I’m not always in the mood for dense cakes and I’m no fan of excessively sweet ones or creamy ones either. So this marble cake is airy, just moist enough to avoid any unpleasant dry sandy texture, not overly sweet. Itcan last for a few days and smell good warming vanilla from a distance.
Overall, the best marble cake as far as I’m concerned! Ok I was in a hurry so the marbling effect is not neat but it does not matter. The taste and texture do though, and they’re very much there!
In Morocco, cake refers to the one in the shape of a loaf while gateau mostly refers to a creamy cake, maybe with layers. We tend to follow the French in this logic.
So cakes can be served for breakfast with juice, tea or coffee or for afternoon breaks and casual family gatherings.
I used to love stopping at our neighbours’ after primary school days and indulge myself with the classic Meskouta or kika cake (kika is actually cake in Moroccan). She always had wonderful homemade bread and a spread of Msemmen and Mlaouis. They also had Thermos filled with “cafe au lait” which just smelt good especially in those cold rainy days we don’t get much anymore!
I loved our neighbours, their mother was originally from Safi and everything she made was irresistible. She knew how to take care of her 7 children even with a husband who left them for another woman. She always made sure her children always find a solace in being together and eating at the same table. So the afternoon/evening table lasted for a couple of hours until the last one of them got back from school. Most of her children are now successful which I find quite rewarding.
So our cakes are usually simple, not demanding and can be baked in all sorts of oven.
Depending on which mould is facing me first in the cupboard, I use either a 25 cm round pan or a loaf pan.
I tend to replace a portion of the flour with corn starch in many baked recipes. It always improves the texture. That’s my little secret.
A family round-shaped marble cake, topped with apricot marmalade and
grated dark chocolate while still hot
Prep: 10 min – Baking: 60 min
4 eggs, medium-size and at room temperature
220 g of all purpose flour
180 g of unrefined fine sugar
60 g of corn starch
25 g of good 100% cocoa powder
140 ml of vegetable oil (or replace 1/3 with argan or walnut oil)
125 g of natural or vanilla yoghurt (or crème fraiche)
A good pinch of salt
1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp of vanilla extract
14 g of baking powder
A pinch of baking soda (optional)
A tbsp of lemon juice (optional)
A tbsp of lemon zest (optional)
3 tbsps of milk
Icing sugar, apricot or orange marmalade and coconut, grated dark chocolate
Preheat the oven at 220 degrees C and line up a baking pan (25 cm round or a rectangular loaf pan) with baking paper. You could also grease the pan, dust it with flour making sure to remove any excess.
Beat the eggs for a couple of minutes until they become foamy and triple in size.
Add the sugar, vanilla beans, salt, lemon and beat for another 3 minutes at medium speed. The mix will double in size and become even foamier.
Add the yoghurt and beat for a few seconds, then add the oil and again give it a few seconds to amalgamate all the ingredients.
Sift the floor, corn starch, baking powder and soda into the mix and beat in slow speed just to combine. You could also use a spatula for this. Once you add the floor, you should not over-beat the batter.
In a separate bowl, sift the cocoa powder, add 1/3 of the batter and stir with a manual whisk or a spatula. Add the milk to loosen the batter.
Pour a layer of white batter, then a few tablespoons of dark batter all along the white batter. Repeat until all the batter has been used.
Use a skewer or a knife and zigzag the black and white together about 3 times by going up and down from one side to the opposite side.
You could also go with a layer of white batter then a small-centred layer of dark batter, wait a few seconds until the spread and repeat.
The moment you place the pan in the oven, bring the temperature down to 160 degrees C.
Bake until nicely golden and cooked through (use a skewer or a small sharp knife to check, it should come out clean).
Set aside to cool for 5- 10 min. Loosen the cake and transfer to a grill and smear with jam. Sprinkle the grated chocolate while still warm.
A piece from the round-shaped marble cake
If you chose to dust it with icing sugar or sprinkle with dessicated coconut, wait until the cake is completely cool.
Nada Kiffa is an Expert in Moroccan cooking and her recipes are coming from a lineage of Moroccan home and professional cooks.
Cooking classes and posted articles are inspired by her family life in Morocco and elsewhere. You will learn what makes a dish Moroccan before learning how to execute it. You will also learn how to work around recipes and cut corners without missing on the flavour.
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