Friday, February 29, 2008

Marbled Butter Cake

The Greeks did it in public places. The Romans did it with their politicians. The Italians… they did it a lot, with everyone, and they were very good at it. Now, we mostly do it in kitchens and bathrooms, and yesterday, I did it for the first time with a cake. I’m talking about marbling, of course – what were you thinking?

Ever since I saw Ivonne's Marbled Cake, I had dreams and visions of this marbled beauty. It nagged and nagged at me until I was forced (forced, I tell you!) to submit to my inner voice and attempt this cake. Even though marbling cakes had me quaking in my boots for years (it's not a reasonable phobia, I know), this cake looked so full of softness and sweetness and luscious curves, I had to see for myself what this marbling thing was all about.

Since this was an adventurous recipe for me to attempt, feeling footloose and fancy-free, I decided to forego my usual procedure of measuring out all the ingredients beforehand. I wanted to be reckless and throw caution to the wind (well, as much as is possible while still standing in your own kitchen, anyway). Hm... I'll spare you the suspense and just tell you right now that this strategy didn't work out so well (note to self: leave spontaneity for -- ehem -- other pursuits). When I had creamed the butter and cracked the eggs into it, and it was time to add flour and milk... I found out that I didn't have milk. Not a single drop. Nor cream, nor sour cream, nor plain yogurt. I only had (*sob*) a little carton of Yoplait vanilla yogurt, which I only buy for my husband, as I think it's kind of icky. I tell you guys, it was with a heavy heart that I emptied the yogurt carton into my future cake.

Just as my pulse was coming back to normal, I discovered another disaster lurking in the shadows. I was out of cocoa powder! And... I was out of chocolate. The only thing that was remotely chocolaty in my pantry was a small bag of milk chocolate powder for hot chocolate. How did it get there? It's a mystery. I surrendered to fate and made the cake with it. And you know what? It still turned out so fantastic that a girl at work told me I was first in line to make her wedding cake. I think this is more of a testament to how great the recipe is than to my own technique, but I was flattered. Come on, who wouldn't have been? The recipe (the way I made it) is after the jump, but I think you should use milk instead of the yogurt, as is in the original recipe linked above. And real cocoa powder (this should go without saying - the milk chocolate stuff was weak, like a too-nice boyfriend that would make a good husband for *somebody else*). Oh, and my marbling didn't turn out as terribly as I'd anticipated, so yay. :)

Marbled Butter Cake
(from Cream Puffs in Venice)

3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup yogurt (please use whole milk instead)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
confectioner's sugar for decoration

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a standard-sized bundt cake pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until each egg is well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add half the flour mixture to the batter; mix well. Add the milk; mix well. Now, add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until the batter is smooth and all the ingredients are well incorporated.

Remove half the batter and place in another bowl. To the batter that’s still in the mixer bowl, add the cocoa powder. Mix until well combined.

Take your prepared cake pan and dollop spoonfuls of the vanilla batter into the bottom of the pan. Then take the chocolate batter and dollop spoonfuls over the vanilla batter. Repeat until all the batter has been used.

Take a knife and dip it into the batter, all the way to the bottom of the pan. Gently begin swirling the batter with the knife, working your way all around the pan.

Bake the cake on the middle rack for 50 minutes, checking to see if it’s done with a cake tester or toothpick. If it’s done, the tester will come out clean after piercing the cake. The cake will also spring back if you touch it lightly. If it’s not done, bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Let the cake cool in the pan before unmolding it. Dust with icing sugar and serve.


Cakespy said...

You're so racy. Love, love, love it! It's marbled--historical, beautiful, and totally sexy. I could get into trouble with a cake like this.

Oh for the love of food! said...

Hi there Irene, this marble cake looks really pretty and I LOVE your bundt mold! Thanks for visiting..

Heather B said...

mmmmm....I love marbled cake! I should take a note from your book and get my ingredients ready beforehand. I tend to not and your adventure with this cake sounds like me! But I know your's tastes much better than mine would!

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Lol. Beautiful pictures! That looks really yummy. I really like how things look when they are marbled. I just made a sort of marbled chocolate that I posted today.

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

This looks great. My family loves pound cake and have been asking me to make some lately. I should try this recipe!

Veron said...

I've never marbled a cake. Yours look gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

How nice is to see someone make a cake anyway, despite not having one of the ingredients. Good for you for being so gutsy! The cake looks fantastic.

Anonymous said...

That looks so yummy. All it needs is a cup of nice, rich Italian or German coffee