06 August 2012

Nigella's Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake with Embellishment

You've gotta love a dessert that can come together in stages over the coarse of a couple days, especially when the days are as hot and sticky as the last few have been. In Saturday's post, I told you about picking over black currants and making a sweet currant sauce. It was all very slap dash ... a lemon infused simple syrup with black currants added and cooked down to a thick sauce. Twenty minutes at the stove in 90 degree heat was enough for me! I strained the sauce, reserved the sweetened berries and popped the containers in the fridge.

Yesterday, the temperature peaked out at around 92 degrees, so I waited until the evening to bake Nigella Lawson's luscious Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake - I could practically hear her cooing over the pan in the kitchen. In her 'Domestic Goddess' cookbook, she assures us that this cake is best when taken from the oven and left in its pan to settle to a moist, dense mass of crumb. Hell, at 9 o'clock at night, I was definitely down with that !

This morning, I've come into the kitchen to sniff at the cake and plan a pretty plate for it. Looking at this cake, though, makes me think of an old frump. It's nothing to look at, all long and rectangular and sitting in its sturdy loaf pan. It definitely needs some 'dressing up' - kind of like Miss Pettigrew did in that sweet little romp of a flick, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day ... I just watched it the other afternoon. The comparison seems à propos, don't you think?

Today, it's 'finish it up' day ... I plan to make a whipped cream that has some of that sweet black currant syrup sweetening it and plop it atop a slice of chocolate cake that's also been given a drizzle of black currant sauce ... excuse me while I coo! I may not have the black satin house robe and the fluffy slippers á la Nigella, but I'll be betting that I'll have the same midnight snack urges that she has when she's got a sweet chocolate treat sitting on her kitchen countertop just waiting to be dressed up!

This recipe was supposed to have been made for the July 'We Should Cocoa' challenge, but alas and alack, I didn't find the currants in time. When I saw them at Saturday's farmers market, I grabbed them and kept to the plan. I may be late, but .... here's Nigella's cake recipe anyway!

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
a Nigella Lawson recipe from her book, How To Be A Domestic Goddess


1 c. softened unsalted butter
1 ⅔ c. dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. very good quality bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 ⅓ c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. plus 2 tbsp. boiling water

Making the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a large 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overlap so that you can use it as a handle to lift the cake from the pan. Lightly grease the paper too.
  2. Place the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and whip it until it is light and creamy.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat lightly.
  4. Whisk the flour and baking soda together in a small bowl.
  5. By hand, mix some of the flour into the batter, then some of the boiling water, then more flour, more water etc until the batter is soft and smooth, but not bubbly.
  6.  Pour the batter into the loaf pan and place in the center of the preheated oven.
  7. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. Then, turn the oven temperature down to 325°F and continue baking for another 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and place the pan on a rack. Cool completely in the pan.
  9. Run a sharp knife along the end edges of the pan and use the overlapping parchment paper to lift the cake out onto the rack.
  10. Gently peel the parchment away from the edges and bottom of the cake and place the cake on an oblong plate.
  11. Slice thick slices and embellish them as you like, or not – fresh fruit and whipped cream, fruit curd, soft mousse, ice cream and hot fudge sauce …

Note: Images from Miss Pettigrew Live For a Day were taken from the Fanpix.net website.


  1. This cake looks wonderful with the sauce overtop! YUM!

  2. Susan dear :) 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' is my all time favorite movie - so much so that it is my annual ritual to watch it :) The cake looks marvelous and I love that such few ingredients renders such a fine treat!

    chow :) DEVAKI @ weavethousandflavors

  3. Your cake only proves that you can't judge a book by its cover. I love the way you dressed it up.

  4. Oh my goodness, this looks so tempting. With a hot cup of java.

  5. Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is the most fabulous book - right up there with anything by Nigella! Lovely loaf x


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