10 February 2013

Chocolate Loaf Cake

The Food 52 site has become one of my regular go-to food inspiration sites over the past year. I love the combo of non-pretentious expertise offered up by its authors/editors, paired together with the enthusiasm, warmth, and creativity of the slew of home-cooks submitting their best recipes to the site. Occasionally, however, a food-lebrity will grace the site. Such was the case when this cross between a molten chocolate cake and a chocolate pound cake developed by Nigella Lawson (or her staff) graced the website. Every baker should have an everyday sort of cake in his/her repertoire. Snack cake, tea cake, cake cake -- call it what you will. Something simple, to convince oneself that you aren't indulging, IE. no frosting, layers, or anything in the least bit fussy. 

The cake can easily be made with ingredients that most bakers will have on hand and comes out as something that can be eaten as a mid-afternoon weekend snack or served up to company. It is quite soft on the inside and my first attempt at making the cake resulted in a crater in the center of the cake due to its density. That said, I still served it up to house guests who didn't have any complaints. I'd suggest serving with a dollop of creme fraiche or barely sweetened whipped cream to cut the sweetness. 
Chocolate Loaf Cake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson

Makes 8-10 slices

1 cup soft unsalted butter
1 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces best bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature 
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons hot, strong coffee

Heat the oven to 375°F. Grease and line with parchment paper a 9x5-inch loaf pan.  In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, or with a hand held mixer, cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla, beating in well. Next, fold in the melted chocolate by hand with a spatula, taking care to blend well but not to over mix. 

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gently fold in the flour mixture, alternately spoon by spoon, with the boiling water until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter. Add the coffee at the last and blend. 

Pour into the lined loaf pan, being sure to leave 1-inch from the top of the batter to the rim of the pan. ( Pour any excess into a smaller cake or muffin pan.) Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and continue to cook for another 20-25 minutes. The cake will still be slightly soft in the center inside, so an inserted cake tester or skewer won't come out completely clean. 

Place the loaf pan on a rack, and leave to get completely cold before turning it out. The cake will likely sink in the center given how moist it is. 

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