In a previous post I mentioned how much having a food processor has changed my life in terms of what I’m able to do and create in the kitchen. However, there is another piece of equipment that has become essential to my kitchen life that I have yet to talk about… I’d like you to meet Blueberry (the digital kitchen scale).
It has always made me wary when a recipe called for a certain number of ounces of this, or 100 grams of that, because before I had a scale I would just make a rough estimate of how much of an ingredient I needed to use based on the recipe. This generally didn’t work too badly, but there were definitely some times when a recipe did not turn out because I had added too little or too much of an ingredient.
With my kitchen scale I can now measure out the perfect amount of pasta for two people, know exactly how much 3 ounces of chocolate is, or how much 150 grams of bacon is. Plus, it seriously cuts down on the number of dishes I have to do since I can use just one bowl and then keep adding the different amounts of ingredients in (I admit sometimes I have to grab my calculator to do this!).
This recipe is in honour of Blueberry and the wonders she has allowed me to accomplish in the kitchen- including a chocolate orange loaf that’s the perfect everyday cake. The recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen, and since it’s a British cookbook all of the ingredient amounts are given in grams and not cups. Recipes I was never able to try until I had Blueberry. This cake is moist and buttery, with a deep chocolate flavour and subtle hints of citrus. The combination of orange and chocolate is to die for, and better than chocolate and peanut butter in my opinion. Also, because this cake is made in a loaf pan it is perfectly acceptable to be eaten at any time of the day, for breakfast, snack time, or dessert!
The batter comes together quickly using a fairly standard method. You begin by creaming together butter and sugar with agave syrup, until it reaches what Nigella calls a “caffe Americano cream” colour.
After that you add in your flour and cocoa mixture, and then your beautifully fragrant orange zest.
I poured mine into a 9×5 inch pan and got a relatively low loaf of cake, if you’re looking for a higher rise I suggest you use a smaller pan such as an 8×4.
Happy weighing and baking!
Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake
150g soft butter (I used salted)
2 X 15 mL Tbsp golden syrup (I used agave syrup, but corn syrup or honey even would work)
175g dark brown sugar
100g all-purpose flour
50g whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
25g cocoa (I used Dutch-processed)
2 large eggs
zest of 2 regular oranges and juice of 1
Preheat the oven to 340 degrees and spray loaf pan (9×5 or 8×4) with non-stick spray.
Beat the butter with the syrup and the sugar until you have a fairly smooth caffe Americano cream, though the sugar will always have a bit of grit to it.
Mix the flours, baking soda and cocoa powder together, and beat into the syrup mixture 1 Tbsp of these dry ingredients before beating in 1 egg. Then add another couple of spoonfuls of the dry ingredients before beating in the second egg.
Carry on beating in the remaining dry ingredients and then add, still beating, the orange zest and finally, gradually, the juice. At this stage, the batter may suddenly look dimpled as if slightly curdled (mine didn’t, but if yours does, Nigella says there’s no need to panic!).
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, though check 5 minutes before and be prepared to keep it in the oven 5 minutes longer if need be. A cake tester won’t come out entirely clean, as the point of this cake, light though it may be, is to have just a hint of “inner grunge”. Leave to cool a little in the tin on a wire rack, then turn out with care and leave on the rack to cool.
(Adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson)