Oh my, this cake is a blend of the three wonders of the world.


  • 1 cup soft unsalted butter
  • 1⅔ cup (316 g | 11⅛ oz) dark brown sugar
  • 1⅓ cup (170 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, such as Maldon or Fleur de sel (or use ¾ teaspoon kosher salt)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces best bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted (I did this in the microwave at 30 second intervals, but don’t walk away — it will burn quickly)
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or bourbon
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee


  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper — just shove a whole sheet in there (versus cutting to make it fit — this way no batter will seep through the cracks). Also, prepare a smaller loaf pan (or some other vessel such as a muffin tin) in a similar manner — I butter the smaller loaf pan well, and I never have issues getting the cake out.
  1. Cream the butter and sugar, either with a wooden spoon or with an electric hand-held mixer.
  1. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  1. Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until combined.
  1. 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 mix to combine.
  1. Next, gently add the flour mixture alternately spoon by spoon with the coffee until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter.
  1. 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. Pour the excess into the smaller prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. (I remove the smaller pan after the first 30 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 leave 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.

Source: How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

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