Forgive me Dorie – I strayed this week. Instead of trying your recipe for Traditional Madeleines, I made my version of Nigella Lawson’s Pantry-Shelf Chocolate-Orange Cake as a special request for a friend’s birthday. Alas, no time to do both.
The Chocolate-Orange Cake is absurdly simple, eminently adaptable, and just plain good. The first time I made it (intending to follow the recipe to the letter) I mistakenly added double the chocolate called for. The cake turned out dense and fudgey with a heart-stopping hit of chocolate. Mark and I loved it, and I’ve made it that way ever since. In addition to the original version using orange marmalade, I’ve made versions with pear preserves, prune lekvar, and crème de marrons. All wonderful.
Double Chocolate Orange Cake, adapted from Pantry-Shelf Chocolate-Orange Cake in How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
1/2 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
1 jar Hero bitter orange marmalade (or about 1 1/3 cups)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup flour sifted with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch springform or other false-bottomed pan, and lay a piece of parchment paper, cut to fit, on the bottom.
Put the butter in a heavy saucepan and melt over low heat. Add 6 ounces of the chocolate and remove pan from the heat. Let the chocolate soften in the butter, then stir until the chocolate is melted and mixed smoothly with the butter.
Add the marmalade, sugar, and eggs, and stir to incorporate everything well. Stir in the flour mixture gradually, then the espresso powder. Lastly, fold in the reserved 2 ounces of chopped chocolate.
Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before turning out of the pan. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve with ice cream, whipped cream, crème fraîche – or by itself.