looks moist - it's been a long time since I've baked a cake. One of my first treats come fall will be a homemade cake!

Mimi, this is a beautifully moist cake, thanks to the addition of sour cream. I don't bake often, and when I do, I'm always thrilled when it works out. This cake definitely worked out.

Wow, talk about chutzpah! Doing a riff on Julia Child's and (gasp!) my recipe--have you no shame? In honor of Julia's birthday, I have a good mind to make one of your recipes tonight and turn it on it's ear.

Lorna, I think Julia would have loved the result. Hope you do, too.

Hi, Lydia! Thank you for sharing such an incredible pound cake recipe. I am certain that Julia Child would be so proud that you were sharing it with your readers. She was an incredible chef and woman and it is great to see you celebrating her. Thanks again for sharing and enjoy the rest of your summer.

Ramona, I would have been honored to share this cake with Julia.

Great easy recipe my girls 4 and 8 helped... lots of easy steps so everyone got something to do plus thumbs up for everyone! Yummy yummy!

Lauren, I'm thrilled that you made this with your daughters, and that everyone liked it. Julia Child would love it, too, I'll bet.

Pound cakes are easy to make but has tons of possible flavors. Perfect for afternoon tea. Thanks for the share!

Looks delightful, Lydia! I love a good pound cake and sour cream ones are delightful, plus you can't go wrong with chocolate chips and some spice. ;-)

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