A trip to the local ice cream parlor was always a special treat when I was growing up, but I was always faced with the dilemma of which flavor to choose. At JANN'S Sweet Shop in Pennington, New Jersey, (named for its owners: Jen, Amy, Norman, Norman, and Sue,) containers of homemade ice cream were swirled with everything from raspberries to rum-raisin. At "The Dock" in Sunapee, New Hampshire, aptly named due to its proximity to, you guessed it, a boat dock on Lake Sunapee, a dozen little windows displayed different colors of jimmies for coating your soft serve cone. Even now, when I stop by Golden Spoon for frozen yogurt, there are more than 10 tempting options for me consider.
Never really the type of girl to stick with just one flavor, I always try to look for ways to fit as many as I can into one serving. At JANN'S, this meant choosing the Neopolitan, thus getting three flavors for the price of one. My strategy at The Dock was to ask that my cone be coated on one side with pink jimmies and on the other side with purple, or whatever my favorite color combo was during that particular summer. Just yesterday, the incredibly tolerant teen behind the counter at Golden Spoon obliged me by squeezing Peanut Butter, Fudgesicle, Cake Batter, and Vanilla Malt neatly into a quart container (yes, I tipped him.) Even at restaurants, I'm often drawn to dishes described with words like "trio" or "sampler," so I'm not forced to settle on just one item.
Marble cake is perfect for someone like me, who, when faced with the option of chocolate or vanilla, says "both please." It's the cake equivalent of a soft serve swirl, and its presentation, with the drastic color contrast, is so much prettier than the monochromatic variety. This pound cake recipe pairs a bittersweet chocolate cake with a lighter vanilla flavor. This cake is not as dense as some more traditional pound cakes (which are made with just flour, eggs, butter, and sugar,) but it is still very rich, especially when coated with the decadent chocolate glaze. Top a slice with some fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream, or Neopolitan if you can't settle on one flavor. Here are my tips for this swirled sweet treat:
- If you prefer a white chocolate glaze, then just substitute a good quality white chocolate for the bittersweet chocolate.
- Room temperature eggs work better as far as adding volume to the recipe. To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, simply submerge them in warm water for a few minutes.
- Be careful not to overswirl the chocolate and vanilla batters when you are running a knife through the two; the marbling won't turn out as nicely if you overdo it!
- After baking, the cake can be kept at room temperature, in an air--tight container, for up to three days.
- Try adapting this recipe to smaller sized loaf pans or even cupcake sized pound cakes.
Bittersweet Chocolate-Glazed Marble Pound Cake
Makes one 9X5-inch loaf
1 3/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons boiling water
For bittersweet chocolate glaze
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons half-and-half, cream, or whole milk
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until well incorporated and then set aside one-third of the batter in a small bowl.
In a bowl or measuring cup, mix together the cocoa and the boiling water with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the cocoa mixture to the reserved cake batter; stir until well combined.
Spoon the batters into the prepared pan in two layers, alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate to simulate a checkerboard. To create marbling, run a knife through the batters in a swirling motion. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
Prepare the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and the half-and half. Add the melted chocolate and whisk until the glaze is smooth. If it is too thin, add more sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. If it is too thick, add more half-and-half, 1 teaspoon at a time.
Pour the glaze over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Let set for 30 minutes and then serve.