Monday, January 31, 2011

Nigella's Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake

Like her or not, almost everyone has something to say about Nigella. Men I know who are usually uninterested by cookery are almost all enthusiastically appreciative of her talents! Women tend to me more divided. Some find her sultry ways in the kitchen irritating and demeaning. Some wish they were like her. Some wish they actually were her.

I think she is just a tiny bit marvellous. And I'm prepared to tell you why....

1. She is a cook, not a chef. She understands the home kitchen and the home cook.

2. Her books are so much more than a collection of recipes - they are a good read and often have the ability to make me laugh out loud.

3. A sense of fun pervades her food - she doesn't take herself too seriously.

4. If you've got it, flaunt it. Nigella has. And she does.

Approving of my admiration for Nigella, my husband kindly bought be her latest tome for Christmas. For various reasons, I wasn't able to follow 'Kitchen' on the television so was particularly pleased to discover the new recipes.

I'm a sucker for cake and so it was no surprise that it was a cake which first caught me eye. A chocolate orange loaf cake, to be precise. After the excess of Christmas, I couldn't really find a good excuse to bake such a thing, especially as we are trying to healthy ourselves up a bit after a few months of totally over-doing it on the food front. But then I spotted an announcement on Maison Cupcake about a new event celebrating the wonders of Nigella; Foreve Nigella. The theme for this month is 'seduced by chocolate'. It was clearly meant to be.

Donning the frilliest, kitschest apron I own, I set to work. (I had glanced briefly at the silk negligee but the thermometer showed minus two, so the thought was shortlived). The cake is a simple one to make, using mainly storecupboard ingredients and cocoa rather than chocolate. I love a simple cake now and again, don't you? This is not to say that I don't love icing and buttercream and layers and chocolate scrolls and decorations. I do. I assure you that I do. But sometimes, something a little plainer hits the spot. And makes me feel a little less naughty. After all, cake without icing is practically a health food, is it not? And this one contains oranges so it really must be good for me, no?

Anyway, having read the instructions, I set to work. If I were Nigella, I would have reached for my shiny Kitchenaid mixer. But I'm not. So I didn't. Instead I used my Kenwood. Not quite so beautiful perhaps, but equally effective. I whizzed and mixed, and then poured and scraped the contents into a loaf tin lined with my new loaf-tin-liners. I'm particularly pleased with these and I'm sure that Nigella would approve - she likes a shortcut as much as the next man.

Having seductively licked a bit of the mixture off my finger, I popped the cake-to-be in the oven and waited. The waiting was quite difficult, I must admit as this cakes smells WONDERFUL as it bakes. Upon removal, the cake looked and smelt divine but I managed to wait until it was cool before greedily gobbling down two slices before bed. Not good as I was planning to take the cake as a present for my mother the next day. Nevermind. She understood and between us, we enjoyed the remainder.

What can I tell you? Nigella triumphs again. This is a very delicious bake - the orange is a subtle and welcome addition to this otherwise plain cake. It is also lovely and light. I'll definitely be making this again. The theme for this month's challenge suggests that I should be making a chocolatey something to seduce my sweetheart for Valentine's Day. Instead I have seduced myself. I shall definitely be making this again.


Sylvie said...

This cake is great, isn't it. I made it for the first time last week, but it definitely won't be the last.

lynn said...

I've got 3 of her books - Domestic Goddess, Feast & Christmas - but I have to admit she's not one of my fav cooks. Irritates me, and I find her recipes a bit hit and miss. However, that loaf looks amazing so I'm quite prepared to admit that this one is a 'hit'.

C said...

That looks deliciously moist and tempting. I'll have to go and locate my copy of Kitchen pronto and get that made or bookmarked!

Chow and Chatter said...

oh my what a cake i love nigella as well


Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Fantastic! I really love chocolate and orange combined, I wonder though which recipe you used? Nigella has done several choc orange recipes and they're proving to be very popular in this event. I've only ever made the storecupboard chocolate orange cake from How to be a Domestic Goddess but I intend to try all of them some day!!

Antonia said...

Sylvie - really good, yes. I'll definitely be making it again.

Lynn - I know lots of people who feel just like you about her. I've been lucky with almost all the recipes I've tried and this cake is definitely a hit.

C - yes, it was really moist. And the orange flavour quite subtle too.

C & C - glad to find another Nigella fan!

Sarah - it is from Kitchen. I'll make it clearer in the post. I've tried the storecupboard one too - I loved it but my husband didn't like it at all for some reason!

Maggie said...

Nigella brings us some wonderful cake recipes and, for that, I am very grateful.
The chocolate orange loaf cake is really lovely.

Jacqueline said...

Mmmmmmmm, this looks so good Antonia! I have never gotten around to making this one.

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

Really enjoyed your account of making this Nigella style (frilly apron and seductively linking fingers and all!)