Mmmm … marble cake. I cannot remember when I last ate some of this. Mom used to make it a lot when I was a kid, and I used to be so amazed by the swirly patterns ~ “How on earth did mummy do that??”
And it’s a really yummy cake to say the least, all buttery and dense like a pound cake plus the extra chocolatey bits in between. Just beautiful.
I like cakes of this sort that come without fancy decorations or icings. They are perfect as they are, and all you need is a nice cup of milky hot tea to finish off the perfect afternoon.
Living at home with my parents I had no reason to learn any baking; if we wanted anything we just asked Mum. Now I am beginning to miss all the homemade treats she used to make and I am only now making the effort of learning the recipes and making them my own. Spoke to Mum for a couple hours the other day just talking about all her recipes. I feel the need to learn them now or they will forever be lost, and this notion makes me sad. So many dishes from my childhood rarely get made anymore these days. Either people have forgotten them or they are just out of fashion … or maybe people simply cannot be bothered considering the busy lifestyles we all adhere to. Admittedly, some of these dishes are time consuming and involve careful technique that take years to hone …. I am still working up to these more advanced recipes. But for now I will start with the simpler ones, starting with this butter cake marvel. The recipe is not my mother’s, but it is still a fabulous recipe nonetheless, that produces a decadently dense yet moist butter cake.
Again, this was the result of yet another midnight baking session. It was late and a thought suddenly popped into my head, “I have never made a butter cake in my life. I wonder if it’s going to be difficult“. I didn’t necessarily want to eat the cake, I just wanted to make it. So off I went in search for a recipe I could live with and did a bit of research online on how to get the perfect butter cake and the answer to that was to use lots of butter and eggs. Cool, I could live with that, it’s quite a straightforward principle to follow. The richer u want your cake, just up the butter and egg amounts. Since there are only two of us in the house (and one greedy dog), I opted to keep my recipe small. So if you made this it will fit nicely in a loaf pan.
The original recipe is for a pure butter cake, but I decided at the last minute to jazz it up a bit and turned it into a marbled cake simply by adding cocoa powder to the mix.
Buttery Marble Cake
250 g soft unsalted butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 whole eggs
2½ cups self raising flour
180 mls fresh milk
1½ tbsp unprocessed Dutch cocoa powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
60 – 80 mls fresh milk
As with the general majority of cakes, begin by pre-heating the oven to 180ºC and line a standard loaf tin with parchment paper.
Then cream the block of butter with the sugar until the butter turns almost white and the mixture is fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and whip this in. If you do not want vanilla you can also substitute with almond extract. Since this cake is plain and has few ingredients, be sure to use good quality butter. There simply is no substitute for good quality butter when making plain butter cakes. All the flavour will be evident from that first bite you take, and you want it to be good.
All the dry ingredients can be sifted in a separate bowl ~~ flour, baking powder, salt. Set aside until ready for use.
Meanwhile, add the eggs one at a time to the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between to ensure everything gets mixed in well.
Once that is done, a third of the flour and half the milk, followed by more flour and milk in this alternating method to ensure the batter remains together and does not split. Finish off with the final third of the flour, which I like to fold in my using a rubber spatula. Fluffy cake batters should never be over whipped. You should end up with a light batter that is pillowy soft (not runny or clumpy).
Now, if you want just a plain butter cake you should stop here, transfer everything to lined baking tin and bake the cake straight up. But if you want to make marble cake proceed on to phase II of the process, which is making the chocolate part.
All you need to do is transfer a quarter of the white batter into a separate mixing bowl.
In a small teacup mix the cocoa powder, milk and vegetable oil together until it forms paste. Add this paste to the white batter and mix thoroughly until there are no white streaks left.
Now simply assemble your cake by layering the white and dark cake batters in the loaf tin. Place a thin layer of white and dark cake mix in the tin and then run a knife or wire whisk through it a couple of times. Don’t over do it or you will end up blending the two batters together instead of getting prominent streaks. The aim is to achieve nice, evenly distributed marbling throughout the cake, and not have one side overly dark or overly light. This, I fear, is kind of a gamble … you never really know how it is going to turn out until you cut into the cake later.
Bake the cake for 40 – 50 mins then allow to cool on a wire rack. In my house this means all of 20 mins cooling time, and then we all dive in to devour warm cake. Hehe.
I got lucky with the patterns tho, I managed to get an adequate amount of chocolate swirls on the middle as well as on the sides of the cake. It looked pretty balanced, so I was happy.
I did not end up eating all the cake, still have half of it sitting in the fridge. If you would like to keep it for longer, simply wrap it up good and tight in cling film, then a layer of tin foil and whack it in the freezer. Since it has such a high butter content this cake will freeze well and makes for a great make-ahead teatime treat. I hope you all enjoyed this recipe and I wish you goodluck in the kitchen.
~ Enjoy! ~