Marble cake is a childhood memory baked in a Bundt pan. It was one of my granny Lisa’s fabulous cake classics and it always impressed me with its light texture and the right balance of sweet sponge and bittersweet chocolate. Lisa must have had a weak spot for this duo. There’s another masterpiece of hers, the decadent Donauwelle, which is basically the same combination baked flat on a tray, topped with cherries, German buttercream, and chocolate icing. It’s a luscious, sweet bomb, perfectly fitting when it’s cold and grey outside and you want to keep cosy. But the current mood is far from that, so let’s forget about buttercream and all that stuff and think fruity.
You can keep it simple and dust a marble cake with a little icing sugar, but I find that a dark chocolate glaze gives it the necessary crunch and depth to balance out the softness and sweetness. To add a summery feel to it, I stirred some cherries into the batter. You can use fresh or preserved fruits, I go for preserved cherries, as it reminds me of my granny. Lisa used to have the most beautiful cherry tree in her garden, it was huge. The crop was generous, so she used to preserve the fruits and fill the shelves in her pantry. I remember long lines of jars, all filled with cherries ready to be turned into Donauwelle.
The cherries added a hint of pleasant fruitiness to the marble cake, which I liked a lot. I can imagine that apricots or peaches would work just as well, but I’ve never tried it, that’s next on the baking schedule.
Cherry and Chocolate Marble Cake
Makes 1 Bundt cake
organic eggs, separated, 6
a pinch of salt
granulated sugar 250g / 1 1/4 cups
plain flour, sifted, 300g / 2 1/3 cups
baking powder 3 teaspoons
butter, at room temperature, 200g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
vanilla bean, split and scraped, 1/4
whole milk 100ml / 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons
cocoa powder 30g /1/4 cup
pitted preserved or fresh cherries 200g / 7 ounces
breadcrumbs, to sprinkle the pan
For the glaze / topping
bittersweet chocolate 200g / 7 ounces
butter 1 tablespoon
fresh cherries 8, for decorating (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F (preferably convection setting). Butter a 23cm / 9″ Bundt pan and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Whisk the egg whites, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar until stiff.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, the remaining sugar, and vanilla for a few minutes until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and continue mixing until thick, creamy, and light yellow. Add the milk and mix until well combined. Using a wooden spoon, fold the egg whites and the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating about 1/3 at a time, combining well in between.
Scrape 1/2 of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and spread the preserved cherries on top; push them gently into the batter. Stir the cocoa powder into the remaining batter, mix until well combined, and dollop on top of the light batter. Spread the dark batter carefully, then swirl with a small fork through the 2 batters, once is enough, carefully from top to bottom, pulling slowly all the way through the pan. Bake for about 40 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until golden and spongy. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool for 2-3 minutes, then shake the pan a little and flip onto a wire rack to cool completely. If the cake won’t come out, place the warm Bundt pan into a large bowl filled with cold water. This will help loosening the cake from the pan.
For the chocolate glaze, in a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter on low heat, whisk until well combined. Let the chocolate cool for a few minutes, then drizzle over the cake. Decorate with the fresh cherries while the chocolate is still warm.