The cake's crumb is impossibly soft and tender, cuts into easy to serve slices that you can eat with a plate and fork, or with your fingers, on the go.
Just like this simple one layer chocolate almond cake, a chocolate loaf cake is the kind of thing that can be casual enough for an afternoon snack or dressed up for a dinner party with ice cream and hot fudge or salted caramel sauce.
Ingredients Needed to Prepare this Recipe
- Bittersweet Chocolate. To keep this fudgy, brownie cake from being overly sweet, it's important to use chocolate that is at least 60% cacao and up to 85%. Alternatively, you can use a combination of milk chocolate and unsweetened chocolate. Aim for about half and half - 1.5 ounces of milk chocolate and 1.5 ounces of unsweetened chocolate.
- Cake Flour. Using cake flour in this chocolate loaf cake creates an incredibly soft and tender texture. Cake flour is made from soft wheat that's ground super fine and contains has less protein (6-8%) than all-purpose flour (10-12%). All of these qualities contribute to this cake's fudgy brownie-like texture.
- Baking Soda. Baking powder and baking soda are chemical leaveners that help create carbon dioxide gas. The gas is trapped in the batter or dough, creating bubbles that cause things like chocolate cake to rise. Because baking soda requires acid to become active, it's often used in recipes that contain acidic ingredients - like this one. To get a brownie-like consistency, there's less baking soda in this recipe than you would typically find in a chocolate cake.
- Salt! Salt is probably my favorite ingredient because it makes everything taste better. Salt not only amplifies the flavor of this chocolate cake, it also works to enhance and balance the cake's sweetness.
- Butter AND vegetable oil. Using both butter and vegetable oil in this chocolate loaf cake capitalizes on each of their best qualities. Butter adds flavor and oil helps keep the cake exceptionally tender, moist, and delicious for days.
- Brown Sugar. Why use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar in this cake? One word: FLAVOR. In addition, brown sugar is naturally moist, contributing to the softer, moist texture of this brownie loaf cake.
- One whole egg plus an extra yolk. The fat content of that extra egg yolk increases the soft, fudgy brownie-like texture of this chocolate cake.
- Vanilla. Vanilla enhances the flavor of chocolate in the most incredible way. For the full effect without any off-putting aftertaste, it's important to use real vanilla extract in this recipe, not imitation vanilla.
- Strong, HOT coffee. Like vanilla, coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate in this brownie cake without making the cake taste like coffee. In addition, the temperature of hot coffee reacts with the chocolate in the cake batter creating an even deeper chocolate flavor and ultra tender crumb.
- Mini Chocolate Chips. The chocolate chips in this recipe are optional. They add a little bit of texture to the cake's super fine texture. If you decide to use them, it's important to use mini chocolate chips in this recipe because regular size chocolate chips have a tendency to sink to the bottom.
How to Make This Rich and Fudgy Chocolate Brownie Loaf Cake
#1. Prepare your pan so the cake won't stick.
This is a super moist and fudgy cake, so it's very important to prepare your loaf pan so the cake will not stick. Smear the inside of the pan with a generous layer of vegetable shortening, then shake some all-purpose flour around inside the pan until it's completely coated.
Here's more about preventing cakes from sticking to the pan.
#2. Melt some bittersweet chocoate.
Melt 3 ½ ounces of bittersweet chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler.
It's important to melt chocolate gently to prevent it from burning or seizing up. Chop it into small pieces and place it in a microwave safe bowl.
Heat it in the microwave at 50% power for 3-4 minutes. Stop to stir the chocolate after every 60 seconds. When the chocolate is about 90% melted, remove it from the microwave and stir until it's completely melted.
Alternatively, place the chocolate in a small saucepan that's set over a slightly larger saucepan that has been filled with about an inch of water. Bring the water to a boil, and stir the chocolate until it's melted and smooth.
#3. Mix the cake batter.
Add the cake flour, baking soda, and salt to a bowl and stir with a wire whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, add the melted butter, vegetable oil, brown sugar, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer for about 20 seconds, just until combined. Or, beat by hand with a wire whisk.
Beat in the melted chocolate, then add the hot coffee and flour mixture in alternating additions:
- ⅓ of the flour
- ½ of the coffee
- ⅓ of the flour
- ½ of the coffee
- ⅓ of the flour.
With each addition, stir gently or beat on low speed, just until barely combined. To create a soft, fudgy texture, it's important to NOT over beat the batter.
4. Add mini chocolate chips and bake the cake.
Adding a half cup of mini chocolate chips to this chocolate brownie loaf cake is 100% optional. They simply add a little bit of texture to the cake's super fine crumb.
If you'd prefer that your chocolate loaf cake remain perfectly soft and smooth, just leave the chocolate chips out.
If you do decide to use chocolate chips, it's important to use mini chips, not regular size ones. The regular size chocolate chips are too heavy for this batter and will just sink to the bottom.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake it at 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) for 55-65 minutes.
