Marble cake is an absolute classic in Germany, and for good reason. I must have baked this for the first time when I was about 10 years old and I have made it hundreds of times since. One memorable occasion was my 18th birthday when I started baking this cake not long before my guests arrived. I somehow managed to get my hair tangled up in the electric whisk, which destroyed my carefully styled hair. My mother, inexplicably, found this very funny and struggled to help me detach the whisk from my head for she was laughing so hard. In my family opinions on the marble cake are divided. For me, and also for my dad, marble cake has been a firm and constant favourite and we would pick this over elaborate cream cakes or fruit tarts any day. We particularly like eating large slices of this for breakfast. Some people, including my mother, think that marble cake is a bit basic – boring, even. I can assure you that they are mistaken.
In Germany marble cakes tend to be baked in a ring-shaped tin as shown on the photo. However, they can also be baked in a regular square or rectangular cake tin. The recipe makes one large cake.
Seeds from one vanilla pod
500g plain flour
2 heaped tsp baking powder
170 ml milk
4 tbsp cocoa powder
A good swig of dark rum or amaretto (or extra milk)
Whisk the butter with the sugar for about 10 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one and keep whisking. Mix in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl mix the flour with the baking powder. Alternate adding flour and milk to the egg mixture, whisking slowly. Once all the flour and milk have been added pour two thirds of the batter into a greased cake tin. Add the cocoa powder and rum (or other liquid) to the remaining batter and mix well. Pour the chocolate batter on top of the white batter and swirl carefully with a fork for a marble effect.
Bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees for about 45 minutes. Prick the cake with a match or toothpick – if it comes out clean the cake is done.
Leave to cool for a few minutes then turn out of the tin. It can be served as it is, dusted with icing sugar, or covered with chocolate icing. It keeps fresh in a tin for several days and also freezes very well.