I have made this cake so many times and it is the only reason, besides gingerbread, why I have a pantry stocked with dark brown sugar. It is dense, dark, sticky and aromatic. It is from Nigella Lawson’s ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’ and the blurb about this recipe is deliciously descriptive. I have to quote Nigella.
“This is the plainest of plain loaf cakes – but that doesn’t convey the damp, heady aromatic denseness of it. To understand that, you just have to cook it. And as you’ll see, that isn’t hard at all.”
“…simply sliced, with a cup of tea or coffee, it’s pretty damn dreamy: as damp and sticky as gingerbread and quite as aromatic. And I will confess that I absolutely love it spread with cold cream cheese.”
How could you resist? Nigella also suggests that you can transform this into a lovely dessert with a scoop of ice-cream or with a bowl of strawberries and a jug of white-chocolate rum custard. I have made the latter and it was incredible. (Little Miss Moi can vouch for me if she remembers eating it whilst watching Mermaids!) Just make any custard recipe and add a couple of tablespoons of dark rum in the place of vanilla and when the custard is lovely and thick then beat in about 100g of melted white chocolate off the heat.
As you can probably see, I overcooked this one a bit but it is still very, very good. A recipe well worth trying.
dense chocolate loaf cake
(from Nigella Lawson’s ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’)
225g unsalted butter, softened
375g dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g good dark chocolate, melted and cooled
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
250g boiling water
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Line a 23cm x 13cm loaf tin and place on top of a lined baking tray, just in case there are any drips.
In a mixmaster cream together the butter and sugar then add the eggs and vanilla. Fold in melted chocolate until combine. Don’t over beat. Add a spoonful of the combined sifted flour and bicarb one at a time, alternating with the boiling water until the batter is smooth.
Pour into the lined tin and bake for 30 minutes. Turn down heat to 170 degrees C and bake for a further 15 minutes until just cooked, you still want it to be squidgy inside.
Place the tin on a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Be warned it is likely to sink in the middle but that is perfectly fine. This cake improves over a day or two.