Marble Cake Like No Other
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.
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!