19 February 2010

Carlsberg doesn't make chocolate cake, but if they did it'd probably be the best chocolate cake in the world

I love recipes.  Food TV, magazines, the lifestyle section of the paper, rogue cookbooks floating around peoples' homes, i'll devour them all with an appetite usually reserved for post-match handballers.  If I'm at a house with SkyTV my first port of call is invariably channel 9.  At the dentist it's the back third of the trashy magazines.  At home if I've five minutes to wait, while someone finishes getting ready, it's idle perusement of a cookbook plucked from obscurity on the shelf.  

Sometimes I feel like I should be watching the news, rather than channel 9; reading the paper, rather than the recipe section of Women's Day; reading a novel, rather than Antonio Carluccio's latest.  But, if I did, I wouldn't have found this recipe, for Nigella Lawson's Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake.  The Queen of unabashed decadence in baking, this cake does her proud.  I've made it a few times and it always goes fast.  Even post-match handballers can't walk past it.   

It really is the best chocolate cake ever.  It's more mud cake than tea cake, so beware eating it in polite company, but sooooo good.  I'm not a big fan of chocolate cake, but I'll eat a piece of this one.  A small piece.  It's VERRRRRRY rich and impossibly good.  But enough waxing lyrical about it, here it is...

200g flour                                          
1/2 tsp baking soda
50g cocoa
275g caster sugar
175g soft butter
2 eggs
1 table vanilla extract
80ml ricotta (Nigella used sour cream) - a good couple of dollops
125ml boiling water
175g dark chocolate chips

1 tsp cocoa
125ml water
100g caster sugar
25g dark chocolate (for flakes on top)


  1. Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all ingredients can come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/170°C, putting in a baking sheet as you do so, and line loaf tin (mine measures 21x11cm and 7.5cm deep and the cooking times are based on that) with greased foil – making sure there are no tears – and leave an overhang all round. Or use a silicon tin.
  3. Put the flour, bicarb, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream into the processor and blitz till a smooth, satiny brown batter. Scrape down with a rubber spatula and process again while pouring the boiling water down the funnel. Switch it off then remove the lid and the well-scraped double-bladed knife and, still using your rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Scrape and pour this beautiful batter into the prepared loaf tin and slide into the oven, cooking for about 1 hour. When it’s ready, the loaf will be risen and split down the middle and a cake-tester, or a fine skewer, will pretty well come out clean. But this is a damp cake so don’t be alarmed at a bit of stickiness in evidence; rather, greet it.
  5. Not long before the cake is due out of the oven – say when it’s had about 45–50 minutes – put the syrup ingredients of cocoa, water and sugar into a small saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. You may find it needs a little longer: what you want is a reduced liquid, a syrup.
  6. Take the cake out of the oven and, still in its tin, pierce here and there with a cake tester. Pour the syrup over the surface of the cake. It will run to the sides of the tin, but some will have been absorbed in the middle.
  7. Let the cake become completely cold and then slip out of its tin, removing the foil as you do so. Sit on an oblong or other plate. Now take your bar of chocolate and cut with a heavy sharp knife, so that it splinters and flakes and falls in slices of varying thickness and thinness. Sprinkle these chocolate splinters over the top of cake.


  1. constant struggle to find a decent chocolate cake recipe that will hold well in the fridge (lack of bench space) but this looks like a goer, will have to try it at work tomoro.
    - nice blog by the way my long lost twinnie

  2. Yep, it ought to keep well in the fridge - in fact, it's probably better in the fridge, because then the chocolate on top won't melt. :)