The ultimate chocolate cake

Well, dear readers, I’m back after 3 month since my last post – with itchy fingers and plenty to write! During this time I’ve changed jobs (a rather stressful experience), started and completed a correspondence course (I got 80%, yay!), and went on a jam-packed, 4-week overseas trip (the first holiday in 3+ years!). I’m feeling rather exhausted just thinking about it all, to be honest!

But anyway, I thought I’d start off 2014 with this, the best chocolate cake I know how to make. It’s a big call, I know, to call something the ultimate of anything… Let me just say first that this is not one of those beauteous, highly decorated jobs – in fact there’s no icing at all. But what it lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in taste. This is a very chocolately, moist cake that keeps well (a bit like gingerbread) – in fact, it improves the longer you wait to eat it. Perfect for making ahead of time, and to encourage the eating of smaller proportions, which is useful for this side of Christmas.

I have adapted the recipe a bit from Nigella’s dense chocolate loaf cake, from How To Be a Domestic Goddess. She calls it ‘the essence of all that is desirable in chocolate’, with a ‘damp, heady aromatic denseness’. Full credit goes to her for such a wonderful recipe; below is my tinkered-with version, just to cut down on the amount of muscavado sugar a bit. While not essential, I highly recommend using a cake mixer. Oh, and one more thing – the full recipe makes a loaf cake, while half the recipe makes 12 cupcakes. Although I did once use the full recipe to make 12 cupcakes as well as a half loaf cake. Up to you, really.

100g chocolate (I use the 50% dark chocolate from Whittakers)
200g butter
200g dark muscovado sugar
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
200g flour
1 tsp baking soda
250ml just-boiled water

  1. Melt the chocolate and leave it to cool slightly while you get on with the rest.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C (or 180°C for cupcakes) with an oven tray. Line a loaf tin (or muffin tray).
  3. Cream the butter and both sugars.
  4. Add in one egg at a time, mixing well in between. Add the vanilla, mix well.
  5. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix well.
  6. Alternatively add in spoonfuls of the flour (with baking soda mixed in) and hot water (this is the part where using a cake mixer is extremely handy and fun).
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, and bake for 30 minutes, although the loaf cake needs an additional 15 minutes at 170°C.

The cake itself is both fluffy and substantial, and very delicious. I really don’t think the shape or size matters to much, or that decorations are necessary; just make it, wrap it up well once it’s cool, and eat it with glee over the next few days.

Chocolate loaf cake (half size)

Chocolate cupcakes

It really does keep well, and I can report that it also travelled extremely well (see photo below). I made it the day before going from Auckland to Taipei, including a 7-hour stop in Brisbane. My relatives and I were eating this cake every day for about 4 days after I arrived – and it never once tasted stale. My only regret is that I didn’t bring them 2 cakes!

Chocolate loaf cake (full recipe)


One thought on “The ultimate chocolate cake

  1. Pingback: Chocolate cake crumb muffins with cocoa nibs | Food for the troubled soul

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