Monday, February 6, 2012

Simplicity At Its Best - Marble Pound Cake

I love to bake cakes. Any cakes, any recipes from scratch. It gives me endless amount of joy when my cake comes out looking and tasting great. Too often, cake recipes being featured on Websites deal with copious amount of ingredients and it makes me wonder, "What is wrong with a simple cake?"

Marble pound cake may be a simple recipe but it is one that is difficult to master. I have baked endless number of pound cakes till now and often, the cakes came out dry with coarse textures. which I detest. Then, a friend of mine tagged a picture of marble pound cake she baked and it was love at first sight for me. The cake has the fine, crumbly texture I have been looking for and she was generous enough to share the recipe with me.

This recipe she has is from the mother-in-law of a friend, who has had the recipe for ages now. I love nothing better than old recipes. It produces no frill, simple and buttery perfection every time. It reminds me of the marble pound cake one can find in the old school Hainanese Kopitiam in Malaysia. Give this a try.
Marble Pound Cake
(Makes 1 9-inch pound cake)
12 oz butter, softened (preferably European butter)
9 oz sugar
9 oz all purpose flour
8 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 170C/340F. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, cream butter till light and fluffy. Add in sugar and beat till well incorporated.
3. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time till well incorporated. Mix in the vanilla, if using.
4. In another bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Mix well. Add into the butter-sugar-egg yolk mix till fully incorporated. The batter should be really thick at this point.
5. In a clear bowl, whisk egg whites till stiff, about 10 minutes. You should do in  mixer, trust me.
6. Fold in egg whites into cake batter gently. Do not overmix.
7. Scoop out about 1/4 of cake batter into a separate bowl. Add in the 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder and mix well.
8. Layer the cake batter into prepared pan. Using a fork or skewer, gently make swirls to create marble effect.
9. Bake in oven for 50-60 minutes. Start checking at 50 minutes.
10. Let cake cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing. Let cool completely before slicing. Best serve with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

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