Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

Today, I was craving for some chocolate and I didn’t just want some dark chocolate sauce to add on to some ice cream or a few squares of 70% cocoa chocolate. I wanted something cakey and soft and intensely chocolaty. Well, I satisfied my craving with this easy recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess for Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake. I ended up using all the chocolate we had at home but it was well worth it with the result being a moist cake perfect for accompanying an espresso or with some strawberries and creme fraiche. You won’t be disappointed with the result. ___________________________

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
(From Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess)

  • 1 cup soft unsalted butter
  • 1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces (about 113 grams) best bittersweet chocolate, melted (in a bowl over a pot of simmering water)
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
  • 9 x 5 inch loaf pan
  • Preheat the oven to 375F (190C), put in a baking sheet in case of sticky drips later, and grease and line the loaf pan. The lining is important as this is a very damp cake; use parchment or one of those loaf-pan-shaped paper liners.
  • Cream the butter and sugar, either with a wooden spoon or with an electric hand-held mixer, then add the eggs and vanilla, beating in well. Next, fold in the melted and now slightly cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but being careful not to overbeat. You want the ingredients combined; you don’t want a light airy mass.
  • Then gently add the flour, to which you’ve already added the baking soda, alternately spoon by spoon with the boiling water until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter.
  • Pour into the lined loaf pan, and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Turn the oven down to 325F (160C) and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. The cake will still be a bit squidgy inside, so an inserted cake tester or skewer won’t come out completely clean.
  • Place the loaf pan on a rack, and leave to get completely cold before turning it out. (I often leave it for a day or so: like gingerbread, it improves.) Don’t worry if it sinks in the middle: indeed, it will do so because it’s such a dense and damp cake.
  • Makes 8-10 slices.

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