Thursday, August 10, 2006

Old Fashioned Marble Cake

Chocolate, vanilla, chocolate, vanilla. When you can't decide which flavor you like best, have both! This striking-looking cake gives you a taste of each of America's two most popular flavors in every luscious bite. I like to bake this cake in a long, slim cake/loaf pan, then slice it like bread, and use it as a tasty base for ice cream and fudge sauce.

Vanilla batter
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt*
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, or the flavor of your choice, to taste**
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
*If you use salted butter, reduce the salt to 3/4 teaspoon.
** For authentic old-fashioned bakery taste, try 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Princess Cake & Cookie Flavor.

Chocolate batter
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa (I love our Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa; it's extra-dark, extra-rich-flavored)
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
Topping
coarse sparkling sugar, optional

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time; once all the eggs have been added, scrape the bowl, then beat the batter on high speed for 5 minutes, till it's creamy and light. Beat in the salt, vanilla or other flavor, and baking powder, then stir in the milk alternately with the flour, beginning and ending with the flour.
Take one-third of the batter (about 1 3/4 cups, about 16 ounces), and place it in a small bowl. Stir in the cocoa powder, melted butter, and espresso powder.

Lightly grease a 12" x 4" x 2 1/2" tea loaf pan (that long bread pan) (first choice), or 9" x 5" loaf pan (second choice). Spread a heaping cup (about 10 ounces) vanilla batter in the bottom of the pan. Dollop on a scant cup (about 9 1/2 ounces) chocolate batter, then repeat with another heaping cup of vanilla batter, the remainder of the chocolate, and top with the rest of the vanilla batter. So you'll have three vanilla and two chocolate layers. There's no need to swirl the batters together to get a marbled effect; just dolloping one atop the other has pretty much done that for you. Sprinkle the top of the cake heavily with coarse sparkling sugar, if desired.
Bake the tea cake (longer, slimmer pan) in a preheated 350°F oven for 1 hour, 15 minutes, tenting it lightly with foil after 1 hour. Test it with a cake tester; if it's not quite done, give it another 5 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, and after 10 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Yield: One 12" x 4" tea cake.

Bake the loaf cake (9" x 5" pan) in a preheated 325°F oven for about 1 hour, 40 minutes, tenting it with foil for the final 25 minutes of baking time. Test it with a cake tester to make sure the center is baked all the way through; if it's not, keep baking till it is. Remove the cake from the oven, and after 10 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Yield: one 9" x 5" loaf cake.

Note: Glaze with fudge sauce, if desired. You can't go wrong by adding more chocolate!

©2006 The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc
. All rights reserved.

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