Sometimes it can be a little hard to keep current on this blog with what we cook. I can get behind in my writing. This cake is an example. We had it for Christmas. Last year.
I had other dessert ideas at the time. Buche de Noel. Apple pie. Some medieval German wonders. All sorts of things.
“We want the Marble Cake,” my grandsons announced.
“What marble cake?” I asked. I had no idea.
“The one you made for our birthday party. Five years ago,” the twins announced.
I scratched my head. So did Suzen. Apparently that cake had made quite an impression. Suzen was willing to go marble, but she wanted to make the bestest ever marble cake. For that, there was one obvious source: Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Years ago, Rose wrote The Cake Bible. You would sort of think that might end things for her cakewise. But, as this title suggests, there is a higher plane. Heavenly Cakes is an understatement. The book is filled with very lovely creations. You’ll see some other ideas from Rose in the coming weeks. This one is relatively simple to make and exceptional.
Marble cake is perfect for those of us who cannot make up our minds: vanilla, chocolate, vanilla, chocolate. Here you have both flavors in the very rich batter. Six egg yolks! Two sticks of butter! And sour cream! It’s an abundance of all the things that you have to watch for. Personally, I’m pretty sure that the calories in the butter and the calories in the sour cream cancel themselves out. I can’t begin to think of anything plausible about the eggs.
It’s a rich satisfying cake. That’s why Rose says in will feed 12-14.
Marble Velvet Cakes
Yield: serves 12-14
For cake batter:
- 3 ounces dark chocolate
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 ½ cups superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the ganache glaze:
- 4 ounces dark chocolate
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat one 10-cup metal fluted tube pan with baking spray and flour.
Heat the chocolate until almost completely melted. Use a small microwavable bowl, stirring with a silicone spatula every 15 seconds (or use the top of a double boiler set over hot, not simmering, water, stirring often—do not let the bottom of the container touch the water).
Remove the chocolate from the heat and, with the silicone spatula, stir until fully melted. Allow it to cool until it is no longer warm to the touch but is still fluid.
In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks, ¼cup of the sour cream, and the vanilla just until lightly combined.
To make the batter, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the remaining sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 ½ minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in three parts, beating on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Remove almost one-third of the batter (1 1/2 cups) to a bowl and stir in the melted chocolate until uniform in color. Spoon one-third of the remaining batter into the prepared pan. Top with dollops of half the chocolate batter. Spread gently but evenly. Top with another third of the plain batter and then with dollops of the remaining chocolate batter. Spread evenly and top with the remaining third of the plain batter, spreading it evenly over the top.
Use a regular tablespoon to marbleize the batter lightly: Dip in the tablespoon, without touching the bottom or sides, and lift up and over in a folding motion, like the roll of a wave, six to eight tunes, going all around the pan. Smooth the surface evenly.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted between the tube and the side conies out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven. During baking it will rise above the center tube, but on cooling it will be almost level with the sides of the pan.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the cake by jiggling it up and down until it moves slightly. Invert it onto a wire rack that has been coated lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Cool completely before applying the glaze, if using.
To make the ganache glaze, have ready a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a small glass bowl. In a food processor, process the chocolate until very fine. Remove it to a small heat-proof glass bowl.
In a 1-cup or larger microwavable cup with a spout (or in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often), scald the cream (heat it to the boiling point; small bubbles will form around the periphery) and pour it over the chocolate. Cover the bowl for 5 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Using a silicone spatula, gently stir together the chocolate and cream until smooth, trying not to create air bubbles. Press the mixture through the strainer, stir in the Cognac, if using, and cool until tepid. A small amount of glaze dropped from a spoon should mound a bit before smoothly disappearing. If the glaze is too thick and the mound remains on the surface, or if the glaze seems curdled, add more warm cream 1 teaspoon at a time. When the consistency is correct, use the glaze at once, or store covered and reheat it.
To glaze the cake, place it on a serving plate. Pour the glaze evenly over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides and pool slightly on the serving plate.
Source: Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum
This could be my last post. I’m taking a risk. Some government guys in black helicopters may object to what I am about to say.
I’ve been seeing small silver disks. Everywhere. Lots and lots and lots of them.
They could be a threat.
Suzen keeps telling me that is nonsense. She’s just freezing her new, moistest, bestest thing: layers of pound cake with fruit.
We got this remarkable book, Piece of Cake: Homemade Baking Made Simple by David Muniz, David Lesniak and Rachel Allen. It has lots and lots of recipes I would like Suzen to try:
- Spiced Pecan Frosting
- Coconut Buttermilk Cake
- Lemon Lavender Scone
- Toffee Walnut Brownies
- Blueberry Sour Cream Cake
- Caramel Frosting
Lot of things. But will she do them? No. All she does is this pound cake with fruit. She keeps buying pears. And making cakes. We have, honestly, run out of freezer space. She’s giving them away. If you are near Tribeca, please drop by. Get a cake. We need space for ice cream.
This is a great cake. It’s one that even I don’t think needs frosting. It’s moist, buttery and wonderful. How good is it? Even Suzen eats the batter. It’s sooooo good. You eat the batter and you know the cake will be wonderful.
I do like the pears. I’m not quite tired of them. I can’ wait for berry season.
In the meantime, if you want a superior baking book, then I heartily recommend Piece of Cake.
Fresh Fruit Coffee Cake
Yield: Serves 12 to 16.
- 4 ½ cup all-purpose Flour
- 2 ¼ teaspoons baking Soda
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 2 ¼ cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or Grand Marnier
- 2 cups Ripe berries (or fruit of choice- diced into ½ inch cubes
- 1 ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350°E Butter a 10-inch tube pan, line the bottom with parchment, dust the sides with flour, and tap out any excess.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large glass measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and vanilla or Grand Marnier. In yet another bowl, toss the fruit with 1/4 cup of the flour mixture, to prevent it from sinking to the bottom while baking. Set the bowls aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to incorporate each egg fully before adding the next.
As always, scrape the bowl as needed along the way. On low speed, alternately ‘add the flour and buttermilk mixtures in 3 to 4 parts, mixing only until Just combined.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the fresh fruit with a rubber spatula. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top as necessary.
Bake for about 90 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a small knife emerges clean. If need be, cover the cake loosely with foil to prevent overbrowning. Cool the cake in the pan for 45 minutes before releasing it. While this may seem too long a cooling period, it allows the fruit juices to set within the cake to prevent it from falling apart when you release it from the pan.
Finish this either with a simple lemon glaze or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. [Or, as Suzen and I do, just eat plain with great cup of coffee.]
Source: Piece of Cake: Homemade Baking Made Simple by David Muniz, David Lesniak and Rachel Allen