Ginger-Lemon Marble Cake

Last month I posted a recipe for Sesame Streusel Cake, from an article I found in a very old edition of Bon Appetit magazine.  Some of you may remember the days when Bon Appetit issued big special editions for the holidays.  At a whopping two hundred and forty-four pages, my old November 1983 edition has something for everyone.  As I read through each article some of it was decidedly dated; long lists of ingredients and complicated, time-consuming methods.  But I kept coming back to the feature on Butter Cakes, and I have now made three of those cakes, with excellent results.  This little cake is a perfect combination of light, lemony batter, swirled with dark, molasses-rich, gingery batter.  And yes, it is a little time-consuming,  measuring and mixing each batter.  But the end result is a classic butter cake with an interesting combination of flavors.  I suspect I will eventually make all eight recipes from this particular article, so expect more delicious and unique butter cakes. 

Ginger-Lemon Marble Cake
(makes 1 9×5 inch loaf cake)
Light Batter
1/2 cup (1 stick) Unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk
Dark Batter
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup molasses
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger

Preheat the oven to 325F.  Butter and lightly flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.  For the light batter:  Cream the butter in a medium bowl until fluffy (I find this amount easy to mix with a hand beater).  Gradually beat in the sugar.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then blend in the lemon zest.  Stir in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk until just blended.  Do not overmix.  For the dark batter:  Cream the butter in a medium bowl until fluffy.  Beat in the brown sugar and egg.  Blend in the molasses and beat until smooth and slightly lightened in color.  Stir in the flour, spices, and soda with a wooden spoon until just blended.  Fold the candied ginger into the batter.  Drop alternating spoonfuls of light and dark batter into the prepared pan.  Swirl through with a knife several times in each direction to marbleize.  Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.  Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
(from Bon Appetit magazine, November 1983)



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