Friday, May 17, 2024

Dense Chocolate Cake


I got this Nigella Lawson recipe from Food 52’s Genius Recipes, which I bought from a used book store (used cookbooks are practically free, right?). I also found it online here. It is for a squidgy loaf cake, almost a pudding cake, that is intensely chocolaty. The addition of so much water makes for a very runny batter, but the cake bakes up moist and, dare I say, perfect – as in, exactly what it set out to be. I simply added a pinch of kosher salt (written below) and baked the cake a tad longer than called for.

1 cup lactose-free butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. best bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 pinch kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. boiling water

Heat oven to 375 °F, put in a baking sheet in case of sticky drips later, and grease and line a 9x5-inch loaf pan. The lining is important, as this is a very damp cake: use parchment paper or one of those loaf-pan-shaped paper liners. (The original recipe said it might leave you with a bit of excess batter, so that you should bake it into a mini loaf pan or muffin tin, but I did not have this issue.)

Cream the butter and sugar, either with a wooden spoon or with an electric hand-held mixer, then add the eggs and vanilla, beating in well. Next, fold in the melted and now slightly cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but being careful not to overbeat. You want the ingredients combined: You don't want a light, airy mass.

Then gently add the flour, to which you've added the baking soda and salt, alternately spoon by spoon, with the boiling water until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter. Pour into the lined loaf pan. (Note: Don't let this batter come closer than 1 inch from the rim of the cake pan or it risks overflowing. Pour any excess into a greased mini loaf pan or muffin pan and start testing for doneness at 20 minutes.)

Bake the cake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 °F and continue to cook for another 15 minutes (I baked mine a little longer). The cake will still be a bit squidgy inside, so an inserted cake tester or skewer won't come out completely clean.

Place the loaf pan on a rack, and leave to get completely cold before turning it out. (Like gingerbread, it improves the next day.) Don't worry if it sinks in the middle: indeed, it will do so, because it's such a dense and damp cake.

No comments: