Marble cake for those with expensive tastes

21 Sep











Dear Cake Doctor

My new girlfriend has expensive tastes –  she has designer handbags, labelled shoes, and couture in the closet. Her birthday’s coming up, and I want to make her something to satisfy her taste for Tiffany’s, while not breaking the bank. Is there a cake that might do the trick?




Dear Skint,

While any new girlfriend worth her icing sugar should be delighted with a home-baked cake on her birthday, it does sound as though you might need a little extra help to keep this one happy, at least until you get to know each other a little better. And if the budget won’t extend to something couture or carated, I’d suggest you woo her with a cake that’s flashy on the outside, homely on the inside. A classic cake with an impressive exterior that’s sure to dazzle her. That’s why I’m prescribing you marble cake.

Swirls of vanilla and bursts of cocoa will appeal to your girlfriend’s aesthetic preference, while its buttery fluffy sponge will tickle her tastebuds. And a rich chocolate glaze is all the wrapping this gift needs.

Diamonds and Dior? A marble cake will feed those expensive tastes – and this particular one’s worth its weight in gold.

Good luck!


The Cake Doctor x


Complaint: expensive tastes

Prescription: marble cake (inspired by Mary Berry’s chocolate and vanilla marble loaf in her book ‘My Kitchen Table: 100 Cakes and Bakes’)


For the cake –

1½ tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons hot water

225g butter at room temperature (or, fridge cold, zapped in the microwave for 30 seconds)

225g caster sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs, at room temperature

275g self-raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons milk

For the glaze-

125 ml single cream

150g dark chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon golden syrup

45g unsalted butter


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius (or 180 if your oven’s not fan-forced).

Butter the base and sides of a round cake tin and line with baking paper.









In a smallish bowl, mix the cocoa powder and hot water together with a fork until smooth. Set this aside to cool slightly.









Sift the flour and baking powder over a medium bowl and set aside also.









Now, place the butter and sugar in a large bowl, and beat with a freestanding electric mixer, a handheld electric whisk, or just a wooden spoon until increased slightly in volume and paled a little in colour.









Add the vanilla extract, then the eggs one by one, beating after each is added.











Now set aside your mixer, whisk or wooden spoon, and tip the flour and baking powder mixture, as well as the milk, over the butter, sugar and egg mixture and gently stir to combine. Try not to ‘overmix’ as the more you stir, the tougher your mixture and the heavier your cake.











Now, separate half of the mixture by spooning into another bowl, and set aside.

Add your cooled cocoa mixture to one of the bowls of cake mixture, mixing well until thoroughly incorporated.









Now, the fun part. Spoon each of the vanilla and chocolate cake mixtures into the prepared tin however you like – you can alternate, or spoon most of the chocolate around the edges and the vanilla in the centre, or vice versa.









Then, gently pull a skewer or fork through the mixture to ‘marble’ it a little further. Don’t go crazy though or you’ll end up with a right mess.









Place the tin in the oven for 50 minutes, or until the cake has risen, the edges have shrunk away from the sides, and a gently push of the surface produces a springy reaction (rather than a jelly-like quiver).









Allow the cake to cool in the tin for about ten minutes, then gently turn out and cool on a wire rack.

Once the cake has cooled completely, it’s ready to be wrapped in a chocolate glaze. Place the cream, chocolate, golden syrup and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (or ‘bain-marie’), making sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl.









Stir occasionally as the ingredients melt and form a smooth and glossy topping.









And finally, drizzle the glaze over the top of your marbled sponge.









Voilà – a delectable treat wrapped in glossy chocolate! What more could a girl want?










The Cake Doctor x

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