Sunday, January 01, 2006

Marble Cake Like No Other

This is the first day of 2006, and I will start the new year with something familiar to everyone. Most of us have at one time or another (whether as part of home-economics classes, baked by mum, grandma or an aunt or even bought from the local bakery) partaken of a slice of marble cake, which is basically a light pound cake made from two different colored cake mixtures (usually a vanilla-based pale mixture contrasted against a chocolate-based dark mixture).
Marble Cake

Today's marble cake though is different.
  • First, the recipe originates from Alice Medrich's BitterSweet (and in the book, the cake is named "Tiger Cake", for its alternating stripes).
  • Second, no butter is used in the cake at all, instead it is replaced by 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil to 3 cups of plain flour. The lovely yellow shade of the lighter portion of the cake reflects the hue imparted by the extra-virgin olive oil. Although delighted that the cake would contain healthy olive oil, I was a little concerned as to whether it would turn out oily or too strong in olive oil aromas or flavors. If you are equally concerned, you can rest assured that the baked result is moist without being in the least oily.
  • Third, half a teaspoon of ground white pepper is added to the ingredients - did a double-take, didn't you? - Me too, as I was reading the recipe! Ms Medrich recommends it "to accentuate the olive oil flavor" and who am I to cast doubt on the same.
  • Fourth, again following Ms Medrich's instructions NOT to use Dutch-process cocoa powder as it reacts negatively with the 2 teaspoons of baking powder and olive oil used in the recipe, I used half a cup of Valrhona's 100% Gastronomie Cocoa Powder (unsweetened) mixed with half a cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of water blended into a chocolate paste. I can only add that using good quality cocoa makes a whole lot of difference and results in an incredible chocolate flavor when you taste that forkful of cake.
The results of this unorthodox marble cake is most satisfying. Even without butter, the cake is nicely moist with a light pound-cake texture, and the pepper adds just that tad of 'kick' while staying in the background most of the time.

This cake batter is however quite 'wet' in that it comprises a cup of olive oil, 5 cold large eggs and a cup of cold milk, which accounts for the instructions to bake in a tube or bundt pan or to split into 2 loaf pans. I used a single large loaf pan and the center of my cake took much longer than the one hour and 10 minutes recommended in a 175C (350F) oven - thus, the browned crust for the cake.

Plain as it may look, this is one of the best marble cakes I've made and tasted, and I can't wait to try it toasted for breakfast tomorrow morning (strongly recommended by Ms Medrich as toasting intensifies the flavors).

Happy new year 2006 to one and all, and here's to new things including familiar ones with new twists!

8 Comments:

Blogger galinusa said...

I like Alice Medrich's recipes too! Have you tried her chocolate pound cake? Simply divine!

1/02/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger fooDcrazEE said...

Nice and healthy ! Done it once with olives oil and it turns out to be more moist than the butter. Not easy to dissolve the sugar in the oil though but the taste .....not as nice.

Cath, i was advise to wrap the mould with a wet cloth as the cake top will not cracked. havent try them b4. Maybe u can try and let us know.

Thanx

1/02/2006 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

dear galinusa, no, I haven't though it sounds like I should make that chocolate pound cake my next baking experiment :)

hi foodcrazee...agreed not easy to dissolve the sugar in oil, but I used my mixer and just made sure that it's well blended. Do you mean that the whole baking mould, top and bottom, is wrapped in wet cloth? Wow, wouldn't that cause a fair amount of steaming in the oven? Heehee, my own version of steam oven (no need to buy the electronic steam oven then) :o

1/02/2006 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger J said...

hi cath, your tiger cake looks sooo good! happy new year to you and your loved ones; may 2006 be filled with much happiness and delicious food!

1/03/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous S said...

Hi Cath,

You've convinced me to try the recipe out with that lovely picture of yours! Happy New Year.

1/03/2006 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

dear j, thanks for the compliments, happy new year to you and W and may I send you return wishes as well!

hi s, thank you and happy NY to you and CH also :)

1/03/2006 10:57:00 PM  
Anonymous spots said...

hey looks good !! perhaps will buy the cookbook + try for myself. I love baking recipes with no butter...makes me feel healthier when i eat them! :)

1/06/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger joone! said...

I think i'm going to try making this too, it is so pretty! Happy new year Cath!

1/06/2006 04:59:00 PM  

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