There are a handful of snack cakes and quick breads that I like to whip up from time to time to keep the family happy. What I bake is usually dependent on the season. Fall = pumpkin bread and cranberry bread. Winter = honey cake and spice cake. Spring = lemon cake. Summer = zucchini bread. A cake that floats among the seasons and seems to fit the bill any time of year is marble loaf cake. It seems to be a popular choice in the U.S., but its presence is not limited to the U.S. You can find it in Polish baking as well, though I wonder whether it was actually adopted from the U.S. Either way, it’s good and that’s what counts.
A few years ago, we had the pleasure of hosting a student from Poland who baked this cake for us–but it was based on approximate measurements. I took cryptic notes and put together a workable recipe that I have tweaked here and there over the years. It’s a cake that is quick and easy to put together. The trickiest steps are handling two different batters to create the marble effect and knowing when to take it out of the oven. The resulting cake has a crispy crust and moist center. In the photos that follow, I doubled the recipe to make two loaves. If I’m going to have to wash all of those dishes anyway, why stop at making one loaf?!
First off, beat some eggs and sugar until light. Add the vanilla extract and vegetable oil.
On low-speed, add a flour-baking powder-salt mixture alternating with milk until just combined. Pour slightly more than half the batter into another bowl. In the mixer bowl, mix in sifted cocoa powder and stir in chocolate chips. The chocolate chips are optional, but this little step makes a positive difference for chocolate lovers who consume this cake!
Pour the vanilla-flavored batter into the pan first.
Then alternate between blobs of chocolate batter and blobs of vanilla batter until all the batter is used up. It’s best if some vanilla batter is streaked on top. Some recipes call for pouring in one layer of the vanilla batter, pouring in a second layer of chocolate batter, and then using a fork to mix the layers up a bit. I haven’t had success with that method, so I’ve settled on the blob approach.
Pop the pan(s) into the oven and let the cake bake for at least an hour. It seems like an eternity. When I made this batch, I had to bake the cake ten minutes overtime. When I checked the cake with a long bamboo skewer, it was still raw at the 60 minute mark, even though the crust looked ready. I thought the cake would NEVER bake fully through. I checked it again after five more minutes. Same thing. Then, after another five minutes, the skewer magically came out clean. I thought the crust would be burnt, but it wasn’t. Instead, the crust was just nice and crunchy, which added to the charm of the cake.
I dusted one of the loaves with confectioners sugar.
For the other loaf, I went ahead and made a quick chocolate glaze and rustically poured it over the cake. From this photo, it looks like I used the blob approach here too!
The cake is delicious with a glass of milk (or a cup of coffee). Enjoy!