Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Recipe 4: Marbled chocolate crumble cake

Like many Irish households, the tradition of putting up the Christmas tree has always been allocated to the 8 December. However, we broke tradition and put it up today; it was mainly Dear Husband’s doing. In fairness though, when he suggested it, I didn’t protest as I think we were both looking forward to it as much as Dear Son. It’s a relatively simple task in our house now as, a number of years ago, our patience ran out with having to continually hoover up the pines from our ‘real’ tree that we vowed that from the next year onwards, we were getting an artificial one and that we did. Thankfully though, it’s one of those trees that really does look real and sure it’s a lot less hassle. Dear Sister No.1 thinks it is sacrilegious because she’s from the brigade that thinks that Christmas trees must always be real. Even though she moved out of home a number of years ago, she insists on picking the Christmas tree every year for my parents and her motto is simple – the bigger the better. It doesn’t matter if the tree is 9 or 10 feet tall, it’ll be grand. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, Dear Father eventually takes his bow saw to it and the poor tree looks like it’s had a run-in with a lumberjack. All part of the tradition – for us anyway. So, in honour of our tree going up, I decided to make a special cake and picked Marbled chocolate crumble cake.

If there’s one thing I love when it comes to cooking from cook books is a picture of the recipe I’m making. A lot of cook books don’t have a photo of every recipe though. I once heard a well-known male celebrity chef say it was because it is good to leave the final piece up to the person who’s making it. I always suspected that it was because they couldn’t be bothered to cook everything before their book is published and, after having completed the what really was 200 recipes from the Easy Meals Challenge, I can hardly blame them. It takes a serious amount of time and effort to cook every single recipe in a cook book. I know I was only doing one a day (on average) and it took me 6 months but even if you were making three a day, we’re still talking months to do every single one. Anyway, one of the many great things about Rachel Allen’s cook books is that most of the recipes are photographed and the Chocolate marble cake was one of them. In fact, Dear Husband happened to glance at the photo on his way past and comment that it looked complicated. Hmmm, I suppose, looking back at the cakes I’ve made in the past, this one was probably was – for me anyway. Ok, so here’s what I did...

I made the crumble part first which involved plain flour, chilled, diced butter and caster sugar. Once crumbled, I added in chopped dark chocolate, gave it a mix and let it sit in the fridge to chill.

Next, I made the actual cake mix. I began by creaming butter in a bowl using my electric whisk. I then added caster sugar and mixed until the mixture became light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, I lightly whisked four eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. I then gradually added that into the sugar and butter cream. Next it was time to sift in plain flour and two teaspoons of baking powder which I then folded into the mix. The recipe said to split the mix into two bowls so, I did and then added cocoa to one and mixed it really well. This was the point where the recipe started to get a wee bit more complicated. Using a spring-form cake tin which I had greased with butter, I then had to add a spoonful of the cocoa mixture and then a spoonful of the plain cake mixture and keep alternating until I’d no mixture left. My cake mixture was probably a bit thick because I’d used medium-sized eggs so I used my plastic spatula to smooth out the mixture to fill in all the gaps in the tin. The recipe then said to use a skewer to mix the mixture to create the marble effect. It did say though not to over mix with the skewer so I did four circles in total. Next, I added the crumble mixture on top of the cake mix and popped the cake in the oven for 53 minutes exactly. I knew the cake was ready then because the top was golden and I inserted a skewer into the middle which, once removed, stayed clean. I let the cake sit for 10 minutes in its tin and then used a sharp knife to cut the cake away from the edges before removing the side panel of the tin. I then let the cake sit on a wire rack whilst still sitting in the base tin. The recipe said to wait until it was completely cook and then slide it off onto a plate. I used a long, think knife and, with some of my limited patience, I managed to get it onto its plate in one piece. Phew! Lastly, I scattered the cake with a dusting of icing sugar.

The verdict…

Dear Son described it as ‘wile yummy’ so his Donegal vocabulary is now well established as any other 3-year-olds in the county. Dear Husband said it was ‘beautiful’ and gave it 8 marks out of 10. I’m not mad about chocolate in cakes but this was a cake that wasn’t too chocolatey and also awarded it 8 marks. It really did taste nice and I must admit that I gave my slice an extra dusting of icing sugar. Afterwards, I was half thinking how nice the cake would be with plain Royal icing added to the top. I just might have to do that next time I make it. However, in terms of the ‘marbling’, as you can see, my cake wasn’t too marbled. I think I didn’t stir the skewer around enough so, next time, I try making eight circles and that make it more marbled. Not a bat attempt though for my first time all the same.  


  1. This was the cake that appealed to me the most when I was watching the tv series! Great job Lynda it looks delicious!!

  2. Thanks, Katherine! I'm glad it turned out well! Hope you're having a lovely Christmas and Happy New Year! :)