Marble cake is a wonderful old-fashioned baked good, as pretty as it is delicious. The idea of marbling two different colored batters into a cake originated in nineteenth century Germany, then made its way to America with German immigrants before the Civil War. Marble cake has a Jewish history as well… in fact, the first American recipe for marble cake showed up in a Jewish cookbook!
Here is my favorite method for marbling cake. It produces a nice, even marbling result, and it’s really simple. It will work with any marble cake recipe, as long as the recipe has two different batter colors. Give it a try!
- Place your colored cake batters near your baking pan. Take 1/3 of the first colored batter and scoop it with a large spoon into your pan in a down-up-down pattern. If you're using a small loaf pan (as shown here), use three large dollops of batter. If you're using a round tube or bundt pan, drop dollops of batter in the same pattern--down, up, down-- all the way around the pan.
- Take 1/3 of your second colored batter. Scoop a dollop of the batter into each of the empty spaces to create a rough checkerboard pattern on the base of the pan. 1/3 of your total batter should be used at this point.
- With the second 1/3 of the batter, create a second checkerboard pattern on top of the first. Alternate colors-- meaning, if a light colored square is on the bottom, put a dark colored square on top.
- Repeat the pattern for a third and final layer with all the remaining batter. You should have three checkerboard layers in your baking pan now.
- Take your butter knife and swirl it through the batter, making rounded vertical zig-zags from one side of the pan to the other.
- Wipe the excess batter from the knife. Repeat the swirling pattern in the opposite direction. If you're using a loaf pan, make long horizontal swirls. If you're using a round tube or bundt pan, swirl opposing zig-zags all the way around the pan to create a chain shaped swirl. Resist the urge to make lots and lots of swirls-- the more you swirl, the less the cake will look marbled, and the more it will look like a mish-mosh when you slice it.
- Now your cake is marbled and ready to bake! When it's baked, cooled, and sliced, you'll see nice, evenly marbled patterns similar to this:
- Beautiful! Yours will have its own unique variations. That's what make marble cake fun... you never know exactly what it will look like inside! :)