I have to say that I am always looking for a good chocolate cake. The main reason is simple really: generally there aren’t many people who would object to chocolate and this makes chocolate cakes perfect for any celebration. Personally I think that any excuse is good to bake one of these,
but surely would you *really* need an excuse, and my go-to person in a situation such as this, is of course Nigella.
As much as I love using my round baking tins (I recently bought another two), I prefer finding recipes for loaf cakes. Somehow I find loaf cakes easier to cut and make taking them around, say for a picnic or to a friend’s house for tea, easier. This recipe is one towards which I gravitate most and is definitely one of my favourites. It reminds me of a lemon drizzle cake…you will see why as you read on.
Before you start, take whatever you need out of the fridge. You will get a better cake if everything is at room temperature.
- 200g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 50g cocoa powder
- 275g golden caster sugar
- 175g butter, soft and unsalted
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon good quality vanilla extract
- 80ml sour cream
- 125ml boiling water
- 175g dark chocolate, cut into small chunks
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 125ml water
- 100g golden caster sugar
Place a baking tray on the middle shelf of your oven and preheat to 170°C. Grease and line a loaf tin, making sure you have extra baking parchment at the sides. You could use a silicon tin but I prefer the conventional way. It takes a bit more work but the results will be better.
For the cake, place the flour, baking powder and the cocoa powder in a medium bowl and give them a good mix.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and caster sugar together. Beat in the eggs one by one.
Now gently fold in the dry ingredients and add the sour cream and vanilla extract to the mixture. Slowly add the boiling water and mix everything until just combined. Add the chocolate chunks and distribute evenly in the cake batter.
As soon as you do this, scrape the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for around 50 minutes to an hour. (There will be a few cracks in the cake when it’s done. Check it by inserting a skewer in the middle. The cake shouldn’t be too dry.)
While the cake is baking away, prepare the syrup by putting the cocoa powder, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Swirl the pan around a few times and let the liquid boil for a few minutes, until it has reduced to a syrup-y consistency.
When the cake is done, let it stay in the tin on a wire rack and pierce it with a skewer (like you would do with a lemon drizzle cake). Slowly pour the syrup all over the cake. Don’t worry if the liquid runs on the sides.
Make sure the cake is completely cold before taking it out of the tin, with the help of the overhanging parchment paper. Remove the lining and place it on a serving dish.
Serve it alone or with strawberries and cream or crème fraîche. Enjoy!
(Recipe adapted from Nigella Feast: Food that celebrates life, Chatto & Windus, 2004.)