June 6, 2013

Marble Cake

   Nope, the marble cake does not have the round marbles we used to play as children ;) In fact, this cake originated in Germany somewhere in the 19th century, when a batter with darker ingredients was lightly mixed into a yellow cake batter, to create a streaked or mottled appearance, something similar to our childhood marbles. The original marble cakes were made using molasses and different spices, especially cinnamon. When many German bakers immigrated to the US after the world wars, they began using chocolate instead of the spices, thus giving us today's famous marble cake.... lovely chocolate swirls inside a vanilla cake :) It need not always be chocolate, I later came to know.The marbling effect can also be done using pink food color (rose milk, in India) or with multiple food colors (red, green, chocolate and vanilla). If I can remember well, my mom's marble cake was usually a pink and white color cake. An avid baker, she seldom repeated the same cake recipes. So, sometimes it was chocolate swirls, rainbow marble cake or her favorite pink and white. Yup, I very well remember it being a part of my snack/ lunch box. The recipe I have posted here is from her collection and the some of the photos are of the cake I baked in my mother's home, this last trip to India in December 2012.

Triple colored marble cake

All purpose flour - 2 cups
Sugar - 1 cup
Baking powder - 2 tsps
Oil - 1/2 cup + 2 tbsps
Eggs - 4 ( I used large white eggs at room temperature)
Milk - 1/2 cup (optional, add only if you feel adding oil does not bring out batter consistency)
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Cocoa powder - 1 and 1/2 tbsps (for triple colored marble cake)
Rose pink essence - 1 tsp or 1 and 1/2 tsp if you want a darker color (I used the Indian 'rose milk' essence and the smell and taste overpowered the vanilla flavor. Luckily this subsided after a day and the cake tasted much better the next day. Truth is, baked goods always taste better after a day. Use an essence or food color which is less overpowering. Actually, any color of your choice will do. Hmm...I am yet to try using food colors in my baking)


1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour either a 9 inch round pan or a 9.5 inch square pan. I tried baking this cake in both types of pans. The pink and white cake was baked in a round pan and the multicolored one in the square pan.
2) Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. To this, add the sugar. Since we get finely granulated white sugar here in the US, I just add it. But in India, it is better to first powder the sugar as the crystals are bigger. While measuring, take a 1 cup measure and then powder it. If directly using powdered sugar, you may need 1 and 1/4 cups, but I am not too sure of this measurement :) Mix the dry ingredients well with a whisk.

Sifted flour with salt and baking powder
Adding sugar to the flour

3)  In another bowl, beat the 4 eggs on medium speed till they are frothy. Should take a minute for this. Add vanilla essence and beat for 10 seconds.

Beaten eggs with vanilla essence

4) Now make a well in the center of the bowl containing all the dry ingredients. Pour the oil  and milk into this well and cut and fold the dry ingredients with this, mixing well.

Pouring oil in the 'well' :)

Mixing eggs with dry ingredients

All mixed well :)

5) Divide the batter into two halves, if you want to marble it pink and white. To one half, add the pink food color and mix well, taking care not to over mix. If using a round pan, first pour in the white vanilla batter in a semi-circle, taking care to keep it on one side of the pan. Now  pour the pink colored batter on the other side of the pan in a semi-circle, completing the circle of white and pink batter. The batter may seem to get mixed up, but don't worry,they won't. Repeat the same process, if using 3 colors too.

Batter colored pink :)
Half pink, half white batter  in a round pan

Making chocolate colored batter for triple color marble cake

Chocolate, pink and white batter alternate in a square pan

6) Take a fork and gently run it between the two batters. This motion will create the marbling effect, mixing the two batters just enough. Do not over mix, else you might get too much of one color overlapping the other. But worry not, if you feel the batters are mixed too much.... you can always create art work of your choosing !!

Marbling the batter in the round pan .... the proof of the effect can be seen in the cake ;))

Marbling effect in triple colored cake :)

7) Place the pan in the pre-heated oven and bake for about 30 - 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan itself and when completely cooled, cut into round or square pieces. Keep the pieces in an airtight container. This should stay fresh for atleast 3 days. If its peak summer, refrigerate the container as cake may get spoilt due to excess heat and humidity.

I know, I know.... the pink color was not enough for the round pan :(

Ta Da :)) Marbling effect finally here !! 
  The cake I baked in the round pan was perfect, albeit a bit colorless :)) I did not add any milk in this, but added the 1/2 cup milk to the triple colored one as I felt the batter was a bit too thick. Like I said before, the milk is optional, as the 4 beaten eggs and oil are sufficient to provide the necessary moisture to mix the cake batter.

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