I was talking to my co-worker about German food the other day. She is also German and we both miss somethings that you just can’t get in North America, or at least not where we are living. Since she also likes to bake we talked about various cakes and she mentioned that she really misses the Marble Cake her mother used to make. She told me that she tried to make it here but it wouldn’t work, it was too dense, almost hard. I though “Well, lets see if I can make this”. Actually, Marble cake is not very complicated but it can get trick with all the differences between Germany and North America.
You might wonder “What differences? How different could it be?” Well, there are many reasons a cake can go perfect over there and completely wrong over here.
For example, flour. The flour over here is different, I am not sure if it is the actual plant or the way it is processed and ground. That I can not tell you, I just know that Germany recipes generally need a bit more liquid when used in North America (or maybe just Canada, who knows). Another issue is elevation, Saskatoon is about 350 m higher over the ocean than my hometown Leipzig is. That changes the air pressure thus alters the way the cake batter will behave. Also, the ovens over here are quite different.
I think they are a bit smaller but that could be my imagination. In fact, the ovens here are bigger. I know for sure that they are heated is different. We have no visible heating element in our ovens. You might think, ah well, not a big difference, but when it comes to baking it can be worlds.
Baking is, unlink cooking, a precise art, much like chemistry. Frankly, there is a lot of chemistry involved. Today I can make a perfect cake, tomorrow it won’t work because of a slight variation. That is frustrating, especially for those who are new to the baking sphere. However, after a while you get the hang of it and can tell the signs and adjust to them.
This Marble Cake recipes is taken from “Backen ist Liebe: Guter Deutsche Kuchen” (Baking is Love: Good German Cake) by Südwest publisher. You will find the recipe on page 16.
– 200g unsalted butter
– 300g sugar
– pinch of salt
– 5 eggs
– 400g flour
– 3 tsp. baking powder
– 125 ml milk
– 100g semi-sweet chocolate
– 1/2 tsp. cocoa
– 1 package vanilla sugar or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a stand mixer combine the unsalted butter (softened) with the sugar until it’s a nice smooth mixture. Add the salt and each egg separately, mixing in between. The batter should be foamy. Combine the flour with the baking powder and mix under the egg-butter-sugar mixture, alternating with the milk.
Tip: From what I saw the dough should have been a bit more runny, so you probably want to add more milk. I didn’t do this but will next time.
Take a Bundt cake form, grease it with butter and dust with flour before pouring in the first half of the batter. Melt the chocolate and mix together with the cocoa into the rest of the batter. Pour that on top of the white batter and use a fork to swirl in the batter. This should create a marble effect.
Bake at 180°C for about 80 min or until a toothpick come out clean.
Let the cake cool a bit before removing it from the form. Let it cool completely. You have several options: you can either serve it as it is, dust it with icing sugar, or melt some chocolate to pour onto the cake. This is entirely up to you and what you prefer. The cake should be moist and soft.
My co-worker said it was much better than what she made and she really liked it. I have a feeling thought that it was not quite as her mother’s. I guess that is almost impossible anyway, moms make things differently, maybe with more love.