Sunday, 24 July 2011

Simplest Chocolate Loaf

So, this has been a crappy week. 

On Monday I quit my awful job and the week went downhill from there. Sad and frustrating and all a bit grim. By the weekend the world seemed like a particularly ugly place. And how did I deal with these feelings? I made a cake. And I felt a lot better. Thank goodness for the immediate remedy of throwing some stuff in the oven and ending up with something fragrant and delicious to shove my face into. It can really help.

Until recently, if pressed on the subject, I'd have to admit that my least favourite flavour of cake would be chocolate. I wonder in what situation would I ever be pressed on that particular subject? But, the point is, my taste buds have changed. Why? Dunno. Maybe it was that cake. But the point is that chocolate cake is my new thing. Proper brownies are next, obviously. Unfortunately I'm quite time-poor at the moment so this fabulously simple one-bowl cake is a great one for the repertory. It only uses cocoa powder, no actual chocolate, but is still very rich and brownie-like in texture. 

I'm becoming the kind of person who needs to have cake in the house at all times. I get a little twitchy if there isn't some form of soft, sweet food hanging around. This explains my ever increasing waistline. And thighs. And bottom. So, I guess it's the perfect time to discover this cake because it's a piece of cake (har har) to whip up and, if you exercise self restraint (har har) it will last a couple of days. Or, more realistically, a couple of hours.

Simplest Chocolate Loaf 
(adapted, very liberally, from smittenkitchen who adapted it from Magnolia Bakery At Home)

200g butter, at room temp
300g light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
200ml milk
175g self raising flour
100g cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks Organic)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 170 degrees/160 for fan ovens. Line a 9 inch loaf pan, then butter and flour it for safety.

Whip the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy - if you use an electric mixer you'll avoid arm cramps, but a balloon whisk and 5 mins solid elbow grease will do the trick. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Add milk and mix well. It will go a bit lumpy and weird, but don't worry. Sift in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Mix in gently. There may be a few lumps but don't over mix! You'll end up with a thick, shiny batter. Tip it into your loaf tin and bake for 60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool in the tin for 15-20 mins, then tip out onto a rack to cool fully.

Thank you, Gods of Cake. You helped.


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