Want to see a gorgeous cake? Of course you do! One that's so pretty it needs no icing or other adornments. Ready?
Though that's just one slice, you can surely imagine what the whole cake looks like. Need another glimpse? Of course, I'd be glad to oblige. I'm a giver, after all!
You'll have to forgive me for not having a picture of the untouched finished cake. You see, I made it for our wonderful DC hosts this past weekend and didn't want to be toooo obnoxious about food photography. Even though one of said hosts is, quite possibly, this blog's biggest groupie (thanks!). If anyone would understand, it'd be her. So I guess I can't blame my lack of archiving on my friends.
Not what, but whom! This girl. I'll take the blame because I was so eager to dig into this cake that, when the time finally came, well, let's just say my hands (and mouth) were too preoccupied to fumble around with a silly camera.
Thanks for understanding :) It's one of the many reasons I adore you.
Another reason is that you have great taste. Because I'll bet at this very moment you're wondering, "How can I get my hands on a cake like that?" There's an easy answer to that question. You can make it at home! Once you do this, you'll no longer be mystified by marbled cakes and cupcakes at the local bakery. Sure, you may want them, and they may be tasty, but you'll know the secret that a marbling effect is no work at all.
A little swirling action and you've got yourself deliciously chocolate and vanilla cake. And, most of the time, you'll get tastes of both in a single bite! Win win. And, you know, topping it with a bit of vanilla and chocolate ice cream surely won't do any harm. After all, cakes make people happy, right?
(adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)
-makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; set aside. Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside 1/3 of the batter.
In a bowl, mix cocoa and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the cocoa mixture to the reserved cake batter; stir until well combined.
Spoon batters into the prepared pan in 2 layers, alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate to simulate a checkerboard. To create marbling, run a table knife (or wooden skewer) through the batters in a swirling motion.
Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cake from pan and cool completely on the rack. Cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.