Oh, and the chocolate-marmalade cake!

Here it is, served with full-fat natural yoghurt:

2016-03-03 14.32.49-slice-of-cake

It’s a variant on a recipe attributed to Nigella Lawson — though of course recipes get handed down and around so much, with so little attribution, that it’s impossible to say where it really originated. The question might not even be meaningful, since cake recipes are like Makefiles: no-one ever wrote one from scratch, every one is copied and modified from one that’s close to what you want.

It’s pretty easy to make. Here’s the recipe:

  • Mix 2 teaspoons baking powder into 150 g plain white flour.
  • Gently melt 125 g butter in a saucepan
  • Turn the heat down very low for the butter, and melt 100g dark chocolate* in it.
  • Add a 450 g marmalade (one complete jar), 150 g brown sugar, and 2 beaten eggs and mix together.
  • Stir in the flour-and-baking-powder mixture.
  • Pour into a well greased and lined 7-inch baking tin. This is a very sticky cake, so you will not be able to get it out of the tin unless you line it with greaseproof paper.
  • Bake at 180 degrees C for about 40 minutes.

This makes a rather dense and very sticky cake, which is just how I like it. If you prefer light-and-fluffy sponges, you came to the wrong recipe.

There are a few differences from Nigella Lawson’s version. The most important is that I’m using 50% more marmalade, because I want a more intense orange flavour and a squidgier texture. I’m also using brown sugar instead of castor sugar because it’s just a more interesting flavour. Finally, I’m cooking for ten minutes less, again because I like a slightly undercooked texture in the middle.

2016-03-04 13.19.29-slice-of-cake

The cake doesn’t need icing, but the one in the photo I melted 100 g white chocolate over the top the cake once it had cooked, then grated a small amount of dark chocolate straight onto the white before it had set, to get the speckled pattern. It looks pretty good, but I think I’ll skip the icing next time. The cake stands on its own.


*Generally I am sceptical about recipes’ insistence of good quality ingredients — as though it could make the slightest difference whether you use sea salt or regular salt — but the chocolate is one thing that is worth getting right. I’ve made it once with ordinary plain chocolate, and subsequently with chocolates that have high (70%) or so cocoa solids. I get the ingredients from Lidl so the chocolate is still cheap, and it makes a real difference.

5 responses to “Oh, and the chocolate-marmalade cake!

  1. I love the way that metric slowly creeps in. Surely they have metric baking pans by now. Seven inches? Really.

  2. I’ll add that it looks delicious.

  3. Kaleberg, on seven-inch tins, see Two savoury pies, done right, where I explain:

    [Yes, I should be using metric since I am Doctor Science, so call them 18 cm enamel pie dishes if you prefer. But I learned what a seven-inch diameter was like from singles (ask your parents), so that size is lodged in my memory as seven inches.]

  4. Pingback: A cake that didn’t quite work | The Reinvigorated Programmer

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