Okay so, do you remember that time last summer when I riled myself up over a certain chocolate loaf cake that nearly had me licking the pages of a certain cookbook? Do you also remember how expensive I mentioned Callebaut chocolate is? How about the part where I stayed up into the wee hours of the dawn baking this cake, only to find that it bubbled over the brim and onto the bottom of my oven? And then the meltdown that followed - the part where I completely lost my head at the sight of my creation scorching away at no less than three hundred and fifty degrees? Hopefully you don't remember, hopefully you've blocked out the hideous image from your brain, I don't want you to lie awake at night, mumbling in your sleep about the sheer terror of it all when you should be in la-la-land singing show-tunes and pretending you're on a date with Edward Cullen. Only he doesn't turn you into a vampire because you love brownies and have no desire to drink type-O for all eternity. Except for that part.
I've been hiding from this terrible, terrible recipe for half a year now, and I've decided I've had enough. I tip-toed around those Key Lime Meltaways last summer, not wanting to succumb to their sunny charm, but I crumbled to their seductive, buttery appeal. I don't want to repeat that again. I don't want to be afraid of these recipes, I want to be friends, spend quality time together, you know - just one friend eating another. I must confess, a huge portion of it was embarrassment, I didn't want to admit that I bombed so badly, that I created such an epic fail in what should be my forte. But hey, pride caused the fall of all mankind, and I don't think we need any more contributions to the cause.
I am not at all superstitious, but I couldn't help but think that if I tried photographing this cake in my second attempt at success, I might jinx myself. The cake might think the lens is stealing its soul. So I waited until it was finished before snapping a quick photo while the cake sat in it's cozy red dish, unsuspecting. Speaking of that red dish, it really saved the day. You see, I considered that this unfortunate incident might not be my fault at all, especially since the original recipe calls to pour it all into a 9 by 5 inch pan which fills it to the very brim without an consideration that cakes grow while they're baking away. How could it not bubble over? So this time, I outsmarted that cake. I poured the majority of the batter into said pan and the rest of it into the smaller dish to bake. Perfect. Except that you have to drop the baking temperature halfway through, and that seemed like it would really throw it off, but it didn't. I baked it the same amount of time as the regular sized cake but took it out about 15 minutes earlier.
Just peek in every now and again to see how it's coming along and take it out when your gut tells you. You must trust yourself. I'll try not to wait so long next time after a recipe beats the crap out of me before I put the gloves (mitts?) back on. Just a warning, this cake will slouch in the center as it cool, it's damp and loaded with chocolate happiness, so don't panic and think the center is raw, it isn't.
Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
Adapted from How to Be a Domestic Goddess
1 cup soft unsalted butter
1 and 2/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces best bittersweet chocolate, melted
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, put in a baking sheet in case of sticky drips later, and grease and line a 9 by five inch loaf pan (and a smaller one!). The lining is important as this is a very damp cake: use parchment or one of those loaf-pan shaped paper liners.
Cream the butter and sugar, either with a wooden spoon or with an electric hand-held mixer, then add the eggs and vanilla, beating in well. Next, fold in the melted and now slightly cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but being careful not to overbeat. You want the ingredients combined: you don't want a light airy mass. Then gently add the flour, to which you've added the baking soda, alternately spoon by spoon, with the boiling water until you have a smooth fairly liquid batter. Pour into the lined loaf pan, and bake for 30 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F 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 pan on a rack, and cool completely in pan.