Callie’s Double Chocolate Loaf Cake

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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Callie’s Double Chocolate Loaf Cake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
Yield: 8 large slices

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.

 

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A New Year Begins!

2015 had its ups and its downs.  A rough year in many ways; a beautiful year in others.  But enough about that – today we’re starting a fresh, new year with new possibilities to be harnessed!  I’m optimistic about what lies ahead in 2016, what adventures I’ll have, what images I’ll capture, what new lessons I’ll learn.  And I’m excited about what the kitchen will hold!

With my great love of food, I have a list of New Year’s resolutions that center on culinary innovation, learning, my favorite books to devour, and excitement for what lies ahead this year!

Our Garden // Flour and FancyVeggie Love
In 2015, I decided to return to vegetarianism.    I was a vegetarian for 10 years – from ages 15 to 25 – but fell back into the meat chomping of my younger years.  This year, I decided to embrace the plant-based and nix the flesh once again.  My resolution for 2016 is to continue to broaden my veggie lovin’ palate with new creations and new cooking techniques.  For example, I want to explore quinoa more and start making more homemade vinaigrettes.  (No, I’m not taking down the few recipes with meat in them here, but I’ll be focusing solely on plant-based fare moving forward.)

9781607749387
Let Loose with Juice
I’ve been spending a great deal of time researching making smoothies from fresh produce.  I’ve been reading books like Green Smoothies – check this one out, such a great cookbook! – and others to learn all the best tricks and refine my own smoothie making.  In 2016, I want to make more smoothies, especially in the summer when my garden is green, lush, and producing!

Bread Bounty // Flour and Fancy
Boom, Boom, Bread!

I’m a great lover of quick breads and bundt dough, but I haven’t spent a great deal of time working on more artisanal breads.  I want to dive into that side of baking.  I read the Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook in 2015 for multicultural inspiration as I embark on my bread baking journey, and it provoked my excitement surrounding making hearty, delicious breads and stepping out of my quick bread comfort zone.

 

Our Garden // Flour and FancyGarden Overdrive
This year, I want to really push myself to have the best garden yet!  2015 was a great gardening year with plump watermelons, more squash than we could eat or give away, and a tomato explosion!  In 2016, I want to explore berries more and try to explain our fruit crops.  And more lettuce variety.  I’m ready to conquer the soil this summer!

Sunday Morning Pancakes // Flour and FancyBreakfast Comes First
I was not a breakfast fan most of my life, and today, I’ve changed my outlook but am still known to just drink a coffee or chai latte and move on with my day.  I was denying myself one of eating’s greatest pleasures: a bountiful breakfast.  In 2015, I harnessed a new love for oatmeal with lots of fresh berries, a hint of maple syrup, and a handful of flax seeds.  This year, I want to continue exploring and further developing a love for breakfast – and always carving out time for this meal everyday.

Happy 2016 to all my readers, and thank you for starting a new year with me and my writings and photography on Flour and Fancy.

Garden Beginnings / Flour and Fancy

Note:
I received copies from the publisher of Hot Bread Kitchen and Green Smoothies to review.  The opinions expressed surrounding these items are my own.