Friday, July 17, 2015

Chocolate Loaf Cake

When the mood strikes and you want a slice of plain cake, chocolate usually comes to mind.  Loaf cakes often settle this desire quite well.  The larger round shape for cakes is likely modeled from ancient bread and persisted through their highest point of popularity in the Victorian era.  But in modern times, cakes began to take on many different forms as they morphed into muffins, cupcakes and loaves - different versions that we can enjoy and not feel like we’re subject to any sort of penance.  

This cake has a good buzz of chocolate with some spice to round out the cocoa.  It has a soft texture and isn't too rich or too heavy.  I dressed it up with some chocolate glaze for a more formal presentation but it’s really a simple and straightforward cake that can be enjoyed plain or with a light dusting of powdered sugar.  Easy peasy.

If it’s the simple pleasure of a nice slice of plain cake you desire, fire up that oven and get going.  You’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from Chocolate Loaf Cake.

Bench notes:
- I used natural (not dutched) cocoa powder.
- Mixing cocoa powder with hot water helps to “bloom” the flavor.
- For the frosting, stir slowly to avoid cooling it down too fast before it's well blended and creating air bubbles.
- Add 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts to the batter for a contrast of texture and nutty flavor.

Chocolate Loaf Cake
Makes 1 loaf

1 1/4 cup (6 1/4 oz) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (1 3/4 oz) cocoa powder
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (5 oz) hot water
6 oz (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter @ room temperature
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) dark brown sugar, packed
3 eggs @ room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream

3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup (2 oz) heavy cream

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8 1/2” x 4 1/2” loaf pan and line with a piece of parchment paper large enough to form an overhang along both sides of the length of the pan.

Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and spices together.  In a separate bowl, whisk the cocoa and hot water together until thoroughly blended and smooth.

Cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl and add eggs one at a time, making sure that each one is incorporated before adding the next and scraping down the bowl as necessary.
Add the cocoa mixture and vanilla and combine thoroughly.  Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with half the sour cream and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix just until well blended.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and gently tap the bottom of the pan on the work surface to remove any air bubbles.

Bake for 50 - 55 minutes or until a toothpick tests with a few small moist crumbs adhering.  Place on a wire rack and cool 10 minutes.  Run a thin bladed knife around the edges and lift out the cake using the parchment to assist.  Gently peel off the parchment and invert again.  Cool completely.

For the glaze, place the finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Bring the cream to a simmer.  Pour immediately over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute so the heat penetrates.  Stir gently in concentric circles until smooth.  Frost the cake when it's thick enough to spread.


Odelle said...

Looks and sounds delicious, can't wait to try it!
Many thanks for all the superb recipes that you share.
Will let you know how it turns out...
Odelle Smith (U.K.)

pastry studio said...

Thanks a million, Odelle!

Soph said...

AMAZING TASTE!!! Best chocolate cake I have made!!!
I got congratulated by everyone at the party.
Much obliged

pastry studio said...

That is fabulous, Soph! Thanks so much for posting your feedback. Happy Holidays to you!