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Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake

by . Featured in FEAST
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Introduction

This cake is not named for the bypass you might feel you'd need after eating it, but in honour of the four choc-factors that comprise its glory: cocoa to make the cake; chocolate chips or morsels to fold into it; a chocolate syrup to drench it once out of the oven; flakily sliced dark chocolate to top it before slicing.

I love this for tea, even for weekend breakfast, or late at night when its melting squidginess tends to fall darkly on to my white sheets - and I don't care. It's always wonderful as a pudding: put it on the table, ready to slice, alongside a bowl of strawberries and another of creme fraiche.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

This cake is not named for the bypass you might feel you'd need after eating it, but in honour of the four choc-factors that comprise its glory: cocoa to make the cake; chocolate chips or morsels to fold into it; a chocolate syrup to drench it once out of the oven; flakily sliced dark chocolate to top it before slicing.

I love this for tea, even for weekend breakfast, or late at night when its melting squidginess tends to fall darkly on to my white sheets - and I don't care. It's always wonderful as a pudding: put it on the table, ready to slice, alongside a bowl of strawberries and another of creme fraiche.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake
Photo by James Merrell

Ingredients

Yields: 10 generous slices

Metric Cups

For the Cake

  • 200 grams plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 275 grams caster sugar
  • 175 grams soft unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 80 millilitres sour cream
  • 125 millilitres boiling water
  • 175 grams dark chocolate chips (unless you prefer milk)

For the Syrup

  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 125 millilitres water
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • 25 grams dark chocolate (from a thick bar)

For the Cake

  • 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1⅓ cups superfine sugar
  • 1½ sticks soft unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (unless you prefer milk)

For the Syrup

  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate (from a thick bar)

Method

  1. Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all ingredients can come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/170°C/150°C Fan/325ºF, putting in a baking sheet as you do so, and line a 900g / 2lb loaf tin (mine measures 21 x 11cm and 7.5cm deep / 9½ x 4½ inches and 3 inches deep and the cooking times are based on that) with greased foil - making sure there are no tears - and leave an overhang all round. Or use a silicon tin.
  3. Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream into the processor and blitz till a smooth, satiny brown batter. Scrape down with a rubber spatula and process again while pouring the boiling water down the funnel. Switch it off then remove the lid and the well-scraped double-bladed knife and, still using your rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips or morsels.
  4. Scrape and pour this beautiful batter into the prepared loaf tin and slide into the oven, cooking for about 1 hour. When it's ready, the loaf will be risen and split down the middle and a cake-tester, or a fine skewer, will pretty well come out clean. But this is a damp cake so don't be alarmed at a bit of stickiness in evidence; rather, greet it.
  5. Not long before the cake is due out of the oven - say when it's had about 45-50 minutes - put the syrup ingredients of cocoa, water and sugar into a small saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. You may find it needs a little longer: what you want is a reduced liquid, that's to say a syrup, though I often take it a little further, so that the sugar caramelizes and the syrup has a really dark, smokey chocolate intensity.
  6. Take the cake out of the oven and sit it on a cooling rack and, still in its tin, pierce here and there with a cake tester. Then pour the syrup as evenly as possible, which is not very, over the surface of the cake. It will run to the sides of the tin, but some will have been absorbed in the middle.
  7. Let the cake become completely cold and then slip out of its tin, removing the foil as you do so. Sit on an oblong or other plate. Now take your bar of chocolate, wrapped in foil if you haven't got much of its wrapper left, and cut with a heavy sharp knife, so that it splinters and flakes and falls in slices of varying thickness and thinness.
  8. I've specified a weight, but really go by eye: when you think you've got enough to scatter over the top of the loafcake, stop slicing. Sprinkle these chocolate splinters over the top of the sticky surface of the cake.
  1. Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all ingredients can come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/170°C/150°C Fan/325ºF, putting in a baking sheet as you do so, and line a 900g / 2lb loaf tin (mine measures 21 x 11cm and 7.5cm deep / 9½ x 4½ inches and 3 inches deep and the cooking times are based on that) with greased foil - making sure there are no tears - and leave an overhang all round. Or use a silicon tin.
  3. Put the flour, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream into the processor and blitz till a smooth, satiny brown batter. Scrape down with a rubber spatula and process again while pouring the boiling water down the funnel. Switch it off then remove the lid and the well-scraped double-bladed knife and, still using your rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips or morsels.
  4. Scrape and pour this beautiful batter into the prepared loaf tin and slide into the oven, cooking for about 1 hour. When it's ready, the loaf will be risen and split down the middle and a cake-tester, or a fine skewer, will pretty well come out clean. But this is a damp cake so don't be alarmed at a bit of stickiness in evidence; rather, greet it.
  5. Not long before the cake is due out of the oven - say when it's had about 45-50 minutes - put the syrup ingredients of cocoa, water and sugar into a small saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. You may find it needs a little longer: what you want is a reduced liquid, that's to say a syrup, though I often take it a little further, so that the sugar caramelizes and the syrup has a really dark, smokey chocolate intensity.
  6. Take the cake out of the oven and sit it on a cooling rack and, still in its tin, pierce here and there with a cake tester. Then pour the syrup as evenly as possible, which is not very, over the surface of the cake. It will run to the sides of the tin, but some will have been absorbed in the middle.
  7. Let the cake become completely cold and then slip out of its tin, removing the foil as you do so. Sit on an oblong or other plate. Now take your bar of chocolate, wrapped in foil if you haven't got much of its wrapper left, and cut with a heavy sharp knife, so that it splinters and flakes and falls in slices of varying thickness and thinness.
  8. I've specified a weight, but really go by eye: when you think you've got enough to scatter over the top of the loafcake, stop slicing. Sprinkle these chocolate splinters over the top of the sticky surface of the cake.

Tell us what you think

What 26 Others have said

  • I have lost count of the times I have made this gorgeous cake. It is decadent and rich, and celebratory and practical all at once. It has a beautiful texture, and is the perfect thing to take to loved ones on birthdays or special occasions. Tip: if you ever happen to be making the Tiramisu Layer Cake from "Nigella Christmas", this cake is perfect as its base!

    Posted by joshv41680 on 14th June 2021
  • The best chocolate loaf cake I’ve ever tried. Thanks, Nigella.

    Posted by Flops88 on 21st February 2021
  • I made this as a birthday cake for my sister. It was a rich, dense, chocolatey success.

    Posted by BunnyMayfair on 16th January 2021
  • Happy accident here as added the extra chocolate to the syrup mixture instead of reading the instructions properly. OMG this looks and tastes amazing. Now I know this works I think I will experiment a little as a third eaten already devoured and it is only my lovely husband and myself in the house. Love the idea of the cream egg from another post so thinking strawberries go with chocolate so thinking strawberry syrup. Mmmmm.......

    Posted by Scottishbaker on 11th April 2020
  • SO soft and light, but incredibly rich and moorish! It so hard to decide which of Nigella's over the top chocolate cake recipes I like best...this is one of the best!

    Posted by Waffle45 on 12th January 2020
  • This is a fabulous cake - so decadent and over the top. The recipe is so easy to follow and easy to put together... thank you. Made two today as dessert for 18 people and they loved it.

    Posted by NiluferDM on 11th May 2019
  • The cake is delicious! It is actually quite addictive. Once you start eating it, it’s hard to stop! This is going to become a firm favourite.

    Posted by Lucas1951 on 14th January 2019
  • Amazing cake ! Best Recipe amongst all the chocolate cakes that i have ever made.Have been an admirer of Nigella's recipes for ages now.The only change i made in the recipe is that i reduced the sugar both in the cake and in the syrup.I am in India and probably our sugar here is sweeter.

    Posted by meenz on 23rd November 2017
  • Simply amazing. I melted a Cadbury Creme Egg into the syrup and it turn out fabulously.

    Posted by Lechwn on 21st January 2017
  • I make this cake often and it's always perfect. People are actually disappointed when it disappears and they don't get a piece! Lovely texture and looks plain but tastes sensational. Thanks Nigella. Perfection as always!

    Posted by JaynieTee on 25th August 2015
  • OMG ... this cake is super easy to make and even more EASY to eat ... I made it for a supper party not every one likes puds so thought this would be good just as a stand by ... there was only crumbs left on the plate .. everyone thought it was delicious :-)

    Posted by Pauline Clewley on 28th January 2015
  • I miei figli adorano questa torta che io chiamo "Meraviglia al cioccolato"!

    Posted by MariG on 3rd December 2014
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