Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Adventures in Baking - Marble Cake

Alison's Marble CakeMy sister's birthday is in early November.  We are a family who tries to get together for everyone's birthdays and just have a nice family dinner.  Since my mom reads my blog (Hi Mom!) she knows I've been getting my bake on more often.  So when I asked her what I should bring to dinner, she told me (okay, asked me) to bake a cake.

Not only did I rise to the challenge, but I also made the non-decision to make a marble cake.  Does Alison like chocolate or vanilla cake better?  Who cares, let's make one that's both!

So I Googled cake recipes for an entire night.  I never know how to know if this recipe works, tastes good, or any of that.  I will read an entire page of comments and still not really form an opinion because for every person that struggled with it, 2 more loved it, and then 3 people made it, but with substitutions, or add ons.  If there are enough positive reviews I'll make the assumption that it must usually work out okay.

The recipe I used was at realsimple.com. (That's the link directly to the recipe, not just the Real Simple website.)  It tasted good but as you can see it turned out more like a chocolate cake on top of a white cake.

I found the original batter quite thick and almost tough to work with.  I scooped the 2 cups out and into the cocoa/water/sugar mix and that batter was much more workable.  Were I to make it again I would add a little more milk to the original vanilla batter before I poured it into the pan so I could "swirl" the flavours together better.

My second struggle was actually baking the cake.  I have a nice glass 9x13 dish that has a lid.  I thought "Great! I can travel with it!"  What I didn't realize was baking in glass is different than in metal pans.  Of course the recipe didn't specify pan material, but I put it in at the temperature suggested for the smallest allotment of time suggested and it was nowhere near done.  The toothpick came out coated in chocolate batter.

Logically I thought this was due to the runnier consistency of the chocolate batter, and the fact that I put the timer on for the shortest time.  I put it back in for 2 more minutes.  Then 2 more, and then another minute and thirty seconds.  I think in total I cooked it for almost 10 extra minutes.  At that point there was one spot where the toothpick still came out fairly coated, but I wanted to be able to eat at least some of the cake so I decided it was done enough!

 If you look closely at the photo you can see a small spot in the middle where the cake sank a bit.  I was quite worried that it would still be runny in that section!  Of course it turned out fine, and once I'd iced and decorated it you couldn't tell it had a sunken spot at all.

I made some icing from scratch using this recipe, but I really had to read all the comments as there was a confusing part about the icing sugar.  At any rate it tasted really good and I didn't thin it out too much so it spread on the cake beautifully.  After the white icing I used the various decorating stuff I had from doing the cookies for Emma's Halloween party.  Who doesn't love black and pink decorations on their cake?? (I think my artistic handwriting needs some work, but no one complained about my block letters!)

I then put the lid on thinking there was lots of space, but it did squish the letters a bit.  To make up for that we took our girlie coloured sprinkles (pink, blue, yellow and purple) with us to dust the cake with right before the candles went on.  The girls love putting sprinkles on stuff.

Here's the last photo - the cake all ready to go!

We had a nice birthday visit with Alison and the parentals.  My kids didn't eat the cake (I didn't think they would) but everyone else said it was good.  I tend to agree.

Do you have any baking catastrophes (or successes!) that made a good story?  Share in the comments, and thanks for reading!


  1. I've attempted a marble cake a few times- once I even did HOT PINK mixed in daughters request- that one turned out the best...most of the time I agree just looks like a chocolate on top of vanilla or vis a versa but it all tasste good and THAT's what counts the most =)

    1. Hot pink - what a great idea! My daughter would love that. Was it pink and chocolate, or just both vanilla, one with pink colouring added? I do totally agree that it's the taste that matters most anyway. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Great job! I love homemade cakes! They are always made with love!

    1. Thanks! I feel like it really wasn't much more work than a mix. And it tasted so much better! :D

  3. Homemade cakes are tough to make but it get's better with practice!