Sunday, 16 September 2012

"Posh" Marble Cake

Also known as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" cake.

I made this cake earlier today for a colleague's birthday after seeing the recipe in the Times Saturday magazine. It's a recipe from Lorraine Pascale, one of my favourite 'celebrity' chefs. Lorraine used to be a model and was the first black British model to grace the cover of American Elle. After modelling, she tried a number of new careers including as a car mechanic, before professionally training as a chef. She now runs a cake shop, the Cupcake Bakehouse, as well as presenting a series on BBC.

Anyway, on with the recipe.. (slightly adapted from the Times)

50ml sunflower (or other flavourless) oil, plus extra for greasing
250g caster sugar
100ml semi-skimmed milk
4 medium eggs (at room temperature)
A few drops of vanilla extract
300g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 heaped tbsp cocoa powder

1 orange
1 Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Grease a baking tin with oil (recipe suggests 24cm)
2 Put the oil, sugar, milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat everything together by hand. The original recipe says to not use an electric whisk, as this produces a lot of bubbles. I used a hand whisk and it worked well

Oil, sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla
Mix well to combine

 3 Pour half the mixture into another bowl and add 175g sifted self raising flour and 1/2 tsp of baking powder. Mix together

Vanilla mixture
5 Sift the remaining 125g self-raising flour and ½ tsp baking powder into another bowl, along with the cocoa powder. Finely grate the orange zest in, (and add a squeeze of orange juice if you like) mix everything together well and 
set to one side
Chocolate mixture (I need another mixing bowl!)
6 Now, put 1 tbsp of the vanilla mix in the middle of the tin. Then, using a clean tablespoon, put a blob of the chocolate mix 
in the middle of the vanilla one. Keep doing this, alternating between vanilla and chocolate, 
so you form a type of “bull’s eye” or “target board” look. Each time you dollop a blob in, the whole mix will spread out on the base. By the time you have used up both the cake mixes, they should have just reached the edge of 
 the tin.

Layer up the mixtures
Eventually it looks like this!
7 Bake in the oven for about 
35 minutes. Check the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer 
into the centre – it should come out clean. If not, return the cake to the oven for another 5 minutes or so, until cooked. Once the 
cake is ready, remove it from 
the oven and allow to cool for 
a few minutes in the tin. Then carefully remove from the tin 
and leave to cool completely on 
a wire rack (but it is also fine to eat it warm)

The cake just after taking it out of the tin
Cupcakes, not quite as pretty but still tasty
I found it took a little under half an hour, although the tin I used was smaller than specified, and so I had some mixture left to make cupcakes too. I finished the big cake off with chocolate icing and some very wobbly-looking stars..

Of course, the real treat is surprise is when you cut into it you see the zebra pattern. I've not cut mine yet, but I'm hoping it will look something like this...

Picture taken from here. As you can see, their photography is somewhat superior to mine!

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