Need a spot of baking inspiration this weekend?
How about a squidgy and utterly more-ish dark chocolate and orange marmalade quick bread! Americans are great quick bread bakers and basically they’re just cakes baked in a loaf tin using raising agents such as baking powder and/or bicarbonate of soda instead of yeast. My predilection for loaf cakes stems from childhood birthdays when Mama J baked me a chocolate cake from a packet (always amplified with an extra spoonful of cocoa powder) in a loaf tin, slathered it with chocolate buttercream and decorated with Freia Non-Stop (Norway’s answer to Smarties). It’s just a riff on good old chocolate cake baked in a cake tin but somehow much, much more satisfying.
The beauty of this cake/bread is it’s got zero refined sugar in it and thus is less sweet than most chocolate cake recipes. Admittedly I’ve kept the refined sugars out of this recipe for the very simple reason that I didn’t have any brown sugar to hand and was too lazy (er, too in need of chocolate cake!) to run to the shops and get some. If you prefer to bake with golden syrup or brown sugar do substitute the honey with your sweetener of choice. Do feel free to up the sweetener content in this recipe to 150-200g if you have a particularly sweet tooth.
The use of orange marmalade sort of makes this a Jaffa-cake in a tin, except there’s no biscuit base and there’s no orange jelly. Oh well, it tastes good. Add a splash of Grand Marnier and you’ve got a very grown-up cake indeed. Just don’t get carried away with the Marnier while baking, folks.
Dark Chocolate and Orange Marmalade Quick Bread (cake masquerading as bread!)
- 200g refined spelt flour (or plain flour)
- 50g ground almonds
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 100g melted butter
- 2 medium eggs
- 100ml clear honey (I used orange blossom honey)
- 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 50g cocoa powder
- 100ml boiling water
- 1 shot espresso or 2 tbsp strong coffee
- 200ml orange marmalade (I used St.Dalfour which has no refined sugar and is made with grape juice)
- Juice and zest of 1 large orange (juice should make up 75ml)
- 75g dark chocolate orange, chopped into small pieces or chocolate chips (optional)
* You can of course use brown sugar instead of the honey in this recipe, or golden syrup, maple syrup, date syrup…go with what you have rather than following this recipe to a T!
Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a 900g capacity loaf tin with baking parchment.
In a large bowl mix the flour, ground almonds, raising agents and salt together. In a smaller bowl break the two eggs and mix with the honey, tablespoons of yoghurt, vanilla and set aside. Stir 100ml boiling water into a cup with the cocoa powder and add a shot of espresso or strong coffee.
In a separate bowl mix the marmalade with the zest of one large orange or two smaller oranges along with the juice of said large orange or smaller oranges. Blend together.
Returning to the large bowl, make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the melted butter, egg mixture, cocoa mixture and finally half the orange marmalade mixture (you’ll need the rest to glaze the bread after baking. Stir together until smooth and no pockets of flour remain, then finally add the chopped dark orange chocolate or chocolate chips if you wish.
Pour this into the prepared loaf tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 35-40 minutes. Depending on your oven this may take a little less or a little more time so I would check with a metal skewer after the 30 minute mark!
When the bread feels firm to the touch, remove from the oven and skewer lots of holes while it’s still hot. Slowly pour some of the orange marmalade glaze over it and make sure it trickles down into the skewered holes so the cake get a marmalade-y lift. Allow to cool completely before drizzling the remainder of the marmalade and then eat.
* Serving suggestions *
- try this on it’s own (duh.)
- eat with a steaming hot cup of tea or coffee or hot chocolate alongside (oh yes!)
- have a snifter of Grand Marnier, if you haven’t already done so while baking
- tart this up and make a fancy-ish dessert by preparing slices on plates, scoop some good ice cream on top and drizzle more marmalade (either warmed with a couple of tablespoons of boiling water or loosened with some fresh orange juice/Grand Marnier)
- take on a long walk and eat in the woods with an orange. Chocolate and your daily dose of vitamin C, what more do you need really?