One of my enduring childhood kitchen memories? Old-fashioned marble cake. More often than not a two tone chocolate and vanilla version and very occasionally a very special three tone, neapolitan treat with the addition of a third flavour, strawberry. Reminiscing over the simple joys of marble cake with a friend I realised that I have never baked one for my children. This oversight was easily rectified this weekend. An easy option for my regular Sunday night baking routine.
In essence marble cake is nothing more than a very simple butter cake. Thrown together with the most basic of pantry ingredients. Butter, sugar, eggs, flour and milk. Just before baking the batter is divided into two or three portions, flavoured appropriately and dolloped in alternate spoonfuls into a tin. To my childish eyes the magic was created at the very end when a wooden skewer was artistically dragged through the batter to create a swirled and marbled effect. Of course there was always the interminable wait for the baking, cooling and icing of the cake to be completed before we could slice it open to reveal its gorgeousness.
Tonight I made up a double batch of batter and baked my marble cakes in my newly rediscovered bundt tins. Both large and small. They looked so elegant and delicious finished with a generous drizzle of melted chocolate. In the style of Ottolenghi. I really must bake his divine teacakes. My family’s appreciation was expressed in a chorus of ” I can’t believe you haven’t you baked this for us before.”
Old-Fashioned Chocolate Vanilla Marble Cake
Makes 1 large or 16 mini bundt cakes.
150g butter, softened
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (375g) self-raising flour
1 cup (250ml) milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
200g dark chocolate
1 teaspoon olive oil
PREHEAT oven to 180 C. Grease and flour a 22cm fluted ring bundt tin
BEAT butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until just incorporated.
FOLD in self-raising flour and milk in two batches until smooth. Divide cake batter into two portions.
DISSOLVE cocoa powder in a tablespoon of boiling water and stir into one portion of the cake batter.
USING two tablespoons alternately dollop the chocolate and vanilla batters into the prepared tin. When all the batter has been used gently tap the bottom of the tin against your bench top to disperse any air bubbles. Drag a skewer through the cake batter a few times to create a marbled effect.
BAKE for 40-45 minutes. Set aside for 15 minutes before inverting the cake onto a wire rack to cool. If using a mini bundt tray the cakes will be baked in 20 minutes.
WHEN the cake has cooled melt chocolate and olive oil in a heatproof jug in the microwave, medium – low power for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.
POUR the melted chocolate over the cake. Serve when set.