Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake

Marble Cake

Marble Cake

On my recent adventure to the Clandestine Cake Club I came across two ladies who made ‘marble cakes’ and I found myself wondering why I have never attempted to make one? I had made a fairly low maintenance Pistachio, Cardamom and Yoghurt Cake which is a fairly straight forward all in one method with a lime syrup to drizzle on top. I had a chat with a fellow baker who had made a delicious Chocolate and Orange Marble Cake and she reassured me that the secret to marbling is that ‘less is more’. So today I decided to give it a shot!

Marble Cake recipe

Marble Cake recipe from Dan Lepard’s ‘Short and Sweet’

I used a Dan Lepard recipe from his book ‘Short and Sweet’. The recipe is actually for a Marbled Chocolate Crumble Cake but I decided to skip on the crumble since to simplify things for myself. He has posted a similar recipe on his Guardian column which gives brilliant step by step photos to guide you along the way to a perfect marble cake!

Marble Loaf Cake

Marble Loaf Cake

So taking the cake out of the oven, I felt quietly confident that cake would be a success as the top was nicely marbled and you could see the contrasting colours. However one the cake had cooled though to cut through it was a very different story inside! I was obviously not thorough enough with the ‘swirling’ so have ended up with blocks of cake that are either ‘chocolate’ or ‘vanilla’. This may have something to do with my cutting the cake into squares instead of slices though…

Marbled Cake

Marbled Cake

The texture of the cake is a little crumbly on the chocolate bits where it started to fall away a little when I cut it. The vanilla parts were fine though. On tasting a few of the crumbs, I have to say it tastes lovely! Very deep chocolate flavour and not too sweet. I like Dan Lepard’s recipes and will definitely try more from his book!

Advertisements

Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Truffle Celebration Cake

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Truffles

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Truffles

This celebration cake was baked in honour of a friend and colleague who is moving on to a new challenging role with another equally deserving charity. We had planned a surprise party for her in the office and as always a centre piece cake would be there. We have another colleague who is always asked to make the special celebration cakes as she is wonderful at sugar craft and can model the most amazing figures, making the most jaw dropping cakes that are tailored to the lucky person it is intended for. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to help out this time so I was asked to make the cake instead. What a daunting task! I like to bake but only as a hobby and I’ve found baking under pressure to be so stressful!

I thought for days about what kind of cake to make. I wasn’t even going to attempt any kind of sugar craft as I have never done anything like it before and I wasn’t about to start now! I was also putting extra pressure on myself because I really want this cake to look delicious and inviting, maybe even a little glamorous?! No pressure! 🙂

The Cake

After a lot of too-ing and fro-ing I settled on a basic chocolate fudge cake recipe that I had scribbled down off a friend’s mum. She had made their wedding cake using this recipe and it was absolutely delicious! I remember going back for a second slice because it was the tastiest wedding cake I had ever had and it was home made! The original recipe uses fresh cream and black cherry jam for the filling, so being a ‘black forest’ cake fan it was obviously going to be a winner for me!

This is the basic recipe for two thin 20 cm round cakes:

Ingredients

  • 175 grams Self Raising Flour
  • 2 tbs Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 150 grams Caster Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 150ml Sunflower Oil
  • 150ml Milk
  • 2 tbs Golden Syrup

Method

  • Beat all ingredients together
  • Bake in two sandwich tins at 170 degrees C for 25 minutes

You can’t get much simpler than that right!

The challenge I had was to up-size the recipe for a 30 cm cake tin and have two layers. So I figured that I would double the recipe and see how it turns out. Luckily the recipe worked well all baked in 1 cake tin but I needed to bake it for about 40 minutes in total. I decided that the cake didn’t rise enough to make a two layer cake, so decided to do another batch. I decided upon cutting both cakes in half but only using 3 tiers as 4 was just too high! So with the additional layer I cut it up using a round mould and have put them in the freezer for future mini cake adventures…

Salted Caramel Truffle Cake

Salted Caramel Truffle Cake

The Frosting

As I am going through a stage of experimentation with salted caramel, I decided that this grown-ups party would be the right time to use salted caramel to the max! So I found a few salted caramel butter cream recipes and settled on this Banana Cake with Salted Caramel recipe for inspiration. Mainly because the cake in the picture looked similar to what I wanted to achieve so I figured that I could stick to the proportions of ingredients and have enough to frost the whole cake. It is also a fairly easy recipe to follow.

