Nigella Lawson's Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

4/02/2008 08:05:00 PM

Dontcha just love that big crackly chocolatey mess? This is my attempt at Nigella's Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake, a recipe I've been drooling over ever since I bought How to be a Domestic Goddess, but never quite got around to making. She describes it as being aromatic like gingerbread, dark and dense, and fabulous spread with cold cream cheese. That was the clincher for me. I adore cream cheese.

Nigella warns that the batter is very damp, and that you should very carefully line the tin, or use a loaf-shaped paper case. I happened to have 2 smallish paper loaf cases, so used them, thinking that the second cake would make a lovely gift. To my dismay, during baking, neither of the paper cases could support the weight of the batter (it is a "dense" cake, after all), which sort of lazily spread out, leaking through the sides of the cases. This resulted in the flat and crackly, yet delicious mess you see in the first photo.

I shoved the other, less damaged cake into a normal loaf tin whilst still warm from the oven and pliable. Once cooled to room temperature, I wrapped it well and stashed it in the fridge to firm up properly.

The cake contains few ingredients, and so the quality of each ingredient is paramount to the final product. I didn't have quite enough dark muscovado sugar to make up the whole quantity, so had to substitute about half with plain el cheapo refined brown sugar. It ended up being less deep-and-treacly than I hoped, but I suppose that's to be expected.

Fabulous! We enjoyed this cake in thick, stubby slices with a simple cup of tea. I spread my slices, not with cream cheese, but with wonderful organic quark. Wow. Thumbs up all around!

Having tried this, I think it would make fabulous brownies as it is moist and dense, with a crackly top. As a bonus, it doesn't have the wallet-and-waistline blowing amounts of egg yolks and chocolate that many brownies have.

EDIT: Whoops! The first time I published this post, I mistakenly wrote that this cake contains no chocolate, only cocoa. In fact, the cake contains 100g of chocolate, and no cocoa! Thanks to tytty and Nickki for picking that up! I've gotten rid of the offending sentence now. In my defence, I made the cake a few weeks before blogging it, and was blogging it from memory. In recent times I've been baking so much and reading so many different cake recipes, that I've gotten them all mixed up in my mind. Sorry about the slip-up!

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  1. This cake is amazing - I wish I hadn't waited so long to make it! You're right, it's such an intensely chocolate flavour, yet relatively cheap ingredients. It only gets better as it sits around, too :)

  2. hi sarah, like your blog, you always sound so enthusiastic!

    i've been looking at nigella's recipe from other sites that posted it. all of them say melted chocolate and not cocoa? are they the same recipe?


  3. Thanks tytty!

    Hm, maybe that's a different recipe you saw on the other blogs? She has a couple of chocolate loaf cakes. This one is the "dense chocolate loaf cake" from How to be a Domestic Goddess, and definitely has no chocolate in the batter.

    Her quadruple chocolate loaf cake, from Feast, has a lot of chocolate in it! :) That's yummy too.

    xox Sarah

  4. Hi Sarah! That cake is gorgeous isn't it? Mine always has a huge crack down the middle. But who cares about looks when it tastes so good? I've just been looking through my HTBADG, and in mine it doesn't have any cocoa in it, it states 100g best dark chocolate. Maybe it's because it's a different edition of the book? xxx


    I just double checked the recipe! You guys were both right. So sorry about that! I made the cake quite a few weeks ago and was blogging it from memory.

    Thanks for picking that up! I'm not sure which other Nigella chocolate cake I've mixed that up with in my mind, but now that I've made at least 10 different ones (and keep reading more recipes), I keep getting them all mixed up.

    Will edit that straight away!!

    xox Sarah

  6. Sarah, Don't worry :) As you say, there are so many chocolate cake recipes it's very easy to mix up the ingredients. I never know a recipe off by heart, no matter how many times I make it (LOL) xx

  7. Anonymous3:23 AM

    When Nigella says to use a loaf-shaped paper liner, she means to put the paper liner inside a regular loaf tin - the liner on its own won't hold the loaf together.

    I just made the Coca-cola cake and it was a disaster - very flat and not very chocolately. Anyone else have a problem with this one?

  8. Hey Anonymous,

    Putting the paper case inside a proper tin would have made a lot more sense! LOL. I've seen those paper cases used without a tin before, but that was for things like pannetone or fruit cake; nothing as liquid as the chocolate loaf cake. Oh well, next time.

    I've made the coca cola cake many times, and really like it! I usually make it as cupcakes, although I did make it in a bundt tin most recently. It's not nearly as chocolatey as Nigella's other choc cakes. I find it very light - so I think of it as a cake for kids or for anyone who doesn't like darkly intense chocolate.

    I'm not quite sure why yours would have turned out flat though, that's a shame. :(

    xox Sarah

  9. Sarah,
    I have made this cake MANY times. The book "How To Be A Domestic Goddess" is AMAZING! I leave the cake in just a bit longer than the directions say to get a bit firmer consistency, but the outcome is the same - it is simply divine!



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