Eva woke up a little earlier than usual no thanks to the lengthening days – a sign that winter is slowly coming to an end. At first I delayed getting her up and kept telling her to go back to sleep. Finally, I got fed up and decided to do something about it – make a cake. It’s crazy to make one considering that it’s just the two of us eating for the next nine days but I thought why not? It would be fun for her…and sure enough, it was. At least the clean-up bit. She got to lick the spatula clean. Before that, it was going bonkers sniffing the cocoa powder, the sugar, tasting the cream cheese, the creamed butter…well, you get the idea.
Anyway, I have always known that if I stop baking for a while, my skills start rusting. It was true with this one. While I’ve always favoured the use of cane sugar over refined white sugar (castor sugar) because of its less processed qualities and better flavour, the biggest con about using granulated cane sugar is that it takes forever to “melt” and discolours when creaming. Instead of ending up with a smooth and fluffy pale creamed butter, I end up with a pale tan and gritty creamed butter. The grits comes from the sugar, in case you’re wondering. That aside, I’ve always used this gritty mix in my cakes and they still come out fine. Still, seeing pictures of fluffy pale creamed butter always sends me into a panic.
The original recipe for this loaf calls for extra sugar and water. Unlike Annie, I used medium sized eggs which probably accounts for a thicker batter. So I had to improvise and added in some milk in both the cake and cheese batter. The result is a rather spongy and moist cake that is rich in chocolate flavour as well as crunch. The timing was a bit iffy on this one – maybe because I used a loaf pan instead of a round pan like in Annie’s recipe. I tested with my trust cake skewer after 50 minutes when it look a bit browned and cracked a little on the top (typical with loaf pans) and it came out clean. So I turned it off and let it baked for another 5 minutes in the oven. It went even darker so I pulled it out and left it to cool. I suspect that the full 60 minutes would have burnt my cake. My advice? Check on your cake after 50 minutes and test.
But otherwise, enjoy! Me? I’m going to have a slice while surfing the Net for narrow shoes. Hehehehe.
NOTE: Do not overfill your loaf pan – this has a tendency to rise due to the use of self-raising flour AND the addition of baking powder.
Marble Cream Cheese Loaf
From House of Annie’s recipe here
(A) Chocolate portion
180 gms butter
Approx 150 gms sugar
120 gms self-raising flour
3-4 tbsp milk – optional
1 tsp baking powder
(B) Cream cheese portion
250 gms cream cheese
Approx 55 gms sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare a loaf pan.
- Cream the soften butter with the sugar until pale and fluffy before adding in the eggs one by one. When ready and well incorporated, fold in the dry ingredients (cocoa powder, flour and baking powder) by hand. Do not use a mixer for this step as it can result in a dense cake. Add the milk if the batter is too thick (it should be fluid like soft whipped cream). Place aside once done.
- In a separate dish, mix ingredients (B) until well incorporated.
- Pour in half of the chocolate cake batter, followed by half of the cream cheese batter and repeat until all the batter is used up. Using a spatula or skewer/stick, swirl around in figure 8 or criss-cross to create a marble or swirl effect. Be careful not to overdo this otherwise you’ll end up with pale mocha coloured cake.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes – test using a toothpick (it should come out clean if cooked). Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan. Once cooled, unmould and enjoy. This should be able to keep for a few days at room temperature in an airtight container or a few weeks if frozen/refrigerated.