Here’s a simple but delicious loaf cake that would be ideal with morning coffee but would also make a good dessert with some vanilla ice cream, crème frâiche or Greek yoghurt. Chocolate and orange are a classic combination. I’ve added an orange glaze and pieces of candied orange peel (see my recipe on this site) for appearance and extra tang. But you could leave these out if you prefer. This cake keeps well. Enjoy!
- 285g/10ozs plain flour
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 170g/6oz unsalted butter at room temperature
- 220g/8ozs caster sugar
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 120g whole milk
- finely grated zest of one orange
- 100g/4ozs chocolate (60%-70% solids) melted and cooled
- 1/3 jar of marmalade for glaze (optional)
- candied orange peel or additional zest for decoration (optional)
Preheat oven to 165C/4.5Gas/325F
Grease a loaf tin with butter and flour lightly. Tap out surplus flour. Tin = 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½”.
Put on a baking sheet and set aside.
First break the chocolate into pieces into a small, clean bowl. Place over simmering water to melt. Do not let the bowl touch the water. This will only take a few minutes. Leave the bowl aside to cool while you make the batter.
Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside
Beat the softened butter in a stand mixer using a paddle attachment for 3-4 minutes till light and fluffy. Or use a hand-held mixer. Add the sugar and beat for another two minutes. Now add the lightly beaten eggs in about four additions and beat after each addition. Don’t worry if the mixture appears to curdle at this point. Add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add three tablespoons of the flour, then half the milk, then another three tablespoons of flour, and the remainder of the milk finishing with the last of the flour. Do not over-mix – just enough to incorporate the flour mixture.
Now divide the batter evenly. (I weigh mine in a container on the weighing scales to get it right, but you can use alternating spoonfuls into two bowls). Add the grated orange zest to one half: the cooled melted chocolate to the other.
Put large tablespoonfuls of the two batters in alternating heaps along the bottom of the prepared tin e.g. yellow batter – chocolate batter – yellow batter and so on. Continue with this pattern on top of the lower spoonfuls until all the batter is used up. Now using a table knife, and starting at one end of the tin, swirl it through the batter with the knife maintaining contact with the bottom of the tin, in a ziz-zag fashion. Make the swirling motion confidently in one direction only and stop!
Bake in pre-heated oven for 1 hour 20 – 25 minutes until a small skewer comes out clean when inserted. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Turn out of tin and put right side up. The cake can be served as is. Or, as in the photograph, I heated 1/3 of a jar of orange marmalade with a tablespoon of water. When liquid, strain through a sieve to remove fruit pieces. Brush top of cake with the hot jam. And for a final flourish, you can add pieces of orange zest or, as in the picture, candied orange peel (see my recipe on this site). This could also be served as a dessert with crème frâiche, Greek yoghurt or vanilla ice cream. The flavours are stronger the next day and the cake will keep for up to 7 days in an airtight container.