January 31, 2015

Chocolate Loaf Cake

With all the cold and snow outside, I’ve been longing for some warmth and coziness in the house.  And there’s nothing better than some good ol’ baking and a dense, fudgy effortless Chocolate Loaf Cake to sooth you on icy, winter days.  Even if you’re not particularly keen on chocolate you’ll easily and unequivocally appreciate this dreamy concoction.  You won’t be able to resist it, I guarantee it.  One bite and you’ll be craving more, not to mention all the points you’ll score with everyone in the family.  And, yes, you’ll be adding another solid brick to the chocolate repertoire!   

This cake is the epitome of all things chocolate.  It’s so plain and easy to whip up yet intensely elaborate tastewise conveying a heady, damp (as Nigella might say), chocolatey aroma.  It’s almost like gingerbread: slightly sticky, borderline soggy and very, very tasty.  Nigella’s recipe doesn’t call for toasted walnuts but I tossed them in the mix for that subtle and distinct crunch kick that elevates the flavor and chocolate intensity of this wonderful dessert.  

This is not your elegant, sensual and seductive chocolate cake, and it probably wouldn’t excel in a beauty pageant.  I mean, the thing is more than likely to collapse in the middle while it bakes.  But if you’re willing to overlook the less than appealing appearance, you’ll be in for a mouthwatering ride; this cake with rock your world.  

The Chocolate Loaf Cake is absolutely lovely with coffee or tea or whipped cream or ice cream or simply by itself.  And it will make for a great sweet treat during the highly anticipated Super Bowl Sunday.  Enjoy!

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
Adapted from How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

Makes: 8-10 slices


·         1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
·         1 2/3 cups dark or light brown sugar
·         2 large eggs, at room temperature
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         4 ounces best bittersweet chocolate, melted
·         1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
·         1 teaspoon baking soda
·         1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
·         ½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped


Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Grease and line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.  The lining is important as this is a very damp cake: use parchment paper, heavy duty aluminum foil or one of those loaf-pan-shaped paper liners.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar, with an electric hand-held mixer, then add the eggs and vanilla, beating 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 lightly airy mass.  Then gently add the flour, to which you’ve added the baking soda, alternately spoon by spoon, with the boiling water until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter.  

Pour the batter into the lined loaf pan.  Sprinkle the walnut pieces on top.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Turn the oven down to 325ºF 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.  (If you 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.  

Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)