Friday, January 24, 2014

Marmorkuchen - German Marble Cake

I can't deny it - I do have a sweet tooth and I blame my childhood in Germany for it. Growing up with two grandmothers who were excellent cooks certainly had a great influence on me. My paternal grandmother was famous for her baked goods. I still remember birthday celebrations at her house with all of my grandfather's siblings and their spouses attending. Depending on the number of guests, it was expected that she'd prepare at least four to six different cakes. She was particularly known for her moist and light yeast sheet cakes with seasonal fruit. Once the baking was done, the cakes were covered with clean dishtowels and stored in the unheated guest bedroom. Shortly before the guests arrived my grandmother would bring the cakes back into the kitchen, cut them into slices and arrange them on beautiful china serving platters. I must have eaten at least three slices of my favorites each time!

One of my favorite cakes is a very simple German marble cake - it reminds me of Saturday afternoon "Kaffee und Kuchen" (coffee and cake) which was a ritual in our family (and not only on the weekend). Fresh eggs and butter, high quality cocoa powder and some rum extract make this a satisfying cake to serve with coffee or tea.

This cake freezes well - I like it so much that I freeze individual pieces to take to work as my afternoon snack.


1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 fresh eggs at room temperature
1 tsp rum extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
5 tsp baking powder
16 tbsp milk (or more, if needed)
4-5 tbsp natural cocoa powder (24% butterfat)
powdered sugar for dusting

  • Preheat oven to 375° F and butter a bundt pan.
  • Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl with a handheld mixer. Add one egg at a time beating well after each addition. Add rum extract.
  • Combine flour and baking powder and add to butter mixture alternating with the milk. You want the batter to be light and easily manageable.
  • Pour about 1/3 of batter into buttered bundt pan.
  • Add cocoa powder to rest of batter in bowl, mix well and pour into bundt pan. Run fork through batter creating swirls.
  • Place onto the middle rack in oven and bake for about 40 - 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool for 20 minutes and unmold. Let cool completely and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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