Friday, 5 August 2011

Chocolate & Blueberry Marble Cake

Marble cakes epitomise the wonder of childhood to me, with their surreal and beautiful swirls they are quite magical. This lovely chocolate and blueberry marble cake looks tricky to make but it's actually really simple. The sweet taste of the cake makes it especially good for children, and they'll enjoy making the swirly batter with you too. If you'd like to make a cocoa-free version, just replace the chocolate batter with a colour tinted one like red or blue.

Serves 8
Base cake adapted from the recipe given at BBC Good Food Online. See the recipe here.
Icing adapted from Fiona Cairn's book Bake & Decorate. Buy the book on Amazon

for the base:
4 tbsps milk
2 or 3 tbsps cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g unsalted butter
225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
225g caster sugar

1. Turn the oven to 180C (160C fan ovens), and grease and line a 20cm baking tin.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

3. Add the first egg to the creamed mixture, and beat well before adding the second and beating until the mixture is combined. 

4. Next throw in the flour, milk, and vanilla extract a bit at a time. Mix well until the batter is smooth.

5. Find a second large mixing bowl, and spoon half of the batter into it. Add cocoa powder to this half of the batter, stirring carefully until integrated and dark.

6. Using 2 spoons, spoon alternate dollops of the chocolate and vanilla batters into the cake tin, until the mix is all used and the bottom of the tin evenly covered. Tap the base of the tin on a work surface to get rid of any cake bubbles. Then take a skewer or the tip of a knife, and gently swirl it around the mixture a couple of times to create the marbling.

7. Bake for 50 minutes until the top bounces back under you finger and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before placing on a wire rack or plate to cool. 


For the buttercream icing:
80g blueberries, washed
1 tbsp water
150g unsalted butter
200g icing sugar
Extra blueberries for decoration, optional

8. To make the buttercream, beat the butter until fluffy.

9. Heat the blueberries with the water in a small saucepan over a low heat for 5 minutes. Then crush the berries with a fork, before sieving them over a bowl to catch the berry juice.

10. Add the berry juices to the butter, and colour purple (I used SugarFlair Grape Violet). With colour tint pastes you only need to add a pin prick amount before stirring it in to give the icing colour, so the more you add the stronger the colour will be.

11. Sift the icing sugar into the mixture and beat for a minimum of 5 minutes, until all is combined and creamy.

12. Spread over the top of the cooled cake, and dot with blueberries in any pattern you like. Enjoy! Due to the buttercream, this cake keeps best if stored in the fridge.

This cake was idly baked to the sounds of Zbigniev Preisner's Requiem for My Friend.

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