Sweet somethings

Gosh! I can’t believe it has been over two months since I wrote in this space. Ah well, been busy busy busy in life that is taking place outside the cosy comforts of the kitchen. What with chicken pox, applications, visits and dine outs, I have hardly had any time to actually do something worthwhile in the kitchen. Sis-in-law’s visiting and treating us to some fine Kerala cooking offering me another reason to put up my apron for sometime.

Today I decided to return a favour and make something she likes and has not sampled in a long while. But first a little background to the tale of the Marble cake.

You see while in our respective colleges in different years, sis-in-law and I fell for the magic of a wondrous place called Cochin Bakery (henceforth referred to as CB). She couldn’t escape the lure of the place as she was studying in Mangalore where CB was located. And I, who was in Manipal during my PG days, had a friend too many who called Mangalore home. I am sure you can see where this is going but for the sake of maintaining continuity to this tale, I tell you that one of them introduced me to the bakery’s charms and for the next two years, neither she nor others who visited M’lore could return without bearing gifts from CB! Unless of course they hid the occasion of their visit from moi.

Now before you think what a pain I must have been to impose on friends this way, let me clarify that  I could do so because of the bakery’s convenient location – it was at the inter-city bus top. No matter how close or far they lived, these friends HAD to go to the bus stop to catch a bus to Manipal, after which it was just a matter of picking up the stuff. (Lame excuse but I can’t bear to think of myself as an imposition!)

CB had many goodies on offer but my favourite (and incidentally S-I-L’s as well) was/is the superb Marble cake. With the amount of ghee/butter it had, I am not surprised that it was! I think I must have eaten half my body weight in those slices.

As we sat swapping our gustatory adventures, I decided to try my hand at baking our joint favourite, and being the true blue Punjabi I am, found it (read food!) the perfect way to thank S-i-L for the huge help she has been.

Without further ado, here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

a) Butter: 225g Make sure it is at room temperature*

b) Caster sugar: 225g

c) Eggs : 4

d) Vanilla extract: 2 tsp

e) Maida/allpurpose flour: 225g

f) Baking powder: 2 tsp

g) Milk: 50 ml

h) Cocoa powder: 50g sifted

Method:

a)  Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Butter and flour the sides of a 20cm cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.

b)  Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft.

c)  Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

d)  Whisk the eggs and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Gradually add the eggs to the butter mixture, beating all the time. It is easier to then combine all these ingredients together into a homogenous mix.

e)  Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in gently to mix. Sifting helps to make the cake soft and fluffy.

f)  Now add the milk and mix gently to combine.

g)  Tip half of the cake mixture into another large bowl and, into this bowl, fold in the sifted cocoa powder.

h)  Place the cake mixtures into the prepared tin by alternating spoonfuls of the vanilla batter with the chocolate batter, then with a skewer or similar implement, gently draw swirls through the cake mixture to ‘marblise’ it. Don’t overmix or you won’t have that wonderful marble effect.

i)  Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

j)  Cool before serving.

* This will ensure that the cake is light and fluffy. Not sure why this is so, but I can tell you from experience that it is true.

The result was pretty decent and while not quite as sinful as the one from CB, it was quite close.

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