Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake
Adapted from Nigella Kitchen
Don’t be fooled by appearances – because while this cake looks like a heavy, dense block of chocolate (never a bad thing, but still) it is surprisingly light and fresh. If you love the chocolate orange combination, this is made for you.
The crumb is not as fine as that of a pound cake, but it is also nowhere near the heavier crumb of a quickbread. It’s somewhere in the middle and pretty near perfect for tea time.
And if you don’t drink afternoon tea, what are you waiting for? It’s total permission to add one more meal to your day! Brit-style too.
Two interesting notes about the taste – one is that there is no salt in this recipe, which is something I’ve noticed in many of Nigella’s baking recipes. I suppose a bit of testing is in order – I would love to know if salt really does make a difference to baked goods.
My other baking idol, Joanne Chang, insists that it does, so I wouldn’t commit either way. But I do love that Nigella is pretty great at stripping a recipe down to its basics.
The other thing is that this cake is not overly sweet. In fact, by American standards it’s probably not sweet enough.
I like the subtlety of the sweetness here – it feels like you’re having a treat but not something that screams Dessert with a capital D.
So there you have it – a dense-looking block of cake that’s anything but dense both in terms of texture and flavor.
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temp
2 tablespoons Lyle’s Golden syrup (or dark corn syrup)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (the good stuff)
2 eggs, room temperature
zest of 2 oranges
juice of 1 orange
Preheat oven to 325.
Grease a non-stick 2 pound (9 x 5) loaf tin liberally with butter. If you don’t have non-stick, I would line the pan with parchment, and then butter. Liberally.
In a medium bowl, measure out your flour, sift in the cocoa powder and add the baking soda. Mix everything well.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter together with the golden syrup just until incorporated, then add the brown sugar. Beat until light brown and fluffy.
With the mixer on medium-low, add a tablespoon of the flour mixture, wait until it’s mixed in and then crack in the egg. Beat.
Repeating this process, add a couple more spoonfuls of flour, then crack in the second egg.
Continue adding the flour in spoonfuls with the mixer on medium until all the flour is mixed in.
Add the orange zest and juice. Beat again. The mixture may look slightly curdled once the juice is in, but do not worry. All is well.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin.
Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out with a few sticky crumbs clinging to it.
Makes 12 non-dense slices.