Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cooking School: Chocolate Marble Cake

Looking at the picture of Rorie's Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts to make the very came recipe. I won't go on about how much I love this cookbook (again), but I will say that this is an excellent cake and all the better because it's actually quite low in fat!
As with all of Alice Medrich's desserts, the recipe is very precise. She doesn't leave any room for error, but that is the best way to ensure consistency over and over again. My only real complaint about the recipe is that it takes a lot of bowls. You need a bowl for the flour, a bowl for the butter, a bowl for the chocolate and a bowl for the yogurt. I'm not such a huge fan of doing the dishes, but I can't seem to reduce that number when I'm making this. The only bowl that could be eliminated is the one which holds the yogurt, but I would actually prefer to have it in a bowl than to have to hold the yogurt in a measuring cup while I make the batter.
Once I have my million (meaning five) bowls out on the counter, measuring tools, ingredients and pan, I mix up the batter and pop it into the oven. I am not a big fan of swirling cakes as I am always concerned that I will somehow over-swirl the batter, eliminating the gorgeous contrast of black and white in the cake. The best way to avoid this is by dropping the batter in large dollops into the ban and running your knife through the batter only once. If you really like to keep your chocolate and vanilla separate, you can simply add all the chocolate batter on top of all of the vanilla batter and eliminate the swirl all together - two cakes in one!
The finished cake is moist and a bit heavy, satisfyingly like a pound cake. Instead of the unctuous butteryness of a pound cake, though, the flavor is light and has the tiniest hint of tang from the yogurt, but only if you know it's there. The chocolate is chocolaty, the vanilla is clear and, together, they make a great dessert.

Chocolate Marble Cake
(from Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts)
2 cups cake flour (8 ounces)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup water, room temperature
6 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft
1 egg
1 egg white
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (divided)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
Place yogurt into a small bowl and set aside.
In another medium bowl, whisk together espresso powder, cocoa, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water until well combined. Stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until light, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg, followed by egg white, making sure that the egg is thoroughly incorporated before adding the white. Beat in 2 tsp vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the yogurt in three additions (flour, yogurt, flour, yogurt, flour) and mixing at low speed until just combined. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the yogurt batter and stir into the cocoa mixture.
Spread 3/4 of the vanilla batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with dollops of chocolate batter and top that with the last few dollops of vanilla batter. Use a clean bread knife to gently swirl the batter (make an "S" curve throughout) once.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. My 10-inch pan usually takes 40 minutes. If you are using an 8-inch tube pan, you will neet to aim for the higher end of the baking time.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before loosening it with a knife and turning it out to cool completely. Store well-wrapped at room temperature.
Serves 12

Nutritional Information: 230 calories and 6.9 grams of fat per serving.