Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake (set)

It always happens. 

Whenever I entertain, I inevitably plan to do too much.  I set out to bake the most time consuming desserts and sweet treats, or sometimes multiple of them.  I typically will not bake something elaborate for myself, but really enjoy putting in the effort in for others.  The downside of this effort is I am predictably rushed and distracted and do not enjoy the company of my family or friends as I would like.

This weekend was different.  I had a little family get-together and decided I would start to search for the most perfect desserts that were quick, impressive, and most importantly, could be made ahead.

I think I found one to add to that list.

I had tagged in my How To Be A Domestic Goddess book a chocolate loaf cake.  It looked simple and quick but still rich and decadent.  The best thing about this cake is that it apparently tastes better with age.  So a perfect ‘make ahead’ dessert. 

The cake is indeed incredibly rich and moist.  If you can imagine a rich fudgy brownie, then you are close to how this cake tastes.  I decided to serve the cake with individual pots of cinnamon flavoured cream.  I thought the cream would cut the intensity of the chocolate well.

This will certainly be a good stand-by in the future when I would rather be relaxing, than rushing around last minute to organise a dessert.  There are certainly times when you want to create something that requires last minute preparation, but this was not one of those times.

I definitely would recommend this cake as dessert for a casual get-together.

{ Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake } from How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

* Ingredients *

1 cup soft unsalted butter
1-2/3 cups dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces best bittersweet chocolate, melted
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
9 x 5-inch loaf pan

* Directions *

Preheat the oven to 375F or 190C, put in a baking sheet in case of sticky drips later, and grease and line the loaf pan. The lining is critical as this is a very damp cake: use parchment or one of those loaf-pan shaped paper liners. Cream the butter and sugar, either with a wooden spoon or with an electric hand-held mixer, then add the eggs and vanilla, beating in well. Next, fold in the melted and now slightly cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but being careful not to over beat. You want the ingredients combined: you don’t want a light airy mass. Then gently add the flour, to which you’ve added the baking soda, alternately spoon by spoon, with the boiling water until you have a smooth fairly liquid batter. Pour into the lined loaf pan, and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325F or 160C and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. The cake will still be a bit squidgy 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. (I often leave it for a day or so: like gingerbread, it improves.) Don’t worry if it sinks in the middle: indeed, it will do so because it’s such a dense and damp cake

Makes 8-10 slices