I’m a wuss when it comes to trying new things. Yep
with an emphasis on the p. *stops for a pause* I have been wanting to try this recipe for weeks, but somehow it moved towards the back of my to-do list as other bakes took over. The reasons are many, not worth mentioning. Some might not even make sense, but there is one that does. Paul Hollywood…master baker…The Great British Bake Off…those piercing blue eyes telling you off for a disappointing cake…and Mary Berry’s eyes of course! Phew! Now it’s not as if Mary and Paul were in my kitchen watching my every move, but their books with their lovely faces looking out at me sure make it seem like it sometimes! (See photo below!) And this is Paul’s recipe, so really there’s no pressure. (Don’t you feel tense while watching GGBO?!)
Seriously though (as if I wasn’t earlier) Mr. Hollywood’s marble cake is quite straightforward, easy and fun to make, and home baking should be fun. Lots of people ask me which book of his to get, assuming they cannot get all of them. For me, there’s no hesitation: definitely How to Bake. It is an all-rounder.
As usual I urge you to read the steps before you start. Don’t just read as you bake. I am trying to improve. Seriously.
- 200g butter, unsalted and softened
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 250g plain flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 40ml milk*
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
- Some icing sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven at 180ºC (fan 170ºC) and line a tin loaf with a baking paper.
Put the butter, 180g of the caster sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl, and beat together until the mixture turns light and airy. Then beat the eggs in, one by one. Sift the flour plus baking powder over the mixture, and add 2 teaspoons of the milk, folding it slowly. Tip two-thirds of the mixture into the lined loaf tin.
Sift the cocoa powder over what remains of the mixture and fold this in with the remainder of the sugar, that is 20g and the rest of the milk. (The recipe calls for full-fat milk*; I have made this with semi-skimmed and it worked well too.)
Slowly spoon this chocolate mixture over the vanilla one in the tin.
Now comes the forming-of-the-marble-bit (as I like to call it). Take a fork and run this through the batter. Go for it, do it slowly but don’t be afraid of it.
Bake for around 55 to 70 minutes. It will be done when a skewer or knife comes out clean. Leave it to cool for a while in the tin, then on to a wire rack. Leave to cool completely before dusting it with icing sugar.
Such a great treat for a tea party. If you don’t like tea (like me) try it with a milky hot chocolate, on the couch with a good book. Enjoy!
(Recipe adapted from How to Bake by Paul Hollywood, Bloomsbury, 2012.)