cinnamon swirl marble cake
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Practically all possible ‘how-tos’ can be found on YouTube. It’s quite astonishing. Starting from ‘how to fix your lawnmower’ and featuring separate videos for all makes, through to ‘how to crochet’, ‘how to make slime’ (wtf?) and ‘how to thread a needle’ – or eyebrows. Recently I looked up ‘how to trim your fringe’ and it was a revelation. It turns out I’ve been doing it wrong for years, starting with the name (it’s ‘bangs’, silly). I was holding the scissors at a wrong angle – and the scissors were probably not as sharp as the ones in the video. How did we live before YouTube?
It makes me wonder though when all those people find time to film themselves repointing paving slabs on the patio – presumably they need a couple of retakes, so must they yank the slabs out of the mortar again or do they end up with the whole back garden paved over? Still the old YouTube is hugely useful like that – provided you trust the source.
I set out to make the cinnamon marble cake and recalled an abysmally failed marbling from a couple of years back – a massive clump of white batter was sitting on top of the dark, or the other way round. Off onto the YouTube I went and marvelled at assorted zebra cakes, dainty Japanese marbled sponges, swirly pink veins running through pound cakes – and after about two hours of blissful time wasting found the dull two colour butter cake that I was after. Use a knife, said one guru. Don’t use a knife! , warned the other. Chequered lumps of batter and at least three layers, instructed the third. Use a loaf tin for best effects, commanded another. Spoilt for choice – no wonder shopping for bathroom tiles makes us depressed.
I ended up, of course, doing it in a random pattern, hotchpotch way, using whatever tool I first grabbed from a drawer. It came out all right. I’ll stick to fringe trimming guidance in the future.
cinnamon swirl marble cakeServings: 16Time: 2 hours
- 200g (1 stick plus 5 tbsp.) butter, softened
- 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 200g (¾ cup) sour cream
- 300g (2 ½ cup) plain flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 25g (2 tbsp.) dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- For the glaze:
- juice from half a lemon
- 100g (1 scant cup) icing sugar
Butter a round 20cm (8”) tin and line the bottom with parchment. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4).
Beat the butter with the sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one. Beat in the sour cream. Sieve the flour with the baking powder and beat it into the batter.
In a separate bowl mix the dark brown sugar with the cocoa and cinnamon. Add half the cake batter to it (about 500g or 1lb) and beat it together until incorporated.
Spoon the two batters into the prepared tin in a checker pattern: blobs of dark between blobs of white in the first layer, the same in the second with dark on the white blob. Make a swirl: with a chopstick (which I think works best) or a knife make three or four shapes of 8 in the batter; then one zig-zag across the tin.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
When the cake is out, make the glaze: bring the lemon juice to the boil in the microwave or a small pan, and then pour it gradually into the icing sugar stirring it with a spatula, until it reaches runny consistency. Pour it over the top of the cake, still in tin. Cool and unmold.