Nigella Lawson's Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

Let's celebrate St. Patrick's Day with boozy chocolate loaf cake!  I've made the more traditional Irish soda bread already, and shepherd's pie would make a wonderful main meal, but this guy is checking off a couple boxes for me.
First a bit of a story (it's not long, I promise!).  Eric had some party at his place before we started dating, and someone brought Patron XO Cafe (a coffee liqueur made with tequila).  When they left, he tried to give it back to them, as it didn't seem to have been drank at all during the party, and the friend refused.  He then realized he'd just fallen victim to "you touched it last, your problem now!".  It sat on his shelf for a long time untouched, so much so that it got dusty.  He tried to get anyone to drink it, but it was a losing battle.  I finally decided that I'd take up the challenge of using it up, but by baking and cooking with it.  It's now sat on my shelf for several months and I still hadn't figured out what to do with it.  But in honor of St. Patrick's Day and the tradition of boozy baked goods, I decided to try it out.
I've been meaning to make this chocolate loaf cake from Nigella Lawson for forever, but just hadn't gotten around to it yet.  It seemed like the perfect time to merge the two, and a delicious dessert was born!
Don't fill the loaf pan up past about 1" from the rim.  I ended up filling another loaf pan about halfway full with the rest of the batter, so next time I'll just split it evenly between the two.  Folding over the parchment paper is a trick I read about to keep it from overflowing as well.
And for a cake described as "squidgy" by Nigella, this cake is really soft and collapsed like woah when cooling, don't be afraid of it, embrace it!
And don't worry, the original recipe has no alcohol, so it's super easy to adapt to your own preferences.
I loved eating a slice by itself, but the addition of vanilla ice cream and some fruit was kind of killer.
Alcoholic chocolate loaf cake is so amazing.  I think it would be the perfect addition to your St. Patrick's Day celebrations, or any dinner party, since it actually gets better the longer it sits and making it the day before would be perfect.
Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake, with Coffee Liquor (from Nigella Lawson)

Ingredients:
1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces best bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water (to make this alcoholic, replace 1/2 cup of this liquid with coffee liquor- Kahlua or Patron Cafe would both work)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and spray it with baking spray.  The lining is important because the cake is so moist.  I'd also recommend baking the loaf pans on a lined baking sheet in case of drips.

Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs and vanilla, mixing in well.  Stir in the melted and slightly cooled chocolate, making sure not to over-beat at this stage since you don't want an airy batter.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking soda.  Add the flour to the batter in 1/4 cup increments and alternate with the boiling water or coffee liquor until all are combined and the batter is fairly liquidy. Pour into the lined loaf pan, and bake for 30 minutes. (Note from Nigella: Don't let this batter come closer than 1 inch from the rim of the cake pan or it risks overflowing. Pour any excess into a smaller cake or muffin pan.)

Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and cook for another 15 minutes.  It's hard to tell when the cake is exactly done, since it's so moist a tester will not come out clean, so just follow the timing.

When done, put the loaf pan on a rack or the counter to cool completely before removing.  Leaving it for a day or two is better, as the cake will improve with time.  And don't worry about if it sinks in the middle, it's kind of destined to because it's so dense and moist.
Enjoy.

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