Chocolate, orange and cardamom loaf cake

I had a really hard work day on Friday, and when I finally clocked off I decided to bake something to relax. I didn’t want to go to Sainsbury’s (it was raining) so I needed to have all the ingredients – and this cake was born! It’s really velvety, and both light and dense at the same time. My partner bought a Kenwood in the Christmas sales, which I hadn’t used yet, so I decided to make an all-in-one mix that could just be chucked into the mixing bowl.

280g butter or marge (I used soy marge to make it dairy free, as this weekend’s guest is lactose intolerant)
250g light brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
80g cocoa powder
150g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
2 medium eggs
1 orange, zest and juice
1 tsp ground cardamom, or about 12 cardamom pods ground in a pestle and mortar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Chocolate chips or chunks (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5.

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time with the mixer running, then add the flour, cocoa and almonds by the tablespoonful until incorporated.

Add the orange juice and zest, the spices and the chocolate chips, and mix briefly. You should have a very thick, smooth batter.

Scrape into two loaf tins (greased and lined if metal, as they are if silicon) and level off. Bake for 35-45mins, covering halfway if the top is crisping. Test with a skewer – a few crumbs is good, but you don’t want any raw mix.

Leave to cool in the tins, and then serve. It would be good with creme fraiche or cream, ideally with some cointreau whipped through it.

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