Sunday, February 23, 2014
Marble Cake with Meyer Lemons and Chocolate
People, you’re in for a treat. When he tasted this cake from Eat the Love, the Engineer said, “Oh my God! This is the best cake you’ve made… I think…” And he confirmed that was the end of his sentence. In the following days, he said that “other cakes bow down before it”, including the maple carrot cake he’d liked so much recently. He would even like it as a birthday cake (but there are no Meyer lemons on his birthday, usually). I loved this cake as well: it’s got a great crumb and stays moist a long time, so it’ll easily keep for a few days. The glazes are good, too, and help camouflage any imperfections due to unmolding. The lemon flavor in the cake does not take center stage; it merely complements the chocolate, so it’s perfect.
I’ve slightly adapted the recipe below for the order of the steps. Note that my Meyer lemons has been exposed to cold, and it seemed like the pulp inside was completely loose inside the skin, but they were still perfectly good. I’d consider making it with regular lemons, too.
For the cake
zest from 2 Meyer lemons
¼ cup Meyer lemon juice (I got this from the 2 Meyer lemons I’d zested)
¾ cup lactose-free whole milk
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 ½ cups sugar, divided
½ natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
¼ cup golden syrup or light corn syrup
½ cup boiling water
3 tsp. vanilla, divided
1 tsp. instant coffee
1 cup (2 sticks) cold margarine (or butter at room temperature)
4 large eggs
For the vanilla glaze
2 to 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup lactose-free whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the chocolate glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbsp. natural cocoa (not Dutch-processed)
2 Tbsp. lactose-free whole milk
For the cake
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Generously grease and flour and standard-size Bundt pan.
Zest the Meyer lemons into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Squeeze the Meyer lemons to get ¼ cup of juice and add to the milk; stir and set aside to thicken.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Make a chocolate syrup by combining ½ cup sugar, cocoa powder, golden syrup, hot water, 1 tsp. vanilla and instant coffee together in a small saucepan. Heat on medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool while you make the cake batter.
Place the margarine and remaining 2 cups sugar in the bowl with the Meyer lemon zest. Cream together until fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate each egg before adding the next one. Mix in the remaining 2 tsp. of vanilla. Add about a third of the flour mixture and beat to incorporate. Add about half of the milk mixture and beat to incorporate. Continue alternating flour and milk additions, beating to incorporate each time.
Spoon a third of the batter into the pan with the chocolate syrup. Stir to mix. (I found this chocolate batter to be very liquid, but as I’ve said, the cake turned out fine!)
Spoon half of the remaining lemon batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Add the chocolate batter on top. Spoon the remaining lemon batter on top of the chocolate batter. Using a butter knife, swirl the batter together in a figure-eight pattern throughout the pan once (but don’t overmix, as you want to marble the batter and not blend it). Place the cake in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let sit in the pan for at least 45 minutes (or until the cake pan is still warm to the touch but not hot) and invert onto wire rack to cool completely. (This is where I lost a piece of the cake to the bottom of the pan. Fear not, the glaze will cover it! Just pat it back in place and keep going with the recipe if that happens.)
For the glazes
Once the cake has cooled completely, move it to a cake stand and prepare the vanilla glaze by sifting the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. Add the milk and vanilla and stir with a fork. If the glaze is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time. If the glaze is too thick, add more milk 1 tsp. at a time. Drizzle the vanilla glaze over the cake.
Once you’ve used up the vanilla glaze, make the chocolate glaze (in the same bowl, if you want) by sifting the confectioners’ sugar and the cocoa into the bowl and adding the milk. Again, if the glaze is too thin, add more sugar, and if it is too thick, add more milk. Drizzle the chocolate glaze over the vanilla glaze and let set before serving.