Marble cakes, like checkerboard cakes, have a long history, which runs all the way back to the German immigrants of the pre-Civil War era. Marble cake, or Marmokuchen in the original German, was the technique of combining two different cake batters and creating a marbling effect. To create a darker batter, currants, molasses, spices, raisins, and even coffee was used.
Lucky for us, Jewish German bakers eventually introduced the idea of using chocolate to create the darker batter.
In the marble cake recipe below we use a recipe by Luisa Weiss. The recipe calls for white chocolate to be added to the plain batter to give it a certain dimension and depth that is very satisfying. The marble cake recipe results in a lighter texture cake with a lovely tea time feel.
Luisa’s cookbook takes the time to break down the culture and background of each one of her recipes in this book. The National Baking Society calls Luisa’s cookbook beautiful and “necessary”.
MARVELOUS MARBLE CAKE RECIPE
A few tips from Luisa include to bake the cake the day before, as the cake gets better with age, and that if you’re using a Bundt pan it’s best not to fill it to the top as this cake rises a lot thanks to the full tablespoon of baking soda.
On the National Baking Society blog, the writer makes 10-12 mini Bundt cakes with the batter, making these perfect as gifts or party favors. These were cute and portable, and the center can be filled with cream or frosting.
You could use an ice scream scope to create a checkerboard pattern in your pan Bundt pan or pans before swirling the batter to give it the marble effect.
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The marble cake recipe below is an adaptation from the cookbook Marble Cake from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss.
- 3 ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 ½ ounces white chocolate, chopped
- 18 tablespoons unsalted high-fat, Euro-style butter, softened
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
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- Preheat the oven to 350℉, placing the rack in the bottom third of the oven. Butter and flour a Gugelhupf or Bundt pan.
- Put the bittersweet and white chocolate into two separate small stainless-steel bowls that can be set over a small saucepan of simmering water, or in microwave-safe bowls. Melt the chocolates, one bowl at a time, over the saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave in small bursts, stirring after every few bursts. Set aside to cool.
- Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment. Add the sugar and salt and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and then the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition, until the mixture is well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Beat the flour into the butter mixture. Then scrape out two-thirds of the batter into a medium bowl and stir all the melted white chocolate into the large batch of batter until no streaks remain.
- Add the melted bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, and milk to the remaining one-third of the batter and beat until fully combined and no streaks remain.
- Scrape half of the white batter into the prepared cake pan. Top with bittersweet batter. Then scrape the remaining white batter on top. Using swooping motions, drag the blade of a knife through the batter to create a marbled cake.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 60 minutes, or until the white part of the cake is golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Bundt pan users: start testing earlier (45 minutes) and mini-Bundt users test around the 18-minute mark.
- Place the pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before unmolding it onto the rack and letting it cool upside down. When the cake has cooled completely, dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired, and serve.
Enjoy the Perfect Marble Cake
The cake can be made a day ahead. Any leftovers will keep, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 3 days at room temperature.
The cake will come out moist and slightly sweet. The white chocolate will add a hint of thickness to the vanilla flavor, while the chocolate will give that comforting depth. These cakes are paired very well with tea or coffee.
Baking this will be a trip down memory lane, as well as a nod to all the moms, grandmothers, and great grandmothers who served these to their own family and friends.
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Remember to wait until the next day to really enjoy these! But we won’t tell if you cheat.
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