I’ve always loved a woman who can bake and cook, why do just one when you can do both. Julia could and maybe that’s why I enjoyed Nigella Lawson so much. That and her late night snacking on the treats she had made also made me love her. English accent didn’t hurt either.
Visiting my almost 86 year old father this weekend when he mentioned he wished he had something sweet in the house. There’s not much you can buy for an 85 year old with a sufficient pension nor much you can do for a proud man who believes that allowing his kids to help with anything around his home is admitting to some type of weakness in character. What he does allow is an occasional home cooked meal, if it’s not too much trouble and anything sweet – especially if it involves chocolate.
Nigella to the rescue. I recalled a chocolate loaf cake that we used to enjoy from her How to Be a Domestic Goddess cookbook. A quick Google search did the trick …
Set oven to 375 degrees. Grease and line a 9 x 5 loaf pan with parchment paper. Melt 4 to 6 oz of bittersweet chocolate (I used 6 oz of chocolate chips because that’s what Dad had – I melted them in the microwave). Mix 1 cup of softened butter -Dad had salted (original recipe calls for unsalted) with 1 and 2/3 cups brown sugar, I generally choose dark but light was already opened, so used a cup of that with 1/3 of dark.
Add 1 tsp vanilla and 2 beaten eggs (I used large- which are typically used in baking) and beat till well incorporated. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
Add the melted chocolate and gently fold in until just incorporated.
Mix 1 tsp baking soda in to 1 and 1/3 cups flour. Then you will alternate mixing flour and 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water into the chocolate batter – do this in about 4 additions each. This will produce a very liquid batter. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Mine fills to about 1 inch below top of pan (if yours is going to go higher, internet directions suggest baking off the rest in one or more ). Also suggests placing a pan in oven below for any overflow.
Bake for 30 minutes then lower oven to 325 degrees and cook for 15 minutes more. Recipe explains that cake will still be “squid day” but that you should remove. In my experience cake is “raw” at this point and I have never been happy with taking it out at this point. I have always left it in over for at least an additional 15-20 minutes. Even an hour in, my tester never comes out clean – but for me the cake seems reasonably done and still on the squiddy side so I take it out. Remove from oven and let cool completely in the pan. Don’t worry if top sinks in a bit. As soon as it was cool we jumped right it. It’s great on its own and even better with some fresh whipped cream!
Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
1 cup soft unsalted butter
1 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water