Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Pantry-Shelf Chocolate Orange Cake

Servings: 6
This is a different sort of chocolate cake: The sort you can make in a few minutes once you get home from work. Hardly any trouble, and you've got a gorgeously aromatic cake either for dessert or just to eat, as a supper in it's entirety, in front of the televison. I think of it as a pantry standby because I tend to have all the ingredients in the house at any given time and if I don't the local corner shop stocks them all.

Even if you don't like marmalade, you should try this: all you taste is orange. Lisa Grillo, who is one of my chief guinea pigs, Italian, and thinks marmalade is a peculiar British perversion, loves it.......Nigella Lawson

1/2 cup (1 stick/4oz/113g) unsalted butter
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 1/3 cups good, thin cut marmalade
1/2 cup granulated or superfine sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup self-rising cake flour

8-inch springform pan, buttered and floured

Tip from Diana:
It is stated in this recipe, to bake the cake in an 8-inch springform pan at 350 degrees F (180 C) for 50 minutes. I baked the cake in a 8-inch springform pan as instructed, but the springform pan that I used was a non-stick one (which is dark-colored, so I baked it at 325 degrees F/160 C), and the cake took 65 minutes to cook completely at that temperature. I suggest (if you are using a dark-colored pan to bake the cake in as I did), to bake it at 325 dgrees F (160 C), and check for doneness at 50 minutes, and if a cake tester comes out with any moist crumbs, to continue baking and check for doneness every 5 minutes until the tester comes out clean....Diana, Diana's Desserts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Put the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a low heat to melt. When it's nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Now add the marmalade, sugar, salt, and eggs. Stir with your wooden spoon and when all is pretty well amalgamated, beat in the flour bit by bit. Put into your prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a cake tester or skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before releasing sides of springform pan.

Makes 6 servings.

You can eat this slightly warm (with creme fraiche, perhaps) or cold. For what it's worth, I haven't yet cooked it without someone asking for the recipe. It is, however, a plain looking cake, and although I have no objection to that, if you want something slightly more elaborate, you can just dust it with confectioners' sugar pushed through a tea strainer (and obviously this goes for all cakes); and if you wanted to go one further, get a cake stencil (which you can buy in packages containing a few designs, decorative or seasonal), stick on masking tape handes (imperative if you're to lift the stencil off the cake without blurring the design), place on the cake, and dust the confectioners' sugar on top. I am particularly partial to the star and leaf designs-and I don't care who knows it.

As I've already said, you can substitute the jam of your choice, and I'd suggest, first off, raspberry or apricot; but you should also consider making this with marmalade's weight in dark aromatic, and velvety prune puree, which supermarkets tend to sell now, in their gourmet baking aisles. If you're going for this prune-thick chocolate cake, serve with creme fraiche to which you've added a few crucial drops of armagnac; indeed you could add a slug to the cake too, or just pour a little over as soon as you unmold it.

Recipe adapted from: How To Be A Domestic Goddess: Baking And The Art Of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson.
Publisher: Hyperion Press; (November 14, 2001)
ISBN: 0786867973

Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall© 2004

Date: March 13, 2004