Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake by Nigella Lawson (How to be a Domestic Goddess)

I am definitely in a bit of a baking frenzy at the moment, last week I made three different loaf cakes in a 48 hour period (including this Dense chocolate loaf cake) – this reignited passion for baking is certainly not conducive to my healthy eating. I also ordered a several baking books from my Amazon wishlist. After discovering all the past seasons of Great British Bake Off on Netflix, I’ve somehow binge watched the first three seasons in as many weeks. Now that the new season has started on Channel 4 I really can’t see an end to the sugar coated madness.

Fancying a basic chocolate cake with no layers or fancy flavours or fussy frosting, I knew Nigella would have just the recipe I wanted. True to form, she has two different recipes for a chocolate loaf cake. Her Quadruple chocolate loaf cake soaked in a chocolatey syrup was maybe a bit excessive on this occasion, so I instead opted for her Dense chocolate loaf cake from her classic How To Be A Domestic Goddess. I was enticed by her comparison of this cake to that familiar moist crumb of a good gingerbread. I love a brownie, but I often find that they can be too sickly and rich – that’s where this cake enters the fray.

Nigella Lawson How to be A Domestic Goddess Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
The Dense chocolate loaf cake fresh from the oven

With a relatively low egg count, exorbitantly high quantity of sugar (375g of Dark Muscovado!!!) and the addition of boiling water to the batter, I was a little suspicious. It all seemed to go against my baking instincts. Luckily, I have learnt that its best to just trust Nigella on occasions like these. The chocolatey flavour came from 100g of dark chocolate. As always, ‘the best quality you can afford’ which for my mid-week cake was a relatively cheap 70% bar of choc from Lidl. The batter did seem quite wet after adding the boiling water, but don’t fret.
In her introduction, Nigella implores that the dense chocolate loaf cake is left – untouched – for 1-2 days to improve. If it is anything like a gingerbread or parkin, I know that the texture does indeed improve over the course of a few days.

Nigella Lawson How to be A Domestic Goddess Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
Slightly sunk, but deeply chocolatey and certainly dense. You can see the moisture through the paper. Phwoar

A friend had invited us over for dinner, where she made Nigella’s Lamb Patties (from Nigella Summer), so I offered to bring the maturing cake as a dessert. I don’t usually go for cake as a dessert option, but the decadence of this sponge rendered the dense chocolate loaf cake a perfect option for an after dinner sweet treat.

I got about ten good slices from the cake. I prefer not to think about the nutritional content of cakes as it lessens the pleasure, but if you add up the 100g of chocolate, 375g of sugar and all the flour then it doesn’t bare thinking about the sugar content per portion. The dense chocolate loaf cake was as described – dense and chocolatey. It was somewhere between a gingerbread in texture and brownie in chocolatey indulgence. The sugar content is excessive in theory, but delicious in practice. The fact that it’s dark muscovado lends the cake its deep molasses sweetness, not as saccharine as you would expect. As with a good gingerbread, the leftovers got better each and every day until the cake was no more. When my blood sugar returns to normal, I’ll certainly make this cake again.

Nigella Lawson How to be A Domestic Goddess Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
Vaguely “arty” overhead shot of cake that really adds nothing

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