Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Marble Cake

This is my second baking project but first one with this hand mixer that I got. The recipe is taken from a book called Homemade Cake by Philippa Vanstone. The book featured mainly on American traditional cakes and pastry using old-fashioned recipes!

The reasons why I am attracted to this book are two-folds. First, I am interested to learn about the traditional cakes, breads, pies, and biscuits as I think as a baker we need to know how to bake traditional pastries if possible from as many countries as possible. By knowing the basis then we are able to understand the changes through times and from there we can creatively modify and transform the recipe to suit our today's taste buds without losing its traditional essence. To me that is important. Though I have not grasp on any baking techniques and skills, this principle will set the foundation for my entrepreneurialship in my culinary journey.. that is know the foundation, know the roots!! The second reason is simply because it has a summarised version of the important basic knowledge and tips that I need to know about baking like equipment, essential ingredients, some terms used in baking like creaming, folding, rubbing etc, how to troubeshoot, cake decorating, freezing and storing. For a novice baker like me these are absolutely helpful!


Ingredients (make 6 - 8 slices)

175g cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
75g unsalted butter
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla essense
75g bittersweet chocolate, melted


1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C/350 deg F. Grease and baseline an 8inch cake pan.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and put to one side

3. Cream the butter and sugar. Add in sugar gradually. Beat the batter until it turns fluffy and light in colour. I did this about 5 minutes.

4. Gradually add in eggs, a little by little and alternately fold in flour and milk to the mixture. Stir in the vanilla essense. The book didn't mention how many times. I did it in 3 additions that is add and egg and mix at lower speed then add in flour and milk and continue to mix until all are incorporated. Add in the second portion of egg and do likewise for the flour and milk. Add in the last portion of the egg and do likewise.

5. Pour half of the mixture to another bowl and stir in the melted chocolate.

6. Spoon the batters alternately into the pan until all batters are used up.

7. Use a chopstick/ knife to gently swirl the batters to create the marble effect.
Bake for 35 – 40 min and remove to a wire rack after 5 minutes.

The marble cake that I made turned out to be crispy on top but not hard. The marble effect was not clear in fact it just looked like a lump mixture of chocolate and butter cake. Probably I had not divided the batter evenly and being a chocolate lover I purposely pour in more batter for the chocolate flovour! Also I knew I didn't swirl it correctly as I just cut it through with 7 parallel straight lines on the batter and didn't swirl it at all :( Read on some baker blogs and found out that the crispy top could probably due to too much egg! Seem like many people are using cocoa powder instead of the bittersweet chocolate. Nonetheless there are some that combine both. Some use both baking soda and baking powder and bake it in a loaf pan. Anyway there is no one strict way in baking a marble cake! It is a matter of preference and perhaps the economic factor also as I think cocoa powder is cheaper than a bitter sweet chocolate bar. The taste was very good, very moist, tasty, not so sweet and it remained moist after 5 days (I kept in air tight container). My husband loves it a lot! I came across a recipe on marble cheese cake and I will try baking it soon.

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