As a child, I thought Marble Cake was one of those high fashion, high society desserts that rich people probably ate all the time. Back then, I had a lot of weird ideas about the upper classes. I imagined they all had rooftop gutter gardens, and extra couches all over their lawns for spontaneous comfort and nap times. My imagination was well used.
We were not in the upper class though, so when Mom would make a marble cake, I was in my glory. Every slice was different, and my sisters and I could compare the patterns and try to vote on who had the prettiest. In the eating, we would try to separate the chocolate and vanilla flavours, or get excited at how the pattern would change with every bite.
Being all grown up now, it occurs to me that the fact we didn’t have it very often wasn’t because of cost; It was because mom had a zillion kids and we were all, (politely put) a handful.
Lately I’ve been revisiting some of these old recipes. I have a few vintage cook books that were given to me, and while some recipes are flops (lime, cucumber and horseradish jello – don’t go there), I’m having a lot of fun remembering things I’d forgotten about. Most of them I remember from my great-grandmothers house, and a few from my childhood.
While we’re on the subject, I turn 40 in a few weeks. Still dealing with that.
From what I’ve read online, the swirling of chocolate and vanilla cake batter was first introduced in 1889, in Germany. Before that, cake was marbled usually with molasses, and I think I might try that eventually! Then in 1945 it became popular in the USA, but eventually fell out of fashion in the 1970’s, shortly before I was born.
A hair short of 40 years ago.
Making a marble cake is pretty easy. Some recipes will instruct you to make a vanilla cake batter, split it, and add cocoa to one part. Don’t do that. You’ll likely end up with a slightly dense cake and it won’t be the ‘.*experience*.’ you need to have. Take a few minutes more and make two separate batters. You’ll have some leftover for cupcakes for the freezer, but everyone needs more cupcakes in the freezer.
Drop the batter by alternating scoopfuls, until your pan is just under half full. I liked using the old bundt pan my mother in law gave me. It’s ancient, so it seemed appropriate for this little cake! Once you have the batter “dropped” in, take a butter knife and pull it through, creating adorable swirly patterns.
Important tip: Have some self control. Over mixing will just blend the two flavours together, and you don’t want that.
Bake according to your recipes and insert a knife when done to make sure you don’t have raw batter inside still. Let it cool for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a bakers rack and let it cool completely.
Keeping in theme, I frosted my cake with both vanilla glaze and chocolate ganache. The recipes are included below. Both frostings can be used for a variety of cakes, and these are my go-to recipes whenever I need either.
If you make your own marble cake, I’d love to see a photo! Send one to my facebook page, and I’ll share it!
- 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate or milk chocolate
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/4 cup 18% cream
In the top of a double boiler (or in my case, a metal bowl over some boiling water), add the chocolate and butter/margarine. Whisk until 75% melted, then remove it from the heat. Keep the bowl over the hot water though, it needs to stay warm.
It’s going to feel very watery. Rapidly whisk in your 18% cream, the ganache will thicken almost instantly. Keep it over the heat until you’re ready to use it, and begin your vanilla glaze.
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup 18% cream
In a small mixing bowl, add all ingredients and blend with a fork. The glaze will become very soupy, not watery. Set aside.
In this case, I drizzled half of the vanilla glaze onto the cake, allowing it to “pool” a little underneath. Let it sit for a few minutes to adhere to the cake.
Next I poured the chocolate ganache over the cake. Let it drip, pool, and do it’s thing for a few minutes. Chocolate can do no wrong.
Drizzle the rest of the vanilla glaze over the cake, and keep it in the fridge until serving.