Recipe: Raspberry and White Chocolate Loaf Cake

Tea and cake has become almost a sacred ritual for us since the first lockdown. Although it’s not conducive to eat cake every single day (or is it?!) we do treat ourselves quite often and always when we have friends to stay.

I made this cake for the first time one rather stressful day before our friend Ravi came to stay with us and I just crossed my fingers and hoped it would turn out alright. Luckily it turned out beautifully, apart from the icing which was a bit lumpy, but I can live with that.

The chunks of white chocolate that almost caramelise in the oven is my favourite part, but I like every aspect of this cake. It has a nice crumb texture (I did base it on a Mary Berry recipe so would expect nothing less!), just enough moisture and flavour from the raspberries, a little hint of lemon to cut through the sweetness of the chocolate and a simple icing on top. Do try this at home and enjoy with a lovely cup of tea! Or it can easily be turned into a pudding by adding a generous dollop of lightly whipped cream and some fresh raspberries to the plate and maybe grate some white chocolate on top.

Raspberry and white chocolate loaf cake, serves 8

175 g caster sugar

175 g self-raising flour

175 g softened butter

3 eggs

finely grated zest from 1/4 lemon

3/4 level tsp baking powder

80 g white chocolate, roughly chopped

80 g fresh raspberries

For the icing:

100 ml icing sugar, sifted

1-2 tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Beat together the eggs, flour, caster sugar, butter, baking powder and lemon zest until smooth in a large mixing bowl. Add the chocolate and raspberries and mix. Pour the batter into a buttered and lined loaf tin.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 40 mins, or until golden brown, shrinking away from the sides of the tin and springy to the touch.

Leave to cool a little, then make the icing by mixing together the sugar and water and pour over the cake. Leave to cool and loosen the sides of the cake, then lift the cake out of the tin.

Nigella’s sumptuous chocolate cake

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I have had a complicated relationship with Nigella through the years. It was definitely because of her and Jamie Oliver I started cooking as a teenager, but as I got better at both cooking and baking I also got a bit disappointed with some of Nigella’s recipes. Sometimes they seem to promise more than they delivered, but then some recipes are so great I still use them 15 years later.

With her new cookbook and series, both named Simply Nigella, I am back in awe of her. I want to try all the recipes, love like the style of cooking (and baking) and all the recipes I’ve tried so far have been great.

This cake seemed absolutely delicious and easy to make on her show, and it certainly is a treat, plus it’s vegan – so a good recipe to have in your repertoire. Mine wasn’t entirely vegan though, I must confess. As I couldn’t find any coconut butter in my supermarket I used regular butter in the icing, which worked just as well would you prefer to make it non-vegan.

It is probably the most moist chocolate cake I’ve ever made and I will certainly make it again and again.

Nigella’s dark and sumptuous chocolate cake, serves 10-12

Adapted from Nigella’s recipe.

For the icing:

60 ml cold water

75 coconut butter (this is not the same as oil)

50 soft dark sugar

1 ½ tsp instant espresso powder – I omitted this 

1 ½ tbsp cocoa

150 dark chocolate, finely chopped

For the cake:

225 plain flour

1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp fine sea salt

1 ½ tsp instant espresso powder – I omitted this 

75 cocoa

300 soft dark brown sugar

375 ml hot water from a recently boiled kettle

75 g (90 ml) coconut oil 

1 ½ tsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 180°C and pop in a baking sheet. Then start with the icing: put all of the icing ingredients except the chopped chocolate into a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil, making sure everything’s dissolved. Then turn off the heat – but leave the pan on the hob – then quickly add the finely chopped chocolate and swirl the pan to allow the chocolate to sink.  Leave for a minute, then whisk until you have a glossy icing, and leave to cool.

Line the bottom of your springform cake tin with baking parchment. Put the flour, bicarb, salt (and instant espresso) and cocoa in a bowl and fork to mix.

Mix together the sugar, water, coconut oil and vinegar until the coconut oil has melted, and stir into the dry ingredients, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes. Though do check at the 30-minute mark to see if it is already done.

Once the cake is cooked, transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the cake cool in its tin.

Give the icing a good stir with a spatula and  pour over the unmoulded cake, and use a spatula to ease the icing to the edges, if needed. Decorate (Nigella used chopped pistachios and rose petals while I went for snowflake sprinkles) and leave for 30 minutes until serving.