Ever since I started following Martha Stewart on Pinterest, I’ve been inundated with a gazillion yummy looking pictures of cookies and cakes and roasts and pies… the list goes on. So far, I’ve resisted. But when I saw her version of a simple marble cake, I gave in to temptation and actually made it. As it turned out, I made a beautiful cake.
People, this is a good recipe and goes to show that you don’t need to have amazing skills to prepare a great cake! I followed the recipe exactly apart from making my own cake flour and buttermilk (I’ll show you how below). I didn’t have any lying around in the kitchen. Actually, I don’t even know what cake flour is. Never heard of it! Never seen it in the supermarket either. Still, it all turned out perfectly. I couldn’t be happier with both texture and taste. I mean, who doesn’t love when vanilla and chocolate join forces?
Yield: Makes one 9-by-5 inch loaf
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperatue, plus a little more to grease the pan
- 1 3/4 cup cake flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
- Preheat oven to 175°C. Butter the loaf pan and set aside.
- Whisk together cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (Martha suggests using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes but I just used my hands and built some muscle in the process). Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract. 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 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. Don’t stress over this part – the cake will taste just as good.
- 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. According to Martha, the cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days but the cake didn’t survive that long in our house so we can’t be sure.
How to make cake flour at home
1. Measure out all the all-purpose flour you’ll need. For every cup of all-purpose flour, take out 2 tablespoons and throw that back into your container of flour. Substitute that 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour with cornstarch.
2. Then sift the all-purpose flour and cornstarch together at least 5 times. You want your flour to be really well aerated.
That’s it! You’re done.
How to make buttermilk at home
1. Combine 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar.
2. Let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes. You’ll notice the milk start to thicken and curdle a little. Once you see this, your ‘buttermilk’ is ready for use.
PS. It’ll never be as thick as store bought buttermilk but don’t fear, this version works just fine : )
Simple! Now go make this cake. You’ll thank me.