This moist and delicate marble cake is a favourite from the classic French cookbook Je sais cuisiner (French Edition), by Ginette Mathiot (Albin Michel), also available in English as I Know How to Cook.
I like the way this simple recipe combines two wonderful flavours – chocolate and vanilla.
Using grated chocolate instead of cocoa powder gives this cake an especially rich texture, as the chocolate melts during baking, creating tiny speckles of melted chocolate.
The “marble” effect is achieved (more or less) by making a few quick swirls through alternating layers of light and dark batters.
For the light batter, you can also use grated lemon or orange rind instead of vanilla.
It’s the perfect snack with afternoon coffee, as an accompaniment for chocolate mousse, or even for breakfast.
Adapted from Je sais cuisiner (French Edition), by Ginette Mathiot
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour
Makes one medium-sized loaf
- 200 grams (7 ounces) flour
- 200 grams (7 ounces) sugar
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) butter
- 3 eggs, separated
- 100 ml (3.5 fluid ounces) milk
- 60 grams (2 ounces) dark chocolate, grated
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla ( or 1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange rind)
- Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F).
- Mix the butter and sugar together in a large bowl using an electric mixer.
- Add the three egg yolks and mix well.
- Add flour, alternating with milk, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
- Beat egg whites until stiff peaks are obtained and fold into batter until mixture is uniform.
- Put half of the batter into a separate bowl and add vanilla (or lemon rind), stirring well.
- Add the grated chocolate to the remaining half and fold gently until thoroughly mixed.
- Butter a medium-sized loaf pan and spoon alternating layers of each batter.
- Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make a few small strokes through the batter to obtain a marble effect. Take care not to swirl it too much or the cake won’t be marbled at all.
- Bake for one hour or until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Je sais cuisiner was first published in 1932 and to this day remains a classic among French cookbooks, having sold more than six million copies to date.
Many traditional French recipes have been passed down from one generation to another through this faithful kitchen companion.
Both my grandmother and my mother made heavy use of this book, and I often refer to it too.
The original French edition features nearly 2,000 recipes in all categories of traditional French cuisine, including pastries, cakes and other desserts.
You won’t find a lot of wordy, detailed recipes in this book. What you will find are straightforward and concise instructions on how to make almost any French dish or dessert. And lots of practical tips too.
An English-language edition of this bible of French home cooking, translated and adapted under the direction of Parisian food writer Clotilde Dusoulier, is now available.
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