After watching the sugar syrup boil for ages, I figured that the recipe could be adapted a little to have less water so this stage need not take so long, but would this then affect the quantity of caramel? I decided that this is something to experiment with another time… As I only had unsalted butter, I added a teaspoon of sea salt to the caramel along with the cream to give it the signature taste.

I struggled a little with this recipe as it tells you to ‘Beat the cooled caramel cream using an electric beater until fluffy’, warning that ‘his step takes a while, so be patient’. So I kept the mixer beating the caramel and nothing happened… 15 minutes later I gave up and just started adding the butter. The frosting was actually very runny so I decided to add another half block of butter to the bowl and some icing sugar too the thicken it up and it seemed to work. I also put the frosting into the fridge to harden a little as it was still fairly runny.

This frosting is ideal for people who like buttercream but find it a little too sweet. The caramel flavour is very strong and is a great choice for grown-ups. I also like the natural caramel colour of the frosting as a lot of buttercream recipes require artificial colourings to make them a look nice, so all in all this recipe is another keeper!

 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Truffles

Salted Caramel Chocolate Truffles

The Decoration

Looking on the world wide web for inspiration on how to decorate this cake I decided to make some Salted Caramel Truffles to go on top. For a previous cake I had made profiteroles but I wasn’t too happy with the finishing look, and making these profiteroles was only going to add to my stress levels! The Salted Caramel Truffles were ideal as I could also use the recipe for making Christmas food gifts if they turned out OK.

So after frosting the layers of the cake and decorating the top with truffles and drizzles of left over caramel sauce, the cake was complete! I am slightly disappointed that you can see some of the cake crumb in the frosting, I must have over-baked it so must keep an eye on this next time. As I’m not very good at being precise and ‘pretty’ isn’t really my style, I went for the ‘messy look’. I think I got away with it!

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Truffles

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Truffles

The Verdict

I’m pretty happy with the final product. I got lots of compliments and people even took extra slices home, always a good sign! From the little that was left of the cake, I could tell it was well appreciated! I’ve finally been able to get the cake to slice evenly thanks to a new kitchen gadget I picked up from a local shop but similar to this Amazon product. It only cost me £3 and gives such a perfect professional finish! The cake itself was moist and light, while the frosting wasn’t too sweet. I even had some left over truffles to enjoy too!

A winner all round… 🙂

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake!

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

Chocolate cake is usually a reliable crowd pleaser, although I do know a few people who have allergies to chocolate and caffeine so this cake is definitely not for them! I can’t say that chocolate cake is my all time favourite, I often find it far too sweet and a bit too rich! But given the choice of eating a piece of chocolate cake or no cake at all, I’d take what is on offer! 🙂

I made this cake for my brother-in-law’s birthday this weekend. It was actually a second attempt as the first attempt went terribly wrong, but I’m not exactly sure why! It was very flat and However, my brother-in-law and nephew being big chocolate cake fans managed to polish off the ‘trial cake’ within a day anyway…

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I grew up eating ‘Black Forest Gateaux’ for birthday cakes. This cake ended up being very similar in flavour. I’m not sure if this decision was subconsciously or whether it was a happy ‘coincidence’ but it was well received by all anyway!

The recipe is for The Ultimate Chocolate Cake and judging by the current 864 ratings on the BBC Good Food website, its a popular and reliable recipe to go with. It’s also a very basic easy to follow recipe so a good one to fall back on when you are short on time and need something fairly quick. It’s very similar to a brownie recipe and results in a dense cake with a slight crunch on the outside.

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream, Raspberries and Cherry Compote in the middle

This is the second time I’ve made this cake, the first time was for a colleague’s birthday in the office a few months ago. It went down very well then too but I found it far too rich and sweet so this time I attempted to lighten it up by adding fresh cream and the tartness of fresh berries to try and cur through the rich dark chocolate. This was achieved to a certain extent, but I don’t think I went far enough. Feedback from the family was that more cream was needed, so I will definitely remember this for next time! The fruit was a welcomed addition and again I would add a lot more next time…

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

I have a confession to make with this cake… The nice little pile of raspberries that were delicately placed in the middle of the cake didn’t stay there for long. When packing into the cake carrier, I found the cake was too high and the lid did not fit, so I ate all the raspberries off the top to make it fit! It only occurred to me later on that I could have put the extra raspberries into a container to add them later on, but by then it was already too late! 🙂