Chocolate Marble Cake

marble cake | ZoeBakes 04

My 15-year-old is not one to spend time cooking, so when he does I watch with delight. Turns out he’s been paying attention. He moved with confidence and ease as he made this cake, so there is hope he’ll leave home someday with at least a few skills in the kitchen. Truth be told, on this occasion I’d asked him to bake me a cake, because he owed me one. That, by the way, is a euphemism for the fact that he’d done something I wasn’t entirely thrilled with. He invited his friend over to help and they set out to bake me a cake with all the intensity and focus of real pastry chefs. It was awesome and tasty!

Henri and Sophie | ZoeBakes 02

Henri and Sophie wanted to make a marble cake, so I helped them find a recipe they could do without a lot of input from me. We chose a white cake from Carole Bloom’s The Essential Baker, since her recipes and directions are always spot on. Henri made the white cake and then Sophie and I adapted it to have cocoa powder for the chocolate marbling. Not jumping in is hard for me, but I got behind the camera and let them go, because I knew Carole’s recipes wouldn’t fail.

Carole Bloom’s White Cake from Essential Baker:

*Makes three 8-inch or 9-inch cakes (They actually baked it in four 6-inch cake pans. The kids ate one layer as soon as it came out of the oven and I used the other three to decorate.)

White Cake Batter:

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (click here to make your own)

1 1/3 cup cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Cake Batter:

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (click here to make your own)

1 cup cake flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt


Mocha Buttercream

To bake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the cake pans with butter and parchment circles. *See above for sizes.

Mix each cake in the same way:

Henri | ZoeBakes 01

That look says… “Seriously mom!? More pictures?”

Cream the butter or 2 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and continue creaming until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl as needed, about 2 more minutes. Lower speed and add each egg, one at a time, blend until incorporated and scrape bowl as needed.

Mix together the milk and vanilla in a measuring cup.

In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add this to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk mixture. Start and end with the dry ingredients. Scrape bowl as needed.

Henri and Sophie | ZoeBakes 01

The two batters went into the pans and then they swirled together to make the marbling. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the pan.

marble cake | ZoeBakes 01

By the time the cakes came out of the oven and cooled, Henri and Sophie were off and running to the next event, so I took over the icing. The recipe I used was one I got from my friend, Sarah Kieffer, from her upcoming book based on her website The Vanilla Bean Blog. I can’t share the recipe yet, since the book is still in the works, but I promise it is well worth the wait. Until then, you can use this mocha buttercream, which is also delicious and one of my favorites.

marble cake | ZoeBakes 02

To get the striped effect on the cake I used a cake comb.

chocolate cake | ZoeBakes

Someone on Instagram described it as a “tin can,” because of the tall, thin cake and combed sides. I love that!

marble cake | ZoeBakes 05  marble cake | ZoeBakes 07

marble cake | ZoeBakes 06

The cake Henri and Sophie baked is incredible and the marbling came out perfectly. I got my cake and they gained some new skills in the kitchen, everyone wins.

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