Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

I was superbly excited when I finally got my grubby hands on Nigella Lawson's 'How To Be A Domestic Goddess'. Truth be told, I don't think she is that great a chef nor do her recipes and methods inspire that much confidence as far as weight and health are concerned. But I gotta admit, I love her spunk. I love how she is unabashed and unapologetic about what foods turn her on. And I like her delivery of the above, her quirks and lack of patience, her dark English jibes. The thing I love most? It's the way she describes her methodology and consistencies. The journalists were onto something when they said her makes love to her food.

I thumbed across this particular recipe and felt my knees go weak. This is what I have spent 20 years (ok ok.. 20 + a lot more years) seeking for... the answer to all Ails, the better than a miracle, Miracle, the Romeo to a Juliet, the PERFECT CHOCOLATE CAKE! The recipe intrigued me and I could almost taste how perfectly soft and moist it would be because it uses all 250ml of boiling water!

Everything went like clockwork and I was almost assured of success because if you had watched Nigella's shows, you would quickly realise that she doesn't have much of a knack for folding flour nor the patience to take things a step at a time. Most of her recipes are done with appliances.
Need to mix ingredients with a wooden spoon to a crumblike texture? Blitz it. Need to mix ingredients from wet to dry? Blitz it.
Need to stretch out the dough? Blitz it.
So in such fail safe, hardy conditions, how could I fail?

I tend to have quite a bit of problem with foreign recipes because firstly, the humidity in Asia tends to kill most methods such as creaming or icing a cake. Secondly, I have a temperamental oven that blows me off in pufts of smoke whenever I crank temperature up or down.
Yes yes... it is time to buy a new one. I am always open to donations! =)

Well... the only dreary part of this cake would be having to incorporate by folding flour and boiling water, spoonful by spoonful into the intially sticky mixture. I was worried about over-folding and wasn't looking forward to a loaf of chocolate rock for my efforts. At the final stage, when the mixture was quite liquified, I added 2 tablespoons of boiling water and before mixing it in thoroughly to the mixture, I added a tablespoon of flour. Quite expectedly, the flour reacted to the liquid rather badly and started sulking in little lumps. Ye Gawds!

After much pacing, placating and cajoling my cranky oven, the cake was done. I almost wept with chocolate joy after my first bite. I was as near heaven as any sinner will know! You know how as a kid, one would think SaraLee is quite da bomb? Well... this is my adult 'Da Bomb'. It is moist and soft beyond comparison. Nigella wasn't wrong when she placed this as her first recipe in the Chocolate section.

I modified it to my tastebuds on my second attempt, I reduced 375gms of Dark Muscovado Sugar to about 280-300gms, ensuring that the sugar comes straight from the fridge and is not lumpy. And I reduced the water from 250ml to 200ml. And of course, I went out and bought me some patience when folding in flour and boiling water.

Take a look... the pics may not say much (kill the photographer NOT the author of the recipe) so I can only encourage you to experiment with this recipe once. Just Once... and revel in the gorgeously dark trove of a loaf, and feel the velvet silkiness sliding down your throat. Everyone who tried this thinks I'm a master chef. For that... I shall never ever reveal the recipe! *Evil Glint in Eye*
You may give me your firstborn after you have tried it... =P

No comments: