Sunday 16 September 2012

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Loaf Cake

I had a great urge to bake yesterday, which is very unusual for me as I am definitely more of a savoury cook than a sweet one.  It was a beautiful day so I had taken my kindle into the garden, but for some reason I just could not settle. I needed to create something.  And what better way to create than to bake a cake.  For me cooking, and in particular baking, is a cross between science and art. I love the precision of measuring and weighing, it is so completely absorbing.  But even more than that I love the feeling of creating something beautiful and decadent out of such basic raw materials. And the amazing aroma it creates while it's baking is an added bonus. As N says, candles just don't come close.

As it was a case of baking on impulse I had to work with what I had at home. Luckily I keep most of the essentials to hand.  Butter, flour, sugar and eggs are all staples in my kitchen.  Whilst taking them out I also noticed something peaking at me from my baking shelf. A bar of chocolate. Then the inspiration came. Chocolate and vanilla marble loaf cake.  And what better recipe to use than that of the queen of baking, Mary Berry.  As always I made a few signature tweaks. Every time I look at a cake recipe it astonishes me how much butter it contains. As I weigh the butter I can literally feel my arteries clogging up, so I always try to reduce the quantity as much as I think I can get away with. Same goes for the sugar content. I was also amazed to find that the original recipe didn’t contain any real chocolate in the cake itself so I added some of that in, as well as a bit of golden syrup to give it some extra depth. In my opinion this cake tastes fantastic but if you’d prefer to use the original recipe just click on the link below:

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Loaf
(serves 10| total prep and cooking time approximately 1 hour 15 mins)

For the Cake
150g unsalted butter (softened)
150g caster sugar
275g self-raising flour
1-2 tablespoons golden syrup (or clear honey)
2 level teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/2 level tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons hot water
50g melted milk chocolate

For the Icing
25g butter
15g sifted cocoa powder
1-2 tablespoons milk
100g sifted icing sugar


·         Preheat the oven to 160 degrees fan

·         Grease a 2lb (900g) loaf tin

·         Measure the butter,  sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, milk and vanilla extract into a large bowl and beat with a hand-held electric mixer for about 2 minutes, until well blended.

·         Spoon half the mixture into another bowl

·         In one bowl add the golden syrup and mix well

·         Melt the chocolate in a bowl suspended over a saucepan of boiling water (bain-marie). Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water

·         In a small bowl mix the cocoa powder with the hot water until smooth. Allow to cool slightly

·         Mix the melted chocolate and the cocoa powder mixture into the second bowl of cake mixture. Mix well

·         Spoon the vanilla and chocolate cake mixture randomly into the loaf tin until all the mixture if used up. Gently level the surface

·         Bake for about 50 minutes until springy to the touch and well risen

·         To check it is cooked pierce with a knife. The knife should come out clean

·         While the cake is cooking make the icing. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the cocoa powder. Stir to blend and cook for about a minute

·         Stir in the milk and icing sugar and then remove from the heat and mix thoroughly

·         Leave aside and stir occasionally to thicken

·         Once cooked remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool

·         Slice the cake in half and spread with the icing sugar, or spread the icing sugar on top of the cake