Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Loaf Cake
from How to Be a Domestic Goddess
Julia Lambert (my twin sister) gave me this cookbook for graduation, because clearly she’s the best. Some of the recipes have been hit or miss, but I keep coming back to this one because it’s so simple and satisfying and yummy, and her suggestion to have a slice spread with cream cheese? OH MY YES. Look, I have a TURRIBLE time waiting for things I’ve baked to cool. I immediately hack off a smoodge of hot brownie when they come out of the oven. Hot cookies, them too. This cake is so so so so so good at room temperature, almost better than it is warm, that I make myself wait. And then I demand a medal for Heroic Patience.
Important: When she says to put a rimmed baking sheet under the cake pan to catch drips, she means it. Look, sometimes I’ve made it and it’s been all “I am the most beautifully simple chocolate loaf cake, the epitome of domestic goddess cake production, and all should worship me and the woman who created me.” And then sometimes it’s all “I AM A CHOCOLATE VOLCANO and I will drip my chocolatey lava goodness all over your oven and make your whole apartment smell like burned horror, so SUCK IT!” I don’t know why it sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, and if I weren’t lazy I’d do test runs with different leaveners and stuff, but I have some cats to pet and Netflix to watch. It’s delicious in its perfect state and delicious in its volcano state. Alls I’m sayin is, if anyone comments here “hey Sweets my cake exploded all over my oven and ruined everythiiiing”, I will shrug my shoulders and refer you to my personal hero:
and then to a Clean Person.
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 c. dark brown sugar, lightly packed
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. (1/4 lb) good bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. plus 2 tbsp. boiling water
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch any drips (DO THIS). Grease a 9” x 5” loaf pan, and trim a piece of parchment paper to fit, with some excess hanging over the sides of the pan. Grease the parchment paper too. This sucker is damp and a bit sticky.
Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
In a large bowl, either by hand or with a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Fold in the melted chocolate until just mixed (this isn’t like a pound cake where you beat it for 8 hours or anything). Add the dry ingredients spoonful by spoonful to the batter, alternately with the boiling water, until you have a smooth liquid batter.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes. THEN decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 15 minutes. The cake is done when a skewer comes out with plenty of moist crumbs still attached, as the cake will be, to quote Nigella, “a bit squidgy inside.” Cool the cake in its pan on a cooling rack overnight. Using the parchment paper overhang to help you, invert it onto serving plate. It will sink in the middle a bit, but that’s okay because it’s all rustic and charming and you can dump some berries or whipped cream or something in the dent and call it a day, right? Right.