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...
INGREDIENTS (FOR CAKE)
100g caster sugar
100g caster sugar
25g dark chocolate (for flakes on top)
- Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all ingredients can come to room temperature.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.