Chocolatey Pound Cake Bread Pudding

March 23, 2023
2 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Lauren LaPenna.
  • Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours
  • makes one 9x12-inch bread pudding
Author Notes

Like all of my favorite baking projects, bread pudding is so wonderfully adaptable. Armed with a basic recipe blueprint, it’s incredibly easy to get really creative with bread pudding. To start with, think of this baked scoopable dessert as three main components. First, you have the base, which is traditionally stale bread. Next, the custard, which is made with eggs, sugar, milk and/or cream, and flavorings. Finally, the inclusions, which can be anything you add to the base for extra flavor and texture. When you break it down to these three elements, it’s so simple to create your own bread pudding, designed to your exact preferences.

Instead of stale bread, I use pound cake as the base of this decadent dessert recipe. That may seem particularly indulgent, but just think of it as a deconstructed layer cake that you can serve warm. It’s drowned in chocolate custard, and studded with more melty chocolate and crunchy nuts. All you’ll need to bring this delicious dish to the table is a ceramic 9x12-inch baking dish, like the Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Covered Rectangular Casserole Dish—I especially love this one because it has a lid that keeps things warm (and keeps all that moisture locked inside) until it’s time to serve.

This pound cake twist is just one way to remix a classic bread pudding recipe. If you’re interested in another base, try day-old croissants, stale cinnamon rolls, or even leftover waffles. (Stale base items work particularly well for this, because they can suck up all the moisture from the custard.) Flavor the custard with brown sugar, vanilla bean, cozy spices, or a splash of booze. Mix in inclusions like coconut, caramel, or fresh fruit. Check out the full "Bread Pudding" episode of Bake it Up a Notch for more ideas, and a bread pudding base ratio that will get you started. If you’d like to make this recipe even simpler, you can use your favorite store-bought pound cake instead of the homemade recipe below (you’ll need two small loaves or about 1100 grams total). —Erin Jeanne McDowell

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Le Creuset. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Chocolatey Pound Cake Bread Pudding
  • For the sour cream pound cake:
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 ½ cups (297 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 (170 grams) eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (6 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoons (2 grams) fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (226 grams) sour cream
  • For the bread pudding:
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 (about 1100 grams) pound cake, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used 64%), coarsely chopped, divided
  • 1 heaping cup (about 170 grams) toasted nuts (such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts), coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 2 ¾ cups (633 grams) whole milk
  • cups (66 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (11 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (235 grams) heavy cream
  • 4 (226 grams) eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (7 grams) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoons (2 grams) fine sea salt
  1. For the sour cream pound cake:
  2. If using store-bought pound cake, skip to making the bread pudding. If making pound cake, heat the oven to 325°F/162°C with a rack in the center of the oven. Grease a 9x9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving at least 1 inch of overhang on two of the sides (this will help you unmold the cake later). Grease the surface of the parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed to incorporate each. Scrape the bowl well using a rubber spatula after each addition is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix until well combined.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine. Add about ⅓ of the flour mixture to the mixer, and mix on low speed to combine. Scrape the bowl well using the rubber spatula, then add about ½ of the sour cream, and mix on low speed to combine. Repeat this process, alternating the dry ingredients and sour cream until both are fully incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and spread the batter into an even layer. Transfer to the oven and bake until a tester or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, 40 to 50 minutes.
  6. Cool for 15 minutes inside the pan, then use the parchment overhang to remove the pound cake and cool it completely on a wire rack.
  7. Once it’s cool, cut the pound cake into 1-inch cubes. If desired, spread them in an even layer on a baking sheet and let them dry for up to 2 days.
  1. For the bread pudding:
  2. Grease a 9x12-inch Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Casserole Dish (or similar ceramic baking dish) generously with the unsalted butter.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the pound cake cubes, 6 ounces (170 grams) of the chopped chocolate, and the nuts (if using) to combine. Arrange in an even layer in the prepared baking dish.
  4. In a medium pot, heat the milk, remaining 6 ounces (170 grams) chocolate, sugar, and the cocoa powder over medium heat, whisking until the chocolate is fully melted. Transfer to a large heat-safe bowl or liquid measuring cup (preferably something with a pour spout).
  5. Add the cream to the chocolate mixture and whisk until evenly incorporated. Add the eggs and whisk until well combined, then add the vanilla and salt. Mix to combine.
  6. Pour the custard evenly over the pound cake mixture in the pan. Cover with aluminum foil, and transfer to the fridge for 1 hour (or up to 12 hours).
  7. Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center of the oven. Transfer the bread pudding to the oven and bake, covered with the foil, for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes until the custard appears just set and jiggles slightly in the center.
  8. Remove the bread pudding from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. If your ceramic pan has a lid like the Le Creuset Heritage Casserole Dish, you can cover the baking dish to help keep the bread pudding warm until you’re ready to serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • BucWyld
  • Nalani
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

2 Reviews

BucWyld August 3, 2023
I made this for a line dance event. It was a bit! Great recipes! Thank you Erin!
Nalani April 16, 2023
I made this recipe today and it was soooo good and easy to make! I didn’t use pound cake, instead I used my day old homemade sweetbread. Fantastic recipe and may I just say….Erin - I don’t write reviews but I love watching you on YouTube and have made so many of your recipes. You’re such an amazing teacher!! I finally got my biscuit technique down after watching you and your dad. Thank you for sharing your amazing talent! 🤗