Thursday, November 13, 2008
First one from my new Nigella-book - heavenly chocolate loaf-cake
(above pic from here).
My lovely co-workers gave me 'How to be a domestic goddess' by Nigella Lawson. It's my first Nigella-book and it's filled with insanely delicious looking cakes, pies, cookies etc cover to cover. So after some days of continuous drooling and a complete chocolate-themed brain-freeze (the book has a separate section on chocolate, very, very hazardous to venture into) we went to visit my parents last weekend and me and my mom decided to make the very first of the chocolate cakes in that book - the 'Dense chocolate loaf-cake'.
Nigella has written that this is 'the essence of all that is desirable in chocolate: it's dark intensity isn't toyed with, nor upstaged by any culinary elaboration. This is the plainest of plain loaf cakes - but that doesn't convey the damp, heady aromatic denseness of it.'
And every word is true. I had never had a chocolate cake quite like that, it's not sticky like the good brownies (and I love those) and it's not gooey like a fondant (which I also love), yet it is so far-far-far from a boring, dry chocolate cake they sell in the stores or serve in the cafeterias. It is just gloriously soft, supple and moist throughout. And - as it doesn't actually have a big quantity of chocolate in it (compared again, to say brownies) - it kind of spares you from the sucker-punch to the liver after your second piece :).
The most wonderful damp chocolate cake a'la Nigella Lawson:
225 g soft butter
375 g dark muscovado sugar (I think I'll actually use a bit less next time, maybe 325 - 350 g).
2 large eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
100g dark chocolate (I used the 70% one)
1 tsp of baking-powder (baking-soda)
250 ml of boiling water
Beat the two eggs.
Cut up the butter and let it soften for a while. Then add the sugar and mix well with a wooden spoon or an electric hand-mixer until it is creamed.
Turn on the oven to preheat to 190C.
Melt the chocolate over some boiling water.
Add the beaten eggs and vanilla to the butter-sugar mix and beat them in well. Now fold in the melted and slightly cooled chocolate and blend well (it has to be nicely combined, but not 'an airy mess').
Add the baking-soda to the flour and get your boiling water ready, now start adding in flour and water, alternately spoon by spoon until you have a smooth and liquid batter.
Line the oven-tin with baking paper and butter the paper. Pour in the batter and bake for 30 minutes, then turn down the heat to 170C and bake for 15 more minutes. It has to be a little squidgy inside.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin before turning it out.
My mom didn't have a loaf-tin then (she's now of course bought it), so we made it in a regular cake tin and as it wasn't as deep, we reduced the cooking time to 20 minutes at 190C and 10 minutes at 170 C and it came out perfect.
Um... just writing this up has given me a major chocolate craving again...