How to Know When this Cake is Done Baking
This is an incredibly moist, fudgy cake with the consistency of a brownie, so it can be a little bit tricky knowing when it's done baking. Here are some tips:
- When the cake is done baking, the edges will be starting to pull away from the sides of the pan and the surface of the top of the cake will appear set.
- Give the pan a VERY gentle shake. If the center is jiggly, the cake is not done. If it moves ever so slightly but does not appear to be liquid, proceed to check the cake with a toothpick.
- Insert a toothpick in the center of the loaf and remove it. If you see raw batter on the toothpick, the cake is not done. If the toothpick is covered in chocolate and cake crumbs but does not appear to have any raw batter on it, the cake is done and can be removed from the oven.
How to Serve Chocolate Loaf Cake
This cake is so rich and chocolatey it needs no adornment. However, I would never turn down a slice that's been topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of hot fudge.
PURE HEAVEN. That's what this is.
Other Topping Ideas:
Chocolate Loaf Cake FAQs
A: Even though there's ¾ cup of hot coffee in this chocolate cake recipe, the cake itself does not tasted like coffee. The coffee does two main things in this recipe:
1. Increases the amount of acid in the batter so that the cake has an incredibly soft and tender crumb
2. Intensifies the flavor of chocolate without making the cake taste like coffee
A: Yes! Simply heat ¾ cup water to boiling and then dissolve 2 teaspoon instant espresso powder in the hot coffee.
A: Store this cake at room temperature wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container for 3-5 days. This cake can also be frozen, tightly wrapped or tucked into an air-tight container, for up to 3 months.
A: The cake will keep well when wrapped and left at room temperature for up to 5 days. This cake will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Before freezing, wrap the cake in plastic wrap then in a sheet or two of aluminum foil. Allow the cake to thaw in the refrigerator, still wrapped, overnight. Or, thaw at room temperature for about 3 hours.
A: Yes! But, it's really not necessary. This loaf cake is so rich, moist, and chocolaty, that it doesn't require any kind of icing or glaze.
Having said that, if you'd like to top your chocolate loaf cake with icing or glaze, a simple vanilla glaze or chocolate ganache are delicious options.
- 3.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1 ¼ cup (155g) cake flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoon (3oz/ 85g) butter, melted
- 6 tablespoon (89ml/ 85g) vegetable oil
- 1 ¼ cup (270g) packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup (177ml) strong hot coffee
- ½ cup (88g) mini chocolate chips (*optional; see note below)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Grease and flour the inside of a 9-inch loaf pan.
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a microwave safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat on 50% power for 2-4 minutes, stopping to stir after every 60 seconds. When the chocolate is about 90% melted, remove the bowl from the microwave and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Set aside.
- Add the cake flour, baking soda, and salt to a bowl and stir with a wire whisk to combine.
- Add the melted butter, vegetable oil, brown sugar, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla to a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium high speed for about 20 seconds, just until combined.
- Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until fully incorporated.
- Add the hot coffee and flour mixture in alternating additions, beating on low speed, starting and ending with the flour: ⅓ of the flour, ½ of the coffee, ⅓ of the flour, ½ of the coffee, ⅓ of the flour. Beat just until combined.
- Stir in the mini chocolate chips, if using.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 55-65 minuntes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out without any evidence of raw batter. (*See note below.)
The chocolate chips in this recipe are optional.
They add a little bit of texture to the cake's super fine texture. If you decide to use them, it's important to use mini chocolate chips in this recipe because regular size chocolate chips have a tendency to sink to the bottom.
What if you can't find cake flour?
If you don't have cake flour, here's how to make a good substitution: Add 1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour and 3 tablespoons cornstarch to a bowl and stir with a wire whisk to combine. Use this in place of the cake flour in the recipe.
Why you should put the pan on a baking sheet
Setting the pan on a baking sheet before baking will save you the headache of a mess in the oven if the cake spills over the sides of the pan while baking.
In most cases, this won't happen. But, if your loaf pan is slightly smaller than average, or if altitude or humidity causes the batter to rise extra high, having a baking sheet under the pan will save you the hassle of cleaning burned cake from the bottom of your oven.
How to know when this cake is done baking:
This is a very moist, fudgy cake, so it can be somewhat difficult to know when it's done baking. To test the cake's doneness, insert a toothpick in the center of the loaf and remove it. The toothpick will be covered in chocolate but you shouldn't be able to see any raw batter.
Does this cake taste like coffee?
No. Coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate in this brownie cake without making the cake taste like coffee. In addition, the temperature of hot coffee reacts with the chocolate in the cake batter creating an even deeper chocolate flavor and ultra tender crumb.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: ⅛ of the loaf
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 503Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 388mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 3gSugar: 34gProtein: 5g