hester's dark sticky chocolate loafrating:
Preheat the oven to GM 5.
Line two loaf tins (you really do need to line them; the finished cake is very damp and you'll have trouble getting it out in one piece if you don't line it. I make it often enough that I buy those loaf-liner cases from Lakeland).
Melt about 150g of decent dark chocolate and allow to cool a bit.
Beat together 225g softened butter (I usually just use a whole 250g block; it doesn't seem to matter!) with 375g dark muscovado sugar (I have successfully replaced this with lighter sugar plus a bit of treacle or molasses when I didn't have the right stuff!) and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Add two eggs and beat in. Fold in the melted and slighly cooled chocolate; you want it blended well but not over-beaten, so I switch from an electric beater to a spatula at this point.
Now fold in 200g plain flour and 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda and 250ml boiling water, alternating a spoonful of the flour/bicarb mixture with a slosh of water, until you have a smooth and quite runny batter.
Pour this into the lined tins and bake for half an hour at GM 5 (190oc), then turn the heat down to GM 3 (170oc) for 15-20 minutes, or until it is set and starting to crack slightly on top, but still a bit squidgy inside; a skewer stuck into the middle won't come out completely clean, but shouldn't have uncooked bits on it. Leave to cool completely in the tins; it will sink a bit, because it's very damp and squidgy and wonderful inside. Ideally, make it a day or two in advance and, once cool, wrap in tin foil until you need it; it improves!
It really doesn't need icing or cream or anything else; it's wonderful just as it is, with a cup of coffee, although as I say, it also makes a lovely and easy pudding, with fresh fruit and fromage frais; the sharpness contrasts beautifully with the dark and slightly bitter-sweet stickiness.