Hotel Sacher could use a lesson here

I made Nigella Lawson’s lustrous loaf cake (recipe here with my own few changes below). And I frosted it with Martha Stewart’s equally lustrous frosting (recipe here). I actually used one batch to make 2 smaller cakes for 2 separate occasions. And then, when I tasted it, the dry, throat-constricting tasteless Sacher torte came to mind. This is a hundred times better.

Nigella Lawson Chocolate cake


·            1 cup soft unsalted butter

·            1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar

·            2 large eggs, beaten

·            1teaspoon vanilla extract

·            4 ounces best bittersweet chocolate, melted (I do this in the microwave in 30 second                 intervals until melted.)

·            1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

·            1teaspoon baking soda

·            1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water (yes, seriously)


Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter 2 layer cake pans, line with parchment and butter the paper. The lining is important as this is a very damp cake.

Cream the butter and sugar 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 and fairly liquid batter. Pour into the lined loaf pan. (Note: Don’t let this batter come closer than 1 inch from the rim of the cake pan or it risks overflowing. Pour any excess into a greased mini loaf pan or muffin pan and start testing for doneness at 20 minutes.)

Bake the cake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325° 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. If you’re using layer cake pans the time will be 3/4 of this amount approximately. You ought to be able to tell by pressing on the top if it’s done.

Place the loaf pan on a rack, and leave to get completely cold before turning it out.
(I often leave it for a day or so: like gingerbread, it improves.) Don’t worry
if it sinks in the middle: indeed, it will do so because it’s such a dense and
damp cake.

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