I have felt a little caked-out recently following my Macmillan coffee morning but it is a dreary rainy October day in Dorset so there is only one thing to do – bake. I make no secret of my fondness for a well stocked cake tin (Lemon Cake and the 1970′s, May 2013), perhaps because when I was young a slice of cake was a proper treat. It still is actually and ideally a weekly one and not something just for high days and holidays.
I may be sporting my rose coloured specs, the ones I usually view the 70′s with (blazing hot summers and superb music, forgetting strikes and power cuts etc) but I’m sure cakes were always homemade and whipped out triumphantly for weekends tea. The only bought ones I can remember were something called a Country Manor Cake, a sort of light fruit cake with a demerara sugar topping which I was strangely fond of and the fabulous fluorescent Battenburg which enthralled me with its colours and the marzipan which I would peel off.
A marble cake was often the star at these teas and it seemed somehow exciting and exotic, what with its different flavours and swirls. Many (many) years on I decided to make a marble cake and was delighted that my children were just as excited by the pattern and having both chocolate and vanilla flavours in one cake. So much so that my son requested a marble cake, and it absolutely had to be a marble cake, last week when he had a friend from school over for tea.
You will see from the photographs that my marbling and swirling isn’t brilliant, artistry in cakes not one of my strengths and I doubt I will be troubling Paul and Mary any time soon. The pictures are also the best I can do on a grey overcast day but I hope they convey the lovely texture of this easy and delicious cake. Please, please do make it.
Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake
I use both milk and plain chocolate for the icing, all milk I find too sweet and all plain my children find too dark. The mix of the two seems just right but as ever, adjust to your own tastes.
200g caster sugar
200g butter, soft
200g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons milk
For the icing
100g chocolate, milk or plain as you prefer, see introduction
1-2 tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 170 and grease a 20cm tin which is at least 6-8cm deep. Whizz the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time each with a spoonful of flour. Once these are incorporated sift in the reminder of the flour along with the baking powder and salt then add the milk and vanilla. Put half the mixture into another bowl and sift the cocoa into one lot, mix well. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the prepared tin alternating vanilla and chocolate. Run a skewer through the blobs marbling as you go and then bake for 55 minutes. Check after 45 in case it is browning too much on top in which case lay a piece of foil over it. When a skewer comes out clean leave to cool and then remove from the tin.
For the icing, melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water then add the milk until you get the consistency you are after for the icing, I find one tablespoon is usually enough. Pour over the cake and dig in.