Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

This cake is everything. Rich, dense, moist, chocolatey. Afternoon snack, breakfast, dessert --- this cake is perfect ANYTIME. Serve with lightly whipped cream or a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream. Ice cold glass of milk, optional. I would strongly advise making two -- one for you, and one for the rest of the family. Trust me on this one.

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

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Serves: 8 Total Time: 1 hour


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted (or semisweet if you like things sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoon boiling water



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put a baking sheet on a lower rack in case of sticky drips later. Grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper. The lining is important, as this is a very damp cake; use parchment paper or one of those loaf-pan-shaped paper liners.


In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Then add the eggs and vanilla, beating well. Next, fold in the melted and slightly cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but be careful not to overbeat. You want the ingredients just combined.


Mix the flour and baking soda and gently add the flour mixture to the butter, alternating adding the flour mixture with the boiling water until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter. Pour into the lined loaf pan.


Don’t let the batter come closer than 1 inch from the rim of the loaf pan or you’ll run the risk of the batter overflowing. I always have excess batter and use the excess to make cupcakes. Just half the cooking time. It should make 6 average size cupcakes. Sometimes, though, I stand over the remaining batter with a spoon and only have enough batter for 1 or 2 cupcakes. Don’t judge. The batter is that good, so you can imagine how good the cake will taste.


Bake the loaf for 30 minutes. Then turn down the oven to 325 degrees F and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. The cake will still be squidgy inside, so don’t bother to check with a toothpick. Just trust me that the cake will be done.


Place the loaf pan on a rack and leave it to get completely cold before turning it out. Lawson often leaves it for a day or so, because it just keeps getting better.


Serve it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack or anytime you want something sweet. I recommend a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream, or both. Up to you. Either way this cake won’t last long, so you may want to make two.


From Food52 Genius Recipes/Nigella Lawson

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