Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake


Have you all heard of Food52? It’s a website that houses everything from seasonal recipes to kitchen decor. Let’s just say, when I found it, I felt like I had come home. Every morning I start my day by checking in on what’s new and what everyone is talking about. Basically, I’m not just drinking their Kool-aid I’m guzzling it (also they would serve more of a thyme lemonade). Well, recently their executive editor, Kristen Miglore, came out with a Food52 cookbook. It is called ‘Genius Recipes‘. She curated (over several years) a book of the best version of certain recipes. Hence the title. I just received my copy in the mail last week. While pawing through, many things caught my eye. A recipe for a carrot and avocado salad from one of my favorite restaurants, for one. Then I saw ‘Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake‘.



Nigella Lawson can make a moist cake. I did change one thing. It calls for vanilla extract and I used coconut extract instead. I love the combination of chocolate with coconut, so I couldn’t resist. I was extremely happy with the result. It left a subtle hint of coconut throughout. There is something very cathartic about watching chocolate melt in front of your eyes, while you stir. It’s one of my favorite sights. You should know that when you take this cake out of the oven and it starts to cool, the center will drop. That is supposed to happen. It doesn’t leave for a very photogenic cake, but the flavor makes up for it.


Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

adapted from Genius Recipes

Makes 8-10 Slices

  • cup soft unsalted butter
  • 1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • teaspoon coconut extract
  • ounces best bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 1/3cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
  1. Heat the oven to 375°F, put in a baking sheet in case of any drips, and grease and line a 9×5-inch loaf pan. The lining is important as this is a very damp cake: use parchment or a loaf-pan-shaped liner.
  2. 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.
  3. Then gently add the flour, to which you’ve added the baking soda, alternately spoon by spoon, with the boiling water until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter. Pour into the lined loaf pan, and bake for 30 minutes. (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 smaller cake or muffin pan.)
  4. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. The cake will still be a bit squidgy inside, so an inserted cake tester or skewer won’t come out completely clean.
  5. Place the loaf pan on a rack, and leave to get completely cold before turning it out.



2 thoughts on “Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

  1. Looks great! I had an older friend (one of those ‘I’ve been cooking for decades’ kind of friends) tell me that the sinking in the middle of the cake is an indication that there’s too much sugar. Another person I knew routinely deducted 20% of the sugar from Nigella’s recipes as he thought they were too sweet. I wonder if that would work with this cake? I haven’t tried theory out yet. Besides, Nigella often covers the ‘dips’ in her cakes with cream – and who can argue with that! 🙂

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