I don’t really know what to call this marble cake. It’s not quite a pound cake and it’s not quite a butter cake. I guess the best way to describe it would be to say it’s my hybrid version of both (Marbuttle?)
When I was in Malaysia, I baked a lot of cakes using my Third Aunt’s Butter Cake recipe (and even that has been modified because I used to put in 8-10 eggs) but when I got to the US, I found that pound cakes were very popular. Even though I liked them, I found that the ones that I tried to bake up were too dry and too sweet for my Asian tastebuds.
After many trials, I’ve come up with this version that is a hybrid of both and every time I bake it, I never have any leftovers! As a matter of fact, someone who recently had some told me it’s the best marble cake she’s ever had, and I have to agree, it’s that good!
It’s All About the Ingredients
I’ve baked this marble cake so many times lately (3 times in a week) that I can tell you that it’s a very easy recipe (also super fattening so thankfully, I baked it for others all those times). It doesn’t take too much effort for such a delicious cake. The trick is to use good butter and also good chocolate. For those who are die-hard chocolate fans, stick to the good stuff. But even with Nestle chocolate chips, I’ve found it’s still good.
The other important ingredient is plain yogurt. That is what makes the whole cake so hard to resist! Somehow, it just complements the buttery flavors and kicks up the vanilla/chocolate tastes.
I find that a marble cake is best when the chocolate part doesn’t overwhelm the vanilla bit so unless you love your chocolate immensely, make sure to take out a bit more than half of the vanilla portion before mixing the chocolate to the rest of the batter.
For the chocolate part of this marble cake, I normally just eyeball the chocolate (so I decided to measure at the last bake and it’s roughly about 100g of chocolate) and put it in a microwave safe bowl and nuke it at 30-second intervals, stirring between intervals, till the chocolate is all melted. Also, do make sure that your bowl is completely dry as any water will cause the chocolate to seize up and never come together in a smooth paste. I have also sometimes added a tablespoon of cocoa powder (Dutch process cocoa powder or natural, doesn’t quite matter) to the chocolate portion along with the melted chocolate. And when I’m feeling naughty, I’ll sometimes add some Grand Marnier to it too!
This recipe does give you a really big cake and I’ve found that when I’m baking it in my fancy bundt pan (Nordic Ware Star bundt pan which has a 10-cup capacity), it will overflow. It works very well to put them into two loaf pans or use a bigger bundt (I have a cheaper, 12-cup one that works really well) so do plan accordingly.
Marble Cake Recipe
3 sticks (12 oz) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (I’ve cheated by sticking it in the microwave and nuking at 10 second intervals when I had forgotten to take my butter out of the freezer)
scant 2 cups sugar (I’ve gotten away with as little as 1 3/4 cups)
6 extra-large (large will work too) eggs, at room temperature (but if you’ve forgotten to take it out of the fridge ahead of time, it’s ok, this recipe is pretty forgiving)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 cups (15 oz) bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plain yogurt (if you can use full fat, do so)
scant 1/2 cup milk (whole is better—I know, this is not a fat-free cake ok?)
100g (3.5oz) semi-sweet chocolate (morsels are fine, but if you can use really good dark chocolate, do so—the chocolate flavor will be more pronounced)
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. Put chocolate in a dry, clean bowl and melt in microwave oven in 30-second intervals, stirring till you get a smooth paste. Remove and let cool a little.
Smooth, Melted Chocolate
3. In a stand mixer, or a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar till mixture is fluffy and sugar has been cut in well. I normally use 5-6 speed on my Kitchen Aid for about 3-5 minutes.
4. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat on med-high speed for about 20 seconds after each egg, and scrape down before adding the next one.
5. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
Creamed Cake Batter
6. Add dry ingredients (I normally add all the baking soda, baking powder and salt in the first go along with the first larger third portion of flour) in three portions, interspersing with the yogurt and milk and stir gently (use stir setting on Kitchen Aid or stir with a spatula). So basically, this means 1/3 dry ingredients, yogurt, 1/3 dry ingredients, milk, final third dry ingredient. Stir till all traces of flour is gone.
7. Take out half (or a bit more) of the vanilla cake batter and drop it around the bundt pan (I’m being lazy, you can just put it into another bowl and wait till the chocolate is done to put them together into the bundt to get a really nice even mix).
Vanilla Cake Batter in the Bundt
8. Add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder and Grand Marnier (if using) to the remaining batter and stir it in till there are no more streaks of white (or as much as possible, a few streaks will not hurt too much).
9. Interspersing globs of vanilla batter with chocolate batter, drop batter into bundt. In my case, I normally unevenly mound the vanilla in three spots around the bundt, then follow that up by placing the chocolate batter in between the vanilla.
10. Using your spatula, twirl the batter together using a figure-eight motion to mix the batter up to get that nice pretty marble design. Don’t overmix lest you get a light brown cake. The more practice you get doing this, the better your marble cakes begin to look. The flavor won’t be affected even if you don’t get it too right so don’t worry about it too much.
Swirling Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Batter in the Bundt
11. Smooth out the top of your bundt/loaf pan and put cake in oven to bake. If you’re using loaf pans, start to test the cake after about 40 minutes. If using your bundt, it will need about 1 hour (test after 55 minutes). Cake tester should come out clean when it’s done. I always know when it’s almost ready—the house will smell heavenly!
Finished Marble Bundt Cake
A note about using a bundt pan—do invest in a good quality, non-stick one. I really do like the Nordic Ware Pro versions, they are sturdy and work well (a little costly but if you look around, there are deals to be found—I got mine at Costco around Christmas time for under $20) AND they come in all these cool shapes and sizes.
It’s the most awful thing when your bundt pan fails on you and you have cake that doesn’t come out in one piece. Another good trick is to use a non-stick spray to ensure that the cake will come out well. Also, please don’t let the cake sit in the pan for too long (cool it for about 10 minutes and then invert). If you do, it will be much harder to take out.
Enjoy! And please don’t blame me for the hit it’ll take on your hips…I’ve been there myself and have to now restrain myself to baking it for other people and stealing a slice if I happen to be around to share in it (or sometimes, I save a little bit of the batter and bake a cupcake or two to save for myself).