utterly phenomenal. if you ever take anything away from this ol’ blog, take this recipe and make it. I baked it (almost) wholesale with instruction from my favorite domestic spinmeister-o’-words, nigella lawson, and it is the stuff of my chocolate-craving dreams.
deep and dark, and the most satisfying chocolate cake I’ve had – a tightly-bound fine crumb, the lightness of a good butter cake, the rich darkness of good bittersweet chocolate, and it keeps like a dream. and with a name like that, how can you resist? I certainly couldn’t.
it’s a tad of a cheat, because it’s not so much four different types of chocolate, more four different components that all utilize chocolate – but really, that don’t matter. what’s more, the recipe needs no special ingredients, and nothing expensive to whip up – can you tell I’m in love?
you start with a mound of golden castor sugar and soft butter – there’s no space for abstinence and miserliness here – before finishing the batter off with some deep brown cocoa. then you chop up some chocolate to fold in –
and it bakes up with a lovely crack, high in the loaf pan and perfuming the house with chocolate. poke a couple of holes in the loaf, pour on that dark chocolate-enriched caramel that sets like a krispy-kreme type glaze – and serve with some chocolate shards and ice cream for tea time.
quadruple chocolate loaf (adapted from nigella lawson)
200g all-purpose flour
0.5 tsp baking soda
50g cocoa powder
275g castor sugar (I think you could bring this down to 240g, and I used golden castor)
175g unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
80ml sour cream*
125ml boiling water
175g buttersweet chcolate chips (I chopped up a 150g bar, and it was plenty)
1 tsp cocoa powder
100g castor sugar
chocolate shards for sprinkling, optional
- preheat your oven to 170C, and line a 21x11x7.5cm tin with aluminium foil. I don’t usually care about tin sizes – but I think it’s important to note here that it is a lot of batter, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t use a shallow loaf than this – and the aluminium foil makes it so much easier to lift up and remove from the cake.
- if you have a food processor, place the flour, baking soda, 50g cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream into the bowl, and process until smooth and shiny. pour in the boiling water and process; now stir in the chocolate chips, and pour into your prepared pan.
- if you don’t have a food processor, cream your butter and sugar until smooth, then add your eggs and mix on high until well-blended. add the vanilla and sour cream and mix well; now sift in the cocoa with the flour and baking soda. fold in the flour, and pour in the boiling water all at once, mixing quickly (but do not overwork the batter). pour this into your prepared pan.
- bake the cake for an hour, until it cracks in the middle and a tester in the centre comes out clean. don’t be too anxious – it’s a deep cake – but also make sure it doesn’t overbake and dry out.
- at about the 50 minute mark, start making the syrup. place the teaspoon of cocoa in a pan with the sugar and water, boiling for five minutes. you will want it to thicken so that it becomes a syrup, but I actually let it boil a little too much – because then it became caramelly and delicious. if it starts to harden on you (like candy), just add water and continue heating – it all melts down beautifully in the end. I advise going dark and cooking long rather than not – the flavor is incredibly more complex that way.
- when the cake is ready – which is to say it has a beautiful crack down the middle and a cake tester exits the middle clean, remove and cool (still in the pan) on the rack. poke the cake right down to the bottom (I like a satay stick or uncooked spaghetti) everywhere, and pour your syrup over. it will look like too much, and won’t drizzle neatly – but just try your best.
- after it has cooled completely, remove from the pan and foil, and serve in thick, generous wedges. it’s fantastic with a bit of ice-cream and some grated chocolate atop.
* sour cream – as with most specialty dairy products in singapore – is pretty expensive, and I’ve found a good baking substitute. for every 1 cup of sour cream, you can use a three-quarter (0.75) cup of buttermilk** and one-third (0.33) cup of melted butter, whisked together.
** and because buttermilk is also expensive, for every one cup of buttermilk, I use (one cup minus one tablespoon, or 15 tablespoons) of milk with 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, leaving the mixture to stand for ten minutes before using.