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aka the perfect sunday afternoon ‘I fancy a treat’ cake, sure to be a hit with young and old alike!

I had people coming around at the weekend and thought that chocolate marble cake (a mix of vanilla and chocolate cake) would be the perfect plain cake base on which to add more fancy stuff to make it into a nice dessert.

I used a recipe from the BBC Food website (normally I google when I want to find a recipe, which is a little silly as I have dozens of cookbooks. I normally go with whichever recipe has the most good reviews – this one has 128 reviews and a 5 star rating!). Here’s how you make it!

This is really THE basic cake recipe. Memorise this recipe and you’ll always be able to make a cake. Its easily adaptable too, you can add the cocoa for a chocolate cake, or just add lemon juice and zest for a lemon drizzle cake, coffee for a coffee cake and so on. You can EVEN (if you don’t mind living a little dangerously) not bother with any measuring as 225g is basically a pack of butter, so to make it without any scales, just deposit one pack of butter into a bowl, add what looks like the same amount of sugar, the eggs, and then what looks like the same amount of flour. Once you’ve made cakes a few times, you’ll just know whether you’ve got too much butter, or sugar (and you can always add a bit more of the other to fix it). And you’ll know if you’ve added too much or too little flour, because the batter just won’t look right, and again its easily fixable – just add a touch more flour until it looks right, or if you’ve added too much, add a splash of milk to thin down the batter slightly.

Baking tip – grease your tin using the butter wrapper!

I know that the above goes against EVERYTHING you have ever read about how baking is a science and you must follow the directions and weigh out the ingredients very carefully in order to be successful. All I can say is that it works for me and I don’t think I’m a baking genius! After doing a certain amount of baking I think you just get used to what 200g or 300g looks like! Having said that, if its a new recipe to me, or one that its important to be that it turns out well, I would make sure I did measure it out with my scales.

  • 225g soft soft butter
  • 225g sugar (I used caster but you can also use golden caster or light muscavado)
  • 4 eggs (I used happy hen eggs which look like this!)
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I always put a bit more in as more vanilla never seems like a bad thing, although financially it kind of is as a bottle of this stuff is over £5 english pounds!)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder – I believe I misread this and put 3 in but all was fine. I sieved it in as cocoa powder tends to be lumpy.

    This looks promising...

Hopefully it goes without saying that you need to divide the vanilla mixture into two bowls before you add the cocoa powder, so that you get one chocolate and one vanilla mixture. Forgetting to divide into two bowls is very much the kind of thing I would do myself though so I thought I’d better mention it!

Divide into two

Another version of this cake that would just be SUPER for a kids birthday party would be to divide the batter into four or 5 bowls and add food colouring (gel colouring, not liquid for the best results)  so that you get a RAINBOW cake. I love rainbow cakes,  especially this one from I am baker, but I haven’t attempted to make one….yet.

Then I dropped large spoonfulls of the two batters into the greased loaf tin I used to make the cake.

And then I used the bizness end of a spoon (well, the other end to normal) to swirl the batter until it seemed fairly marbled.

   RAINBOW CAKE!!!!

I cooked at gas mark 4/180 degrees for about an hour (longer than the original recipe called for). As ever with cakes, keep a close eye on them after the first 75% of the recommended cooking time has elapsed, and if you suspect they might be ready, test them.

Here’s my cooked cake – you can’t see the marble too well on the top because it is a little browned. Re-reading the bbc reviews for this cake, I noticed that someone had recommended sprinkling some brown sugar on the top of the cake – yum!

Classic signs that they are ready

  1. The cake is pulling away from the outer edges of the tin
  2. The cake is springy to the touch (and ‘bounces back’ as it were)

If you’re seeing those signs, test your cake using a skewer. I don’t have a skewer so I use a sharp knife usually. You can also use a toothpick (that would probably leave the smallest hole if you’re worried about the look of your cake. I’m not.) in the middle of the cake – or whatever part is thickest -as I made this cake in a loaf pan, the middle rose up the highest and took the longest to cook. The skewer/knife toothpick should come out with no batter on it – it will be steamed up from the heat of the cake and maybe have some cake crumbs too but there should be no raw batter. If there is, return it to the oven and continue to re test until you get there.

Pimp my cake!

Here is my pimped cake! With vanilla ice cream, chocolate ganache sauce (more on that in a couple of weeks!), chocolate sprinkles and toffee sauce. I could only eat about a third of it :-( but it was AMAZING!