When I was younger, many of my friends at school had nieces and nephews – I thought it was so cool! Being older than my brother (back then, Jessica hadn’t been born yet) I knew that it would take me a while to be called an “auntie”.
My brother is single and still don’t have kids, but my problem has been solved – Joao already had 1 niece and 1 nephew when we started dating and 1 girl and 2 more boys have been added to the family since I became part of it. :)
One of the girls is Rafaela – a full of energy 3 year old. She loved the orange and lemon cake I baked last week and wanted me to bake another cake for her. A simple cake was the idea – no filling or frosting – that’s why I went for the perfect pound cake recipe from this book. Since Rafaela adores chocolate, I followed Dorie’s instructions to make a marbled cake.
The recipe is easy and doesn’t call for many ingredients. The cake was tender and my niece loved it – I think that in a few years I’ll have a new helper in the kitchen. :)
Marbled pound cake
from Baking: From My Home to Yours
2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
226g (2 sticks/8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
112g (4oz) bittersweet chocolate, chopped – I used 60% cocoa solids
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and set aside to cool.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 165ºC/325ºF. Butter a 9x5-inch (22.5x12.5cm) loaf pan or an 8-½x4-½ inch (21x11cm) loaf pan*. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy, a full 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater and reduce the mixer speed to medium. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 to 2 minutes after each egg goes in. As you're working, scrape down the bowl and beater often. Mix in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it is incorporated - don't overmix. In fact, you might want to fold in the last of the flour, or even all of it, by hand with a rubber spatula.
After the batter is fully mixed, transfer half of it to another bowl and gently blend in the melted, cooled chocolate. Alternate large spoonfuls of the light and dark batters in the pan, then run a kitchen knife in a zigzag pattern through the batters to marble them. Smooth the top.
Put the cake into the oven to bake, and check on it after about 45 minutes. If it's browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. If you're using a 9x5 pan, you'll need to bake the cake for 70 to 75 minutes; the smaller pan needs about 90 minutes. The cake is properly baked when a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven, transfer the pan to a rack and let rest for 30 minutes.
Run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan and turn the cake out, then turn it right side up on the rack and cool to room temperature.
*I used a 26x10cm loaf pan and my cake baked for 75 minutes.
Wrapped well, the cake will keep for 5 to 7 days at room temperature (stale cake is great toasted) or up to 2 months in the freezer.