Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake - Nigella Lawson

Recipe by Sherrie-pie

I love this cake. As Nigella says: "the essence of all that is desirable in chocolate - dark intensity isn't toyed with nor upstaged by any culinary elaboration. The plainest of plain loaf cakes - damp, heady, aromatic!" What can I say? Be sure to line the tin well.

Top Review by Doobykat

This is one of my all time favourite chocolate cakes. The recipe has however needed a few tweaks to get it just right. Try subbing 50g of the flour with 50g of cocoa powder for a more chocolatey taste. Try reducing the sugar down to 325g and using half dark, half light muscovado sugar (or half caster sugar) to lighten the taste. And finally, I get the best results by baking for 50-55mins at a constant 175c, rather than using the two temps suggested in the original recipe! Happy baking :)

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/gas5. Grease and line a 23x13x7cm cm (9x5x3in) loaf tin. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating in well.
  2. Next fold in the melted and cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but do not overbeat.
  3. You want the ingredients combined: you don't want a light airy mass. Gently add the flour, to which you've added the bicarb, alternately spoon by spoon, with 250 ml of boiling water until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter.
  4. Pour into the lined loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 170C/gas mark 3 and cook for another 15 minutes. The cake will still be a bit squidgy inside, so an inserted cake tester or skewer won't come out completely clean.
  5. Plaace the loaf tin on a rack and leave to get completely cold before turning it out. It improves if left for a day or so before eating. This cake will probably sink in the middle because of its denseness.

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