[And pieces of tree would fall from the sky – The ultimate quadruple chocolate loaf cake]
I plan to spend this autumn collecting dead leaves and horse-chestnuts, drinking coffees with warm mittens on, drawing the nights away, and day-dreaming about je ne sais quoi.
In fact, if I were to plan anything it would be a forever-autumn.
Its blue skies and ice-cold winds, occasional mists and ensuing falling leaves. And, no matter how old I grow, its slight Christmas air that fills my mind with tings tings.
Of course, chocolate cake would be involved. As it usually is when the first cold decides to make an appearance, happily forcing me into warm winter leggings and furry boots.
Always the same one. With cocoa powder. And chocolate chunks. And chocolate syrup. And grated chocolate to top it all.
I made it for the very first time three years ago. On a cold October afternoon. Perhaps it was a Sunday. And by the next day, it had been devoured.
And somehow, the story repeated itself. And somehow, a plateful of crumbs was all that was left.
Le cake très chocolat
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Feast.
One of the things I like the most about this cake is not its melt-in-your mouth texture or the fact that it uses four different kinds of chocolate.
No, is that’s it takes longer to bake than to make; leaving plenty of time to fill the house with its warm chocolate essence, and giving you just the right amount of cosy expectation.
It is in fact a doodle to make. A one-bowl kind of cake. And trust me when I say it is pretty satisfying.
Le cake très chocolat
for the cake 200g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
50g cocoa powder
275g caster sugar
a pinch of maldon sea salt
175g chocolate, melted
80g double cream
125g boiling water
for the syrup one tsp cocoa powder
100g caster sugar
for the topping 25g dark chocolate, grated
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Generously butter one large loaf tin and line with baking paper, making sure to cut it above the rim.
Put the flour, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, melted chocolate and double cream into a bowl, and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Slowly incoporate the boiling water and pour the batter into the prepared tin. Now, depemdonding on the size of your tin you might have a bit extra. Just bake it along with the monster cake in a little bowl.
Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a small knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Put the syrup ingredients of cocoa, water and sugar into a small saucepan, and boil for approximately five minutes, until thickened.
When the syrup is ready, pierce the cake a few times using a skewer or a long match, and pour the syrup as evenly as possible over the cake. Let the cake cool down in its tin before removing from the tin (using the excess baking paper as handles) and place it on your serving plate.
Sprinkle with grated chocolate. And slice the cake away.
This morning I went swimming. One last time before the French holidays come to an end.
Oh, this past month has been great. I’ve been enjoying the summer I never got this summer. I’ve been swimming and underwater-somersaulting. I’ve been jumping from reading those words. I’ve been spending long hours redesigning comme un lait fraise. I’ve been making chocolate cakes every other day. And giving more hugs and kisses than I thought I could.
Tonight, I will be in London. Hopefully under a rain coming from the trees – the best kind of rain, if you ask me. And with golden leaves on the pavement.
Yes, I’m looking forward to a proper autumn. In autumn this time, please.
The not-so official October happy-list could actually be very short this month. And perhaps, would go along the lines of: pumpkins and mushrooms and chestnuts. That’s all.
1. Making that garlic bread again. 2. The glow of rain drops under street lights. 3. Michelin guide! And really, I could have written Miiiiiiichelin guide and added a high-pitched voice. 4. Sharing one of my favourite chocolate cake. Nigella called it quadruple chocolate loaf for a reason. 5. Writing about apples and vanilla, for the market. And eating some too! 6.This cookie cutter. I’ve found a spot for it, on my bed-side table. 7.Mushroom soup. For dinners on the sofa. 8. Wearing a white jacket again. And an apron too. 9.Pumpkin risotto. With sage, perhaps. 10. Burning my fingers on roasted chestnuts. The ones held in a newspaper cone. And eaten through a walk at the park.
What are your three words for this October? And, of course, what are you looking forward to?