clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 23 reviews


Source: Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess

Changes I’ve made include: 

  • Reducing the brown sugar from 1 2/3 cups to 1 1/2 cups. I find dark or light works just fine. 
  • Replacing the water with coffee and booze. I use my Nespresso machine to make espresso, which I add water to to make 1 cup. If you don’t feel like adding booze or coffee, simply use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water instead.
  • Upped the vanilla.
  • Added salt. 


  • 1 cup (228 g) soft unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups (170 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g)  kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces (113 g) best bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) Brandy or Bourbon or Grand Marnier, see notes above
  • 1 cup (227 g) brewed coffee, see notes above


  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Line a 9×5-inch or 10×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Grease the inside ends of the pan if they are exposed. If you only have an 8.5×4.5-inch loaf pan, prepare it along with another small vessel with parchment paper — do not be tempted to bake the entire batter in it as it will overflow. 
  2. Cream the butter and sugar, either with a wooden spoon or with an electric hand-held mixer, being sure not to overbeat it.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until combined.
  5. 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. Add the brandy and coffee mix to combine.
  6. Finally, add the flour mixture and mix only until the flour is absorbed. The batter should be smooth and fairly liquidy.
  7. Pour into the lined loaf pan, being sure the batter does not come closer than 1 inch from the rim of the cake pan or it risks overflowing. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325ºF and continue to cook for another 15 to 20 minutes more. (If baking some of the batter in a small pan, remove after the first 30 minutes.) Remove the pan from the oven. 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 leave it to get completely cold before turning it out. (Leave it for a whole day if you can resist.) Don’t worry if it sinks in the middle — it will do so because it’s such a dense and damp cake.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Quick Bread
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American