Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

A simple but intense chocolate loaf cake for a day when chocolate seems to be the only remedy. Dense chocolate loaf cake recipe- simple to make, complex in taste.

Sometimes, you just want cake. A plain chocolate loaf cake – no embellishments, no frosting, no fancy frills (if you want more of a birthday cake see my The Best Chocolate Cake [1] recipe). A simple chocolate cake that fixes everything. That makes everything better. This is that sort of cake. Though there is minimal preparation required, the flavour isn’t quite as simple as the procedure. This cake is dense, dark, and deeply chocolatey. That’s the reason for why it can stand alone, majestically, with a simple dust of confectioners’ sugar should you wish.

Dense chocolate loaf cake recipe- simple to make, complex in taste.

I’ve adapted this loaf cake recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess [2], which is one of my go-to cookbooks for dessert recipes. I was attracted to the dark, tender crumb the image displayed- and I wasn’t disappointed. I did make quite a few changes- because Nigella does get a little carried away with butter and sugar. Here are the main ones:

  1. I cut down the sugar and the fat content by about 25 g, I think you could get away with cutting down by even more sugar, but I found this to be the perfect amount without compromising the taste.
  2. I  replaced the fat- the butter with coconut oil, as the first time I tried this cake, I wanted to be a little healthier (and I was out of butter)- but using butter is fine if you don’t have any flavourless coconut oil on hand.
  3. As usual, I highly recommend adding a touch of coffee or espresso to any dessert that contains chocolate, because it really accentuates the bitter flavour. Instead of using a cup of water as the recipe originally specified, I used a cup of coffee. You could also use a cup of Guinness and make it more of a Guinness chocolate cake [3]– and if you don’t feel comfortable using coffee, use water.
  4. I used raw (Demerara) sugar instead of granulated sugar I actually use Demerara for everything. It’s the best- flavour-wise and healthier-alternative-for-sugar-wise as well.
  5. I added a tbsp of cocoa powder because I like the earthy flavour that cocoa lends to chocolate cakes- though this flavour can be attained by using a bitter variation of chocolate (see below).
  6. This isn’t major change, but I suggest using bitter, bitter chocolate if you can. If you use 65-70% cacao, you won’t need to add the cocoa powder.

Though I did say this cake was a simple one, you can of course, decorate it to your liking. Serving it with a rum chocolate sauce would make the most decadent treat- so would a dollop of crème fraîche or ice cream.

Dense chocolate loaf cake recipe- simple to make, complex in taste.

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake


  • Just under 1 cup (200 g) coconut oil or butter, softened
  • 1 and 2/3 cup (350 g) sugar (I use raw, but brown or granulated sugar should work fine)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100-110 g (4 oz) dark chocolate, melted (in the microwave/over a double boiler)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup hot coffee (1 cup boiling water + 2 tsp instant espresso powder- or just water if you don't like coffee)
  • 1 and 1/3  cup  (200 g) all-purpose flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and line a 9x5 inch loaf tin with a liner/grease with butter and dust with flour/line with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the oil/butter and sugar until just combined.
  3. Add the eggs and continue to mix. Do not be tempted to beat too much air into the batter, as you want this cake to be dense and devilish, not light and fluffy.
  4. Slowly blend in the melted chocolate. Make sure that it has cooled slightly so that it does not destroy the delicate nature of the butter mixture.
  5. Add the cocoa, baking soda and salt and continue to blend.
  6. Alternate between the hot coffee and flour in three batches until your result is a thin batter that resembles the consistency of melted ice cream.
  7. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with damp crumbs (it will not come out completely clean due to the dense nature of this cake- EDIT- some readers have stated that it takes a longer time to bake the loaf in their case. This is quite possible as actual oven temperatures vary even if you set them to a certain value or if you're using a smaller loaf pan- keep checking the cake every 5 minutes after it its the 45 minute mark to make sure the cake is no longer jiggly in the centre).

Dense chocolate loaf cake recipe- simple to make, complex in taste.

URLs in this post:

[1] The Best Chocolate Cake:

[2] How To Be A Domestic Goddess:

[3] Guinness chocolate cake:

[4] Print Recipe: