Sunday, 22 July 2012

Chocolate and Orange Marmalade Loaf

I first saw this recipe for Chocolate and Orange Marmalade Loaf  in a magazine, while in a hospital waiting room with my mother. I frantically scribbled it down at the back of her 'medical' notebook, which I keep to remind me what the docs say, hoping for once that her appointment wasn't on time!

The recipe is taken from Scandilicious Baking by Signe Johansen, a book about Scandinavian Baking (as if you can't work that out from the title!) Some of the other recipes published on the Daily Mail website look pretty good too. I'll have to check out the book when I'm next in a book shop - I try to avoid entering bookshops too often, as new books are too hard to resist!

I followed the recipe exactly, using a mix of honey and golden syrup, and fine cut marmalade. It's quite a complex recipe - I used 5 bowls just assembling the ingredients before mixing. The batter was quite wet very liquid, and it was probably a providential accident which lead me not to notice the chopped chocolate until the batter was in the cake tin. I scattered the chunks over the top of the cake, and left them to float or sink, as fate dictated. Most sank, but at least they didn't all settle at the bottom!

The cake took all of the suggested baking time, and even after 50 minutes, I wasn't sure it was properly cooked as it was so moist. Luckily I have one of those cake testing probes which changes colour when the centre of the cake has reached a high enough temperature, so I used that to test this cake. I don't always like using it, because it leaves quite a large hole, but this cake was going to be spiked after baking, so an extra hole didn't matter. Although the recipe warned that it might dip in the middle, it's very disheartening to see a cake deflate after it's taken from the oven.

Despite a lot of added sugar, in the marmalade, honey and the syrup, this cake wasn't oversweet - the natural bitterness of oranges used in marmalade balanced the sweetness, helped by the cocoa and coffee. However, although some people would argue that you can't have such a thing as a chocolate cake which is too moist, I think at some point it changes from a cake to a pudding - and that's what happened with this recipe. The excessive moistness made the texture just a bit too sticky, rather than having an open crumb.

Because it tastes really good, so I think it's a recipe worth tinkering with to see if the moistness can be reduced a little. For a start, I can use sugar instead of syrups next time, and possibly leave out the boiling water, and sift the cocoa into the dry ingredients instead.
As most people love the chocolate and orange combination, I think this would be a good recipe when baking for a cake stall, especially if the ground almonds were removed and more flour or some polenta used instead. I'm never happy about nuts in cakes for sale on cake stalls, even if they are well labelled. So I'm entering this cake into this month's Tea Time Treat Challenge, where we were asked to produce something suitable for cake stalls at summer fetes. Tea Time Treats (rules here) is a monthly challenge hosted alternately by Karen at Lavender and Lovage, and Kate, at What Kate Baked. Karen is the host at this month, and will be posting a round up of entries at the end of the month.

12 comments:

Chele said...

I know a few people who would have my front door down if I made this. Looks lovely.

Foodycat said...

I don't particularly like chocolate and orange together, but I still think this sounds wonderful as a dessert cake.

Caroline said...

It looks amazingly fudgy, and I do like chocolate marmalade cakes (well, I like the Nigella one I often make!). I like the logic that a too-damp cake is dessert. I shall try and remember that one in the future. Good tip about your temperature probe too.

Baking Addict said...

A lovely bake and perfect for a cake stall. I hate it when cakes sink even when they are supposed to! I love the flavour combinations here and will have to try it myself one day.

snowy said...

Great flavours, and just my type of cake.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Sounds delicious. I must say that it looks a bit more like a pudding than a cake but I really don't mind that. Especially if there's some Grand Marnier to go with it.

Choclette said...

Now this looks like my sort of chocoalte cake - sticky and gooey. Looks wonderful. I've nto actually seen Signe's book in a shop, though I have looked out for it. I do like to see a book before actually buying it.

missflash said...

Looks delicious, really goey and sticky. I could do with a slice now :-) x

celia said...

I'm a big fan of chocolate and orange, Suelle, and this looks delicious. I wonder if syrups vary in their viscosity - so if you used less runny honey or thicker golden syrup, would the batter have been firmer? I sometimes have the same problem when I sub Muscovado sugar for regular brown sugar - a baker friend finally gave me the headsup that the Muscovado added more liquid to the recipe than regular sugar did.

Suelle said...

Thanks for that information, Celia - I'll be trying to improve this recipe at some point.

Karen S Booth said...

A FAB entry thanks and so nice to see a family recipe feature for Tea Time Treats too! Looks so gooey and moist, LOVE loaf cakes like this!

ljc said...

Relieved to see that someone else found this a troublesome recipe! I was really disappointed when this cake was still a runny mess after more than an hour in the oven. My first proper cake disaster! And what a pity, as the flavour combination is great. A waste of nice marmalade…