The traditional marble cake is one of my daughters’ favorites and this one, despite not being a common marble cake, was equally devoured in a short time. Adding the ground toasted hazelnuts makes the cake moistier and the aroma of the coffee blends perfectly with the dark chocolate.
Setting goals and making plans at the beginning of a new year may seem commonplace. It is now trendy to say that one lives in the moment, which is not original since que sera, sera dates from mid-twentieth century. It is precisely because of the everyday unexpected events that many of the goals we set by the first day of January do not see the light of day in the course of the following 364. However, I need to have this compass with me, to have an idea of the path I intend to take and to set goals; no matter when and how many times I may need to redefine them, whenever que sera, sera forces me to adjust the way. This does not mean not living the moment to its fullness, it means living with a purpose.
In 2018, I intend to share with you more baked goods and recipes using different types of doughs – breads, sweet rolls, cakes – but also homemade pasta, puff, shortcrust and choux pastries. Doughs were my Achilles’ heel. To see if a dough reached the delicate balance between flour and moisture is not easy; or to know when stop kneading it and leave it to rest. This is a knowledge that can only be obtained through practice, trial and error; to fail once, to fail again, to fail better. Surely this wasn’t the difficulty on Beckett’s mind, but I think this expression applies :). Practice brings perfection, and although this is still far away, working with doughs is no longer a nightmare but a kind of therapy.
You may think that a marble cake is not a major innovation, but I like very simple cakes, with no fillings or frostings. The kind of cake you make at home on a Sunday afternoon for your kids and friends. This version of a marble cake adds a few layers of flavor without departing from its natural simplicity. Roasted ground hazelnuts and dark chocolate (not chocolate powder) make the interior moistier, and the coffee combined with the chocolate adds its aroma in a subtle tone. In addition, I must confess that this was my first marble where the marbled pattern turned out fine. In the recipe below I explain the technique better.
If you are are looking for a simple cake to bake next weekend you may also like this simple orange cake, quick and so fragrant, or this raw chocolate banana cake, perfect for those who like an intense chocolate flavor.
- 100 g dark chocolate broken into pieces
- 80 ml coffee (approximately 2 espressos)
- 250 g unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
- 70 g hazelnuts roasted (see notes)
- 320 g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 250 g sugar
- 4 eggs
- 250 ml milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (see notes)
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Grease a loaf pan with butter and sprinkle with flour.
- Place a heat-resistant bowl over a pan with boiling water, on low heat, preventing the bottom of the bowl touches the water (it will only get its heat). Add 2 tablespoons of butter, chocolate and coffee. Let it melt, stirring frequently, until smooth and shiny. Remove the pan from the heat (you can keep the bowl on top) and set aside.
- Using a food processor, ground the hazelnuts into a fine powder. Mix them with the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the bowl of the electric mixer, or by hand, beat the remaining butter with the sugar for about 3 minutes at medium speed (you will get a thick paste). Add the eggs one by one, mixing between each one. Then add the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add one third of the flour mixture, mixing well, and then half the milk. Repeat, ending with remaining dry ingredients.
- Transfer a little less than half of this batter to the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir until combined.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of the light batter in a corner of the prepared pan. To the side, add 2 tablespoons of the chocolate batter. Continue alternating between light and chocolate batters, making a chess pattern (see photos). Once you fill the bottom of the pan, repeat until using all the batter but continue alternating, i.e., put spoonfuls of chocolate batter over the light one and vice-versa. At the end, move a knife along the pan, making a wavy pattern and mixing the two batters.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted to the center of the cake comes out dry. Let it cool for 15 minutes in the pan before unmolding the cake.
- I like bitter chocolate and I choose dark chocolate with 75%-85% cocoa, which is not hard to find in stores. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the more bitter it will be.
- If you cannot buy roasted hazelnuts, roast them in the oven at 180 °C for 12 to 15 minutes. Let them cool and continue as instructed in the recipe.
- See how to make your own vanilla extract.
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