Sunday, October 10, 2010

marble cake

Dear Elise,
Spiced marble cake to be exact. I have been eying the recipe for years. I am still looking for the elusive spice cake of my far-fetched dreams. I have never made this one, a Maida Heatter recipe, because she wants you to use something called the New Cake Pan, supposedly available from Bridge Kitchen in NYC. Bridge Kitchen has moved to NJ and their web site doesn't offer anything like a New Cake Pan. But I recently purchased Tish Boyle's The Cake Book and she offers the most useful chart. She lists cake pans by size and then tells you how many cups of batter each will hold. No more trying to remember how to calculate the area of a circle and then trying to remember what Pi is. MH needed a 14 cup pan, and Tish reassured me that my tube pan would be ample for that. So I embarked on the marble cake.
Some marble cakes want you to make one batter and then divide it in half and do something extra to one half. Not MH. She has you make two completely separate batters. This is ideal if you really feel like baking, and you aren't in a hurry and whole hours spent mixing and measuring and losing time to the steps is just precisely how you want to spend your rainy afternoon.
I mixed and folded and greased and floured and eventually baked, and it wasn't under or over baked. It was moist and dense and it aged well. Unfortunately, the dark batter called for half a cup of dark molasses. I should have known better. If something calls for a half cup of dark molasses, you should save your money and not bother to add any other flavorings, because the molasses would overpower gasoline, never mind a teaspoon of cinnamon.
If you really like molasses, go for it. But if I were to make it again, I'd bump up the spices, bump up the almond extract in the light batter and use golden syrup in place of the molasses.
The tube pan worked like a dream. But my elusive spice cake is still living with the snipes.
Love, Margaret

No comments: