I know most people remember marble cakes from their childhood. And this recipe was in the ‘Baking for Children’ chapter of Mary Berry’s Baking Bible but I made this cake for an office full of adults and I can promise you it disappeared rapidly.
For me, it’s really about having the best of both worlds; why choose chocolate or vanilla cake when you could have both, in one fabulous slice? Add to that glory a smattering of chocolate chips and a smother of chocolate icing and, frankly, you’re well on your way to a heavenly afternoon.
You could certainly make this cake a little more child-like, perhaps by adding colouring to the vanilla cake batter for a themed birthday party. You could use mini M&Ms (leftover from my Olympic Cupcakes) instead of choc-chips for a little extra colour, as I did here.
While this is a nice soft sponge and has a good flavour, I won’t be rushing back to this recipe as I found it nice but not memorable. It tasted like an ordinary chocolate or vanilla sponge cake and, for me, a special occasion warrants a memorable cake. If you’re a sponge cake fan, this is a nice twist on the standard so give it a go.
- 225g softened butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 275g self-raising flour
- 2 level tsp baking powder
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tbs milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 level tbs cocoa powder
- 2 tbs hot water
- 50g plain chocolate chips (or mini M&Ms)
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 2 heaped tbs cocoa powder
- 1 tbs butter
- 1-2 tbs milk
- 50g plain chocolate
- 50g white chocolate
Firstly pre-heat your oven to 180° and line a 30 x 23cm tray or roasting tin with baking paper. Now measure the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, milk and vanilla extract into a large mixing bowl and beat well with electric beaters, or a very energetic hand, until well combined (at least 2 minutes).
Spoon half the mixture into your prepared tin, blobbing spoonfuls randomly about. In a small bowl, mix together the hot water and cocoa powder to make a smooth mix. Add it to the remaining batter, as well as the chocolate chips, and stir well to make sure everything is combined.
Spoon out the chocolate mix to fill in the gaps from the vanilla mix. Using a skewer or cake tester, run through the mixture a couple of times to create interesting lines in the cake. Don’t go overboard though, or you will mix together the batters. Place in the oven to cook for 35-40 minutes until the cake has shrunk a little from the sides of the tin. Leave to cool in the tin or else it will break if you remove it when warm.
While the cake cools, make your icing by briskly stirring the softened butter with 1 tablespoon of milk and then sifting in the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Stir together to combine and add a little more milk (1 teaspoon at a time) if it is not at spreading consistency. Once ready, spread over the cooled cake (having been removed from the tin onto a suitable serving plate) and top with whatever decorations you like.
For this cake, Mary Berry uses a chocolate topping by simply melting the chocolates (separately) and drizzling them diagonally over the cake, leaving to set for 30 minutes before cutting. I used icing because I had no chocolate and it was just as delicious.
Being a traybake cake, it can easily be sliced into pieces suited for big or little hands, as suits your guests. And, I imagine it would stack up well to be the base of an elaborate themed cake (i.e. the base of any sports field with green icing, the jungle setting for a dinosaur cake and so on).