Marvel at the hypnotic vanilla and cocoa swirl of this light loaf cake’s marbled centre. With an added touch of sweetness from the glaze, you’ll be cutting a slice for afternoon tea, an after-dinner snack, and perhaps even a cheeky breakfast.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
For the cake
200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
350g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 medium eggs, at room temperature
195g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
90ml whole milk
25g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
For the glaze
30g unsalted butter
60g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
To make the marble cake, preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4.
Grease a 21 x 11cm loaf tin and line the base with baking paper. You can also use an 18-20cm round or square tin.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt until light and fluffy, starting on medium speed and gradually building up to high speed – scrape the side of the bowl as required.
In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs.
Gradually add the egg to the mixer, starting with just a dessertspoonful at a time. Mix well after each addition to prevent the cake mixture separating.
Weigh 180g of the mixture and set aside to create the chocolate batter. The remaining mixture will be used to create the vanilla batter.
Sift 160g of the flour with ¾ tsp of the baking powder, then gradually fold through the vanilla portion of the butter mixture, alternating with 70ml of the milk and ending with the final flour addition (this helps prevent the mixture separating).
Once all the flour is incorporated, it is important to stop mixing to prevent the cake becoming tough once baked.
Sift the remaining flour with the cocoa powder and the remaining baking powder, then fold it through the reserved chocolate portion of the butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the remaining milk.
Alternate spooning the 2 mixtures into the prepared loaf tin and zigzag the handle of a dessertspoon from one end of the batter to the other, to create a marbled effect.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
For the glaze, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla with 60ml water in a saucepan over a medium heat, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 minute before brushing the glaze over the warm cake while it is still in the tin.
Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the tin. The loaf can be frozen for up to 4 weeks, or stored at room temperature for no more than 5 days.
For best results
Beat the butter and sugar really well, ensuring they are light and fluffy and the sugar is dissolved.
When alternating adding flour and milk, always start with a bit of flour.