Quality will out: Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake (Divine 85% Chocolate & Billington’s Sugar)

23 August 2010

By guest blogger Kavey Eats

Divine 85% Dark Chocolate

When I heard that Divine had launched a new 85% Dark Chocolate bar I immediately started thinking about recipes I could use it in.

It’s a surprisingly good eating bar – despite the high cocoa content it’s neither unpleasantly bitter nor overly crumbly (due to reduced fat content).

But I really wanted to cook with it.

Billington's Dark Muscavado Sugar

I’d also been wanting to cook with the Billington’s sugars I’d had in the store cupboard for a few months.



The recipe I chose is Nigella Lawson’s dense chocolate loaf cake. Simple, reliable and absolutely delicious, it’s even more of a winner when made with Divine 85% chocolate and Billington’s dark muscovado sugar.

I took some into work and, as well as the normal cakeitude (cake gratitude) – which would probably come my way even if I took in a shop-bought mediocrity – I received some proper glowing compliments.

A number of people showed real interest in the recipe, keen on the rich chocolate hit and curious about what gave it that deep caramel flavour (the unrefined dark muscovado sugar). I was even asked whether I might consider bringing some in every day!

Nigella’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
(Using Divine 85% Dark Chocolate & Billington’s Dark Muscovado Sugar)

225 grams soft unsalted butter (I think mine was probably lightly salted, that’s what I normally have in the fridge)
375 grams Billington’s dark muscovado sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100 grams Divine 85% dark chocolate, melted
200 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
250 ml boiling water
23 x 13 x 7 cm loaf tin
I’m pretty sure we used lightly salted butter, that’s what’s usually in my fridge.
The original recipe calls for “best dark chocolate” which I would imagine is commonly interpreted as 70%.
•    Preheat oven to 190 degrees/ gas mark 5.
•    Grease and line the loaf tin. (Nigella adds that lining the tin is very important as this is a “very damp cake” but as we used silicone loaf moulds, we just buttered and floured generously.
•    Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the flour.
•    Cream the butter and sugar then add the eggs and vanilla extract, beating in well.
•    Fold in the melted and slightly cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but not to overbeat. (Nigella advises that you want the ingredients well combined, not a light airy mass).
•    Gently add the flour (and bicarb) alternatively, spoon by spoon, with the boiling water until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter.
•    Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes.
•    Turn the oven down to 170 degrees/ gas mark 3 and continue to 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.
•    Place the loaf tin on a rack and leave to cool completely before turning out.
•    Nigella also mentions that she often leaves the cake for a day or so as, like gingerbread, it improves. She also points out that the cake often sags in the middle as it’s dense and damp.