Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Chocolate-Orange Marble Cake

Now that I'm getting interested in blogging, I'm torn between publishing my favorite recipes and finding new things to cook.

This is a family favourite, adapted from an Annabel Karmel recipe which used to be in the BBC Food recipe bank. I can't find it anywhere else online, which surprises me, as it deserves more recognition. It's a better version of the usual two-coloured marble cake; ground almonds are added for moistness and each colour is flavoured differently too. However, the main factor that lifts this above other marble cakes, for flavour, is that melted chocolate, as well as cocoa, is added to the chocolate cake mix. If you don't like the chocolate-orange combination, then you could add vanilla to the cake mix before dividing, then leave the white mix plain.

In the original recipe, Annabel added almond extract to the cake, but I omitted this as I don't want a pronounced almond flavour - just the extra moistness that the almonds give. I also increased the amount of orange zest. The original recipe also used a slightly crazy method of mixing the cake - trying to add the flour and almonds to the creamed fat and sugar before adding the eggs - and I've changed this to use the classic order of adding ingredients. Finally, I bake in a standard cake tin, whereas the original was a cooked in a ring tin.


225g/8 oz butter, at room temperature
225g/8oz caster sugar
80g/3oz ground almonds
175g/6oz SR flour
4 large eggs
3 tbsp milk
finely grated rind of 1 orange
80g/3oz plain chocolate, broken into small pieces
1 tbsp cocoa

Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/Gas 3.

Prepare a 18 or 20cm (7 or 8") diameter round cake tin. I prefer to use a non-stick springform tin, but still line the base with a circle of baking parchment. [Either tin size works OK - it really depends whether you want a shallow or deeper cake, and how hung up you are on a neat flat top - the cake sometimes peaks and cracks in the smaller tin. I don't mind this - I like the home-made look! I bought a springform tin from Amazon which turned out to have an internal diameter of 7 1/2", although it was sold as an 8" tin, so often use that for this cake.]

Mix the flour and ground almonds together in a small bowl.

Cream the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy - an electric mixer is best for this, but it can be done by hand.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, with a teaspooon of the flour/almond mix, to prevent curdling. Then sieve the rest of the flour mix over the surface of the cake batter, tipping in any ground almonds which won't go through the sieve mesh. Fold this in until evenly mixed, adding the milk as you do so.

Divide the mixture in two, and stir the orange zest into one portion. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, then mix it, and the cocoa, into the second portion. Sift in the cocoa to avoid lumps.

Place alternate dessertspoons of the two mixtures into the cake tin, trying to get at least two layers, with chocolate above orange, and vice versa, on the upper layers, and gently easing the cake mix into place to avoid large gaps in the mixture. Tap the tin to settle the cake mix into any gaps that have been left, then use a skewer or a knife to swirl through the cake mix to marble the two mixes together; don't go overboard with this, just a few swirls are enough.

Bake for about 65-75 minutes, until well risen and golden, and a test probe is clean. If you make the smaller diameter cake it may need the longer cooking time, as the cake is deeper.
Cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Decoration is optional - I don't usually add anything, as this is a cake tin filler for everyday use, but if you're baking for a special occasion you could, for example, add an orange flavoured glacé icing, using the strained juice from the orange, or split the cake and fill with orange buttercream and top with a chocolate glaze.


WildPancakeQueen said...

Hya, Just found you from a comment while I was trawling the BBC Messageboard. What a find! I'm so glad you are here. This cake appeals to me with my favourite combination of flavours. Can't wait to try it. Am just going to read your other posts too. Thanks, WPQ

Anonymous said...

That looks amazing, the photo suggests a lovely moist cake rather than some of the marble cakes that I have come across which have been a bit on the dry side.
I can feel myself salivating just looking at it :-)
I have earmarked this as one to make when I can justify the calories!!

Debs @ DKC said...

Like the sound of this cake, I love chocolate & orange together, yum

Jenny said...

Thank you! I lost my copy from the BBC website and was beginning to think I'd just imagined this recipe...

Suelle said...

Jenny - pleased you found it! Fortunately I'd printed out this recipe. I lost several before I realised that the BBC didn't hold on to all recipes for ever.

Anonymous said...

Glad I found this- I recycled my Annabel Karmel books when my children grew up! It's in the oven and smells good :)