……marble cake…..

This is a foodie post again. Can’t help it. Food is one of my passions; making, eating, reading about it, experimenting, discussing at any time of the day and oh yeah, watching cookery shows!!! However I would describe myself as a “gourmet” rather than a “gourmande”. For those of you who are wondering what the h*** does that even mean, (sorry, mere French M.A. ka kuch toh faida ho and that roughly means “benefits from my M. A. in French. somehow could not get the sarcasm across in English. So, had to resort to Urdu). Well, yeah, gourmet means having a refined liking for food and gourmande is eating everything in sight. That is only a rough translation to make you understand the difference.

Anyway, to get back to my topic today (yes I tend to wander away but eventually, I do get back on track)…yeah, food glorious food…..another of my bakes. I used to see pictures of this cake and used to think “Oh my God, that’s just too good, I will never be able to do that”. One thing I have realised in my “baking journey” is that nothing is impossible but you need a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve your goal. Your family has to suffer a few experiments and mishaps but you get there in the end.

I made this cake quite some time back, so, will not be able to post step-by-step pictures but I will try to find a link which explains the procedure. It is Marble Cake. I get excited when I get a good height and good crumb and this was one of those instances. So, I have clicked loads of lovely pictures. Yes, “lovely” even if I say so myself.

Much as I admire the creativity of fondant cakes, when it comes down to the real thing (the taste and texture), I prefer either “naked” cakes or fresh cream or butter cream cakes. To be fair, I have seen people discarding the fondant and just eating the cake within. No offence to anybody working with fondant. It requires a lot of talent and hard graft and the results are very pleasing to the eye. It is just a personal preference and I have yet to try working with fondant.

Ok, back to my marble cake. When I think of marble, the images that crop up in my mind are of Taj Mahal or Marble Arch.or the lovely marbled foyers in India….well…this cake is not as magnificent as any of those beautiful creations but it does have a standing of its own in the “caking fraternity”….and, no, we do not use marble to flavour this cake….so, why is it called marble cake?…….well,  it is the marble effect in the cake, much like a ripple, which is created by separating your batter and adding different flavours or colours to each batch or creating separate batters from scratch and baking them together.

I try to avoid food colours as much as possible as I only bake for family and friends. So, usually my combinations are coffee and vanilla, chocolate and strawberry or some such thing. So, here are some glimpses of my Lemon and Strawberry Marble Cake:

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It has been a while since I made this cake. So, sorry but I am unable to post procedure in pictures but here is the recipe if you would like to try it.

Recipe

Ingredients

Butter 250 gms
Caster Sugar 250 gms
Self-raising flour 250 gms
Eggs (medium) 4 (I weigh the eggs also to measure the same as butter / sugar / flour approximately)
Vanilla Essence 1-2 tsp

These are my basic ingredients for most of my cakes. For the strawberry and lemon marble cake, e further require:

For Strawberry flavour

Strawberries 8 – 10 (depending on size)

For lemon flavour

Zest of one lemon (you may use a tablespoon of lemon juice for additional flavour but I didn’t)

You might need 1 – 2 tbs of milk to adjust consistency

Method

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.

You will need:

  • A large bowl and electric hand beater or a stand mixer. (It can be beaten by hand if you do not have both of these)
  • One 9″ round baking tin, greased well. You could use baking parchment but not essential. I have only started using it recently.
  • 2 tablespoons of the same size and an extra bowl to divide the batter.
  • Small sauce pan and sieve.
  • Grater for the lemon rind.
  • Weighing scales.

Wash the strawberries and set them aside on a kitchen towel to dry.

In the meantime, measure out all our ingredients, set them aside.

Zest the lemon with the help of your grater, making sure you do not grate the white bits (that will make your cake bitter), set aside.

You could cook the strawberries with a teaspoon of sugar until they soften and push them through a sieve or you could blend the strawberries in your food processor and sieve them. You need a smooth puree. Keep it aside at this stage.

Preheat oven to 180’C / 160’C (fan assisted)

Place the butter in your stand mixer / bowl, (try and cut the butter into dices, makes it easier to blend) and run you mixer at a medium speed for a minute or two until it becomes smooth.

Gradually add the sugar and beat on high-speed for at least 5 minutes until it becomes nice and fluffy. It might take longer but it is essential to get a good consistency if you want a light and fluffy cake.

Add one egg at a time, mix on medium speed after each addition until you can no longer see the yellow of the egg. (break eggs in a separate bowl just in case they are spoilt, also you could beat them lightly with a fork. Once again this step is not essential)

Once the eggs have blended in, add the vanilla essence and mix well. Sometimes you mixture might curdle at this stage (it is best if it doesn’t but it is not a complete disaster), it will settle down once you add flour.

I do the next stage with a rubber spatula or a steel spoon. Add in the self-raising flour and mix well with a spoon or spatula. You could still do this with the beater but make sure it is at the lowest speed. Do not over mix.

Divide the batter into 2 parts. Add the reserved strawberry puree to one and the lemon zest to the other.

The batter should be of pouring consistency, add some milk if it is too thick.

In your greased baking tin, pour a spoonful of batter in the centre, pour the second batter to fall in the centre of the first batter and keep alternating with the 2 batters until you finish all of it. Tap the tin on the kitchen counter lightly and place the tin in the pre-heated oven.

Bake for about 40 minutes for 180’C / 160’C. Check with a skewer, if it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, bake for a further 5 minutes and check.

Let the cake cool in the tin for about 10 – 15 minutes, then remove it and cool on a cooling rack. Serve it on its own with a cup of tea / coffee or you could serve it with lemon flavoured whipped cream and strawberry puree.

Please do try and let me know how it comes out.

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