Chocolate Spice Bread {ModBak}

The second recipe in the Modern Baker Challenge is Chocolate Spice Bread.  I was so excited to try this recipe, with its promise of ultra-chocolaty goodness, that I baked it on the first official day of the Challenge.  (I made Fennel Fig & Almond Bread a few weeks ago as a “test run” of the book.) I doubled the recipe, as one loaf hardly seemed worth the effort.

This bread was not what I expected. It has Dutch cocoa, white and dark brown sugars, and lots of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger). With all of that, I really was anticipating something akin to a dark chocolate cake. In fact, the batter looked a lot like fudge brownie batter. So I was surprised, though not at all disappointed, with the result. But more on that in a minute.

I began by mixing the dry ingredients — flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and the spices. An order from King Arthur had just arrived the day before, and I was excited to try my new Vietnamese cinnamon. If you have never tried it, you really should. It’s like super-concentrated cinnamon and smells so good, I just want to eat it right out of the jar.

Next, I beat the eggs, then whisked in the sugars, butter, and sour cream, and finally stirred in the dry ingredients. This was one of those rare bread recipes for which I didn’t break out the Kitchen Aid. Even doubled, it was really easy to mix by hand with just a balloon whisk.

I baked the bread at 350°F in 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch pans for about 40 minutes. It smelled wonderful — deep, rich, spicy. And it came out looking pretty much like the picture in the book.

I let the bread cool before cutting it. And when I did slice into it, I was surprised by the flavor. As I mentioned above, I was expecting it to taste almost like chocolate cake. But it was not nearly that sugary. It had a rich, chocolaty flavor, to be sure. But it wasn’t fudgy or overly sweet. And the depth of flavor also came as a surprise. The spices, dark brown sugar, and sour cream, along with the Dutch cocoa and other ingredients, make for a complex bread with a taste that lingered after I had finished eating it.

In the recipe, Nick Malgieri suggests that this bread is good with preserves or jam. Again, I wasn’t sure how that would be, as I expected the bread to be quite sweet on its own. But after tasting it, I could see how it might pair well with jam or jelly. I tried it with several spreads and found I really liked it with fig preserves.

All in all, I was as pleased as I was surprised by this bread, and I will definitely make it again.


  1. May 8, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    […] Phyl (the official blogger for this bread) […]

  2. April 8, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    […] Phyl’s Chocolate and Spice Bread […]

  3. Kayte said,

    April 7, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    It does look like the photo in the book. That’s a lot of quick bread! Am thinking, just contemplating, of trying to make this into little mini-loaves when I make it as it would go well as portable food for the teens. What do you think, moist enough for an experiment like that? That way Matt can take it to the pool and have it after practice, I think little mini-loaves would travel better than individually sliced pieces. In a guy’s backpack and all.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 7, 2010 at 5:23 pm

      I think it would be great as mini loaves. Just be careful not to overbake it.

  4. sallybr said,

    April 6, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Well, well, well…..
    I cannot believe I am saying this, but – I just ordered the book…. (sigh)

    • gaaarp said,

      April 6, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      Sometimes peer pressure can be a good thing!

  5. April 6, 2010 at 5:23 am

    […] Phyl’s Chocolate and Spice Bread […]

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