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Cocoa pound cake with swirls of lemon custard

Mum has a sweet tooth for whipped cream. Sweet tooth may be simplistic to describe her relationship with whipped cream and the speed with which her spoon speeds under my eyes when I make a cake, returning to her full of whipped cream.

This said, she loves simple and traditional desserts: tiramisu, mantovana, rose cake with almonds, cream puffs. Simple, caring, reliable, reassuring, good, just like she is for me.

Saturday was her birthday and as usual, in a hurry and trying to fit everything that needed to be done, we could not celebrate properly her special day, apart from a huge bowl of real homemade fries, crunchy and sprinkled with Maldon salt crystals.

Though, since I am foodblogger and a daughter, I could not play dumb longer, and yesterday I made a simple cake to celebrate her in the afternoon with the rest of my large, noisy and happy family, you know perfectly all the adjectives that usually come along with my family on a Sunday afternoon!

Yesterday morning I had little time and a great desire to take a walk out pretending it was already spring, so I needed an error proof cake. In these crisis moments I always have an ace up in my sleeve: the pound cake is the basic recipe I bake every time I want to create something from scratch, avoiding disastrous side effects. You just need eggs, flour, sugar and butter in your pantry, you can replace butter with yoghurt, cottage cheese, mascarpone cheese, olive oil… and the cake is ready to be baked.

Yesterday I substituted butter with plain whole yoghurt and I added two heaping tablespoons of intense unsweetened cocoa in the dough. The result was a deep flavoured and light chocolate cake, moist and soft inside. Then, since we’re enjoying the citrus season, I have enriched the cake with lemon custard (the same I used for the Tuscan pine nut cake) to give a marbled effect and add a citrus freshness to the cake.

You can replace the lemon custard with lemon curd or make a simple cocoa pound cake with no other additions, now you know how it works with it! Do you have other tempting ideas for the marble effect? I would suggest also a good strawberry jam…

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4.75 from 4 votes

Cocoa pound cake with swirls of lemon custard

Serves 8
Author Giulia


For the lemon custard:

  • 3 free range egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of organic flour
  • 500 ml of whole milk
  • peel of 2 organic lemons

For the cocoa pound cake:

  • 3 free range eggs, about 200 g
  • 200 g of raw cane sugar
  • 200 g of whole white yoghurt
  • 200 g of organic flour
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 g of baking powder


  • As first thing, make the custard, you’ll need it to be cold when you will add it to the pound cake. Heat the milk in a saucepan with the peel of one lemon until it starts to simmer, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and flour, then pour in the hot milk in a thin stream, stirring continuously with a whisk. Put the custard on a low flame and stir constantly until it begins to thicken: remove it from the heat, stir in the grated peel of the second lemon and spoon the custard on a large tray, so that it will cool down quickly.
  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Weigh the eggs with their shell. What will be the weight that should be used for flour, yoghurt and sugar.
  • Beat the eggs and the raw cane sugar until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
  • Now add the white yoghurt and stir thoroughly.
  • Mix in the flour, the baking powder and the cocoa powder. Stir until everything is evenly mixed.
  • Grease a regular cake mould and dust it lightly with flour.
  • Scoop half of the cake batter into the prepared mould. Now spread about one third of the lemon custard over the batter, staying clear of the sides of the cake mould. Add the rest of the batter and smooth the top until level, then plop big spoonfuls of the remaining custard on top of the cake, staying clear of the sides. You'll have custard leftover. Drag a butter knife through the custard in a loop-de-loop motion so the cake batter swirls with the custard to create a marbled effect.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes and let it cool down completely before unmould: do not overbake it, the cake is supposed to be moist in the centre.
  • Dust with cocoa powder before and serve it with the leftover lemon custard.
Tried this recipe?We love to see your creations! Snap a pic and tag @julskitchen and hashtag it #myseasonaltable!

Happy birthday Mum, I love you!

I told you that the sunny countryside was tempting me in a walk outside, so as soon as the cake was ready I run out (ok, I walked out, I still have to exercise more after the Christmas feast to be able to run avoiding a heart attack!) to see which surprises the Nature had reserved for me. I was not wrong.

On the way back home I saw something moving in the fields in the valley: there were three roe deer running into the woods nearby. In the picture they are nothing more than spots of colour, but I believe you can still recognize them! A little farther on there was another herd of seven deer, but this time my fixed lens could not take a picture of them, so I simply watched them graze peacefully.

Searching for other ideas for a pound cake?

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This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. What a lucky mum you have! I’ve never swirled a cream mixture through a loaf cake like this, but now that I know it works I’ll definitely be trying it. Mint custard could be lovely with chocolate cake, or apricot jam? And maybe a lemon loaf cake with strawberry jam…the possibilities are endless, yum!

  2. This looks fabulous. Love the idea of using yogurt instead of milk and butter. I’m going to try that the next time I make a cake.

    Happy Birthday to your mom!

  3. 5 stars
    Hi I’ve just prepared the custard. I’m going to bake the cake tommorow but I’m afraid that the custard is too thin. Is that corect or it should be like a pudding? Best regards form snowy Poland 🙂

    1. Hi Ola, I’m happy you made the cake, don’t worry tomorrow it will be perfect, as soon as it cools down it will thicken! Warm regards from London!

  4. Looks delicious… I would never have thought about putting custard in a pound cake! The opportunities to add things are racing through my mind now… how about fresh or frozen raspberries? Or chunks of turkish delight? Or peanut butter salted caramel ( my current obsession!!)….. Baking tomorrow… working today 🙁

  5. No, I havent tried it, but I bet it would be good!
    I made the cake yesterday, but I think i baked it in a tin that was too nig for the amount of mixture, it tastes ok but it didnt rise very much 🙁
    I also added frozen raspberries which is yummy.

  6. 5 stars
    I haven’t got lemons, so I’m going to use an orange! Chocolate and orange, mmm!

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