Monday, June 2, 2008

Marble Cake

My god-daughter and only niece
turned 9 years old recently on 15 May.

I had told her that we (my husband and I) would be back home in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (which is my home town) to celebrate her belated birthday. I took leave from work on Friday and we embarked on our 4 hour drive up north just before 6am to escape the traffic across the border.

The night before our journey I decided that I would bake her a cake. She likes chocolate and nothing else. She's kind of a picky eater as well ...whatever her mother doesn't eat, she doesn't as well. But she's now trying to venture out of her comfort zone such as trying foods that are a bit spicy.

I decided I'd bake a very chocolatey marble cake for her. This recipe comes from Martha Stewart's Living website. I had made it before and I liked it very much. I will usually add a bit more cocoa than what's required in the recipe as I like to have a more chocolate flavour. I decorated the cake when I was back in Kuala Lumpur and did a quick short cut on the ganache as I didn't have any cream in the fridge. I just melted some valrhora chocolate in the micro-wave and added some milk with a teaspoon of honey to it to come up with a quick improvised version for the ganache. It turned out alright .... no complaints! I then decorated the cake with pink sugar icing flowers.

(recipe from Martha Stewart Living)
one 9-by-5-inch loaf.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan; set aside. Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

3) Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla.

4) Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside one-third of the batter.

5) In a bowl, mix cocoa and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the cocoa mixture to the reserved cake batter; stir until well combined.

6) Spoon batters into the prepared pan in two layers, alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate to simulate a checkerboard. To create marbling, run a table knife (or wooden skewer) through the batters in a swirling motion.

7) Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.

8) Transfer pan to a rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cake from pan and cool completely on the rack. Cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

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