It wasn't until after I'd decided to make this Alice Medrich recipe again that I realised the instructions also contained the 'jinx' phrase 'whisk until pale and thick'. I guess it proves that jinxes are just figments of the imagination - this time the recipe worked really well!
I made this cake about 4 months ago, but decided that it was too large for my bundt tin, and that the flavours were a bit too subtle. This time I reduced everything by about 20% - some ingredients were more accurately recalculated than others - and changed the black pepper for cayenne (chilli) pepper. I also used the grated zest of a whole orange in the plain batter.
4 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
4 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons water
320g plain flour
2 scant tsp baking powder
320g caster sugar
200ml light olive oil
4 cold eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200ml cold semi-skimmed milk
finely grated zest of one large orange
Pre-heat the oven to 180C and prepare a 10-cup bundt tin (a tin which is at least 2.4 litres in capacity).
Put the first 4 ingredients into a small bowl and mix until they form a smooth paste; set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, oil and vanilla until well blended and smooth. Whisk in the eggs 1 at a time, then continue whisking until the mixture is thick and pale - about 3 minutes with an electric hand whisk.
Reduce the whisk to a slow speed, then mix in 1/3 portions of the flour alternately with the milk, whisking only as much as necessary to make a smooth batter.
Weigh out 400g of the batter into a bowl and mix in the cocoa paste mix.
Mix the orange zest into the plain portion of the batter.
Using 1/3 of each batter at a time, layer them alternately into the bundt tin, starting with the orange batter.
Bake for about 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean; cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.
This is one of the best pound cake recipes using oil that I've tried. I'll have to try it as a basic pound cake, without the chocolate ripples, to see if it works as well as a plain cake - it will then be more adaptable when wanting to try other flavours. I'm just worried that leaving out the cocoa and extra sugar will affect the balance of the cake too much.