I love a good, simple cake. It is the true test of a recipe and the quality of the ingredients. A good cake does not need fancy frosting or gilded garnishing. It stands out on its own because of its taste and texture. Give me a good, simple cake any day, I say.
This old-fashioned Marble Cake is one such example, and it's no surprise that it's from one of those handwritten recipes that has been passed down from one generation to the next. Grandmother/Grandfather recipes are always the best. :)
I saw this cake at Pick Yin's lovely blog and was wowed by the beautiful, fine texture. I got even more excited when I saw that the recipe uses the "egg separation" method (beating yolks and whites separately, and then combining them). I had previously baked a Marble Cake using the "whole eggs" method but found the texture too blah.
So naturally, this joined my ever-growing list of "must-try" cakes, and I finally made it yesterday, all thanks to a sudden craving. You know the sad thing is, I realised the only way to have a real buttery, chocolatey marble cake is to bake it myself. Commercial ones seem to reek of margarine (or is it shortening?), which totally kills the cake. Honestly, I don't know of any bakery in Singapore which makes a good Marble Cake. Do you?
My word of caution is, the yolk/sugar/butter mixture is rather viscous, and you need to "loosen it up" with some egg whites before folding in the rest. There is also the challenge of making sure you fold thoroughly without overfolding in the process. A simple cake, no doubt, but one which does require some technique.
But do it right, and you'll get this:
A tender texture with just the right amount of bite AND it tastes even better on Day 2! I guarantee, you won't stop at one slice. I scarfed down 2 slices as I shared it on Twitter, and then climbed 70 flights of stairs as payback. Remember: a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips. You have been warned. ;)
(from Life is Great - do hop over for a glimpse at the gorgeous Marble Cake!)
- 8 large eggs, separated
- 9 ozs (255g) castor sugar
- 12 ozs (340g) unsalted butter, softened
- 9 ozs (255g) all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsps pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsps good quality cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven at 160°C (convection fan on) with a wire rack in the middle. Line an 8-inch round cake tin with parchment, butter and flour. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment till light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar till light. Gradually add this into the butter and beat on medium speed till just incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites till stiff peaks form. With a spatula, fold in the meringue into the egg yolk mixture in 3-4 batches*. Add in the dry ingredients gradually until just incorporated.
* The first time I added the egg whites, it was impossible to fold. What I did was just mix it up with the thick yolk batter and "loosen up" the batter. The subsequent batches were much easier. I folded the whites in 3 batches.
3. Scoop out 1/4* of the batter in a separate bowl. Sieve cocoa powder over it and fold to mix well. Pour batters into tin, alternating between the two mixtures. Start with the yellow batter and end with the cocoa mixture. Rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. With a long skewer, swirl (sparingly) around the batter to create the marble effect. Bake for 40-55 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
* This is somewhat arbitrary. A little more won't hurt, especially if you want a bit more chocolate in your cake! :)
4. Cool on wire rack completely before serving. Cake keeps at room temperature up to 3 days and can be frozen up to 3 months.