Did I omit the “eat more chocolate cake” part of my new year’s resolutions list? Oops.
I’m a long-time fan of Nigella Lawson. You know Nigella – the dark-haired British baking and cooking sensation. Her recipes are dynamic and multifaceted. Nothing short of perfect. She even released a cookbook entitled How to Be a Domestic Goddess. That’s enough to make me a lifelong fan.
But before I was following Nigella’s edible works or drooling over her cookbook collection, I was baking my favorite of all her recipes: the dense chocolate loaf cake. Then, I moved on to creating my own version with her genius as the foundation.
This cake is everything. Everything a chocolate cake should be, presented in a no-nonsense, simple way. This cake doesn’t serve beautifully. When it bakes, cracks appear like rivers cutting through dense earth. It is as black as a dark, winter night.
This is the cake you’re sneaking into the kitchen at 2:00 a.m. to get a nibble of. Served with a spoon alongside your favorite ice cream or fresh fruit, it promises pleasure in every bite.
Immediately after making this cake the first time, I began experimenting with the recipe and making it my own. I made a number of tweeks – removing much of the flour and substituting with cocoa, experimenting with alternative flours, increasing the chocolate and trying different varieties.
I was very interested in baking with alternative flours and began experimenting with much-loved recipes that I repeatedly cook and bake with. I settled on coconut flour for this cake. Part of my inspiration came from this book: The Whole Coconut Cookbook.
This ode to the coconut by Natalie Fraise contains delicious ways to transform one of my favorite fruits into any meal. The book inspired me to start integrating more coconut into my baking. While I loved the recipes in the book and have fun making them, I also wanted to work on integrating coconut into my own recipe collection. Naturally, I started with one of my favorite chocolate cakes.
The result: my version of a delicious Nigella classic that is flavorful and also happens to be gluten-free. (It’s also easy to adapt to vegan baking – see the note below the recipe.)
I call it Callie’s Double Chocolate Loaf Cake. This cake is easy to execute at any baking level and yields one cake with an appearance like an extra thick brownie. But don’t be fooled – brownies ain’t got nothin’ on this cake.
I love a piece of this cake with a tall glass of vanilla soy milk and good book.
Callie’s Double Chocolate Loaf Cake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
Yield: 8 large slices
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
- 1 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 8 ounces dark chocolate – I also like mixing up the flavor profile here, such as adding peppermint bark or orange dark chocolate.
- 2/3 cup cocoa
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup plus two tablespoons boiling water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar using a standing mixer or a long spoon and some elbow grease. Then, add the eggs and vanilla paste, blending well. Fold in the melted chocolate until just combined. Don’t overheat!
- In a separate bowl, combine cocoa, coconut flour, and baking soda. Then, add the dry mixture intermittently with the boiling water – 1/4 cup of each at a time until incorporated. Let stand for 20 minutes.
- Pour into the prepared loaf pan, leaving one inch at the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake begins to separate from the sides and the top appears hardened. (Think the look of baked brownies.)
- Place loaf pan on a rack and allow to cool completely. Be cautious if you attempt to remove from the pan for serving – this cake does not have a highly stable structure and can crumble.
Make It Vegan!
To make this cake vegan-friendly, substitute a flax egg for each egg called for. Use a vegan margarine instead of butter. Also, ensure that the dark chocolate used is dairy-free. (The best dark chocolate always is!)
Note: I received a copy of The Whole Coconut Cookbook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed surrounding this book are my own.