Sometimes only chocolate cake will do and when the chocolate mist descends this is the recipe I reach for time and again. Why? Because I don’t think chocolate cake should be difficult, or fussy (this recipe is neither) and I don’t know about you, but for me there’s something deliciously informal about a loaf cake. You don’t serve delicate slices of loaf cake, you serve slabs, and this bad boy in particular, in all it’s moist, dense loveliness, demands greediness. Resistance is futile.
This recipe is taken from Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame in her Feast cook book.
for the cake…
- 200g plain flour
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 50g cocoa (Green & Blacks works wonders here)
- 275g caster sugar
- 175g soft unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 80ml sour cream
- 125ml boiling water
- 175g dark chocolate chips
for the chocolate syrup…
- 1 tsp cocoa
- 125ml water
- 100g caster sugar
- 25g dark chocolate
you will need – a 1lb loaf tin and a loaf tin liner (these are lifesavers, hooray for Lakeland!)
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3 / 170°C and line your loaf tin. Now, if you have a food processor simply add the flour, bicarb, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream and mix everything together until you have a silky batter. If on the other hand you are making this by hand, first of all cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs before folding through the dry ingredients, followed by the sour cream and vanilla. However you arrive at the silky, brown batter, now is the time to gradually add the boiling water, stirring this through with a spatula or wooden spoon. By adding the water slowly the mixture won’t spilt. Finally stir through the chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin and pop it in the oven for 1 hour. I treat this cake with slight brownie logic given its moist disposition, so if after an hour you test the cake with a knife or cake tester and there is some slight stickiness, go with it. Damp should be encouraged here.
- When the cake still has about 20 minutes to go in the oven, now is the time to make the chocolate syrup so that you can feed the cake it’s gooey crowning glory while it is still hot. Making a syrup sounds technical but all it really is, is melting stuff, trust me. Add the cocoa, water, caster sugar and chocolate to a small saucepan, bring to the boil and allow it to bubble away for a good 10-15 minutes until you have a reduced, thickened liquid that coats the back of a spoon, thus.
4. Take the cake out of the oven and pierce small holes all over the surface. Then drizzle the syrup over the cake. Don’t panic, it will tend to run to the sides and pool on the surface a bit but some will be absorbed into the centre, and any left on top forms a delicious, shiny, glaze. Bonus! Nigella recommends shaving some good quality chocolate over the cake to serve as a final flourish, if you are so inclined, go for it. You can easily turn this into a pudding too by serving it with some vanilla ice cream and raspberries on the side. Nom.