Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chocolate-on-Chocolate Loaf Cake

After a deliciously fruit-filled, flaky summer full of hand pies, and galettes, and hand pies (again!), it's time for a different sort of dessert. A dessert with a bit more heft. A dessert with chocolate.

A came across a picture of this chocolate loaf a few weeks ago, and just had to have it. I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it was Nigella Lawson's promise of "squidgy" texture, or the cocoa cake with melted chocolate + chocolate chunks + chocolate syrup, or the fact that it looked like it would be absolutely perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. And yes, it totally delivered on all counts. But it's also just kinda fun to take chocolate cake out of the birthday realm, and into your afternoon tea break. And as the rains roll in, we could use a little fun. And chocolate.

And speaking of good old fun, and striking out onto new ground, I had the (soggy) pleasure of spending a recent afternoon with a bunch of folks reenacting the drama of the Oregon Trail. No, not the backbreaking, dysentery-laden, 2,000 mile journey. The video game. Yeah, that one. You can take a listen over at the Northwest News Network.

Chocolate-on-Chocolate Loaf Cake

adapted from Nigella Lawson's Feast, as filtered by Like A Strawberry Milk

1 2/3 cups (200 grams) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
scant half cup (50 grams) cocoa powder
hefty pinch salt

1/3 cup (80 grams) heavy cream
1 cup (175 grams) roughly chopped chocolate, plus additional handfuls set aside if you'd like a chunky cake (optional)

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar (275 grams)
2 eggs

half a cup (125 grams) boiling water

1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
scant 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar

Preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Butter a loaf pan, and line it with parchment paper (seriously, you need both fronts — this cake is a sticker).

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt, and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it's steamy and thinking about simmering. Turn off the heat, and toss the chopped chocolate in the bowl. Let sit for a minute or two to soften the chocolate, then stir until smooth. Let cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together (it doesn't have to be super fluffy). Add the eggs, stir to combine, then add the chocolate mixture. Stir in the flour/cocoa powder, then the boiling water (carefully, of course!). If you're using the reserved chocolate chunks, fold them in as well, then pour the whole mixture into your prepared loaf pan. Bake until a tester almost comes out clean, ~ 1 hour. Remove and let cool.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, stir together the syrup ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat until it's just high enough to maintain a simmer, and cook until it thickens slightly, ~5 minutes. Poke a few holes in the cake with a skewer if you like (if your cake didn't crack on its own accord), then pour the syrup over the top. Let cool fully (overnight is fine too), then slice and serve.


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