Monday, October 24, 2011

More Books and A Chocolate Lemon Marble Cake

Never have I purchased so many books in a month! And there's one more in the shipment yet to arrive!! Yabadabadooo...

My two sisters (out of five I have!!) and I are cook book addicts! We have some of the same titles and at other times, we cannot get our eyes off each other's books. So twice recently, we collected orders before ordering the same book - three copies.

Back to my purchases, first up, there are these books - one of Tish Boyle's (recommended by one of my two cook book addict sisters) and many of Peggy Porschen's - that I ordered online and arrived around 3 weeks ago. On Tish's book, I was instantly sold to it by the photo of a heavenly-looking piece of creamy pumpkin cheesecake while flipping thru' my sister's copy. And then, she tried out the almond pound cake while I was at her place and so I had a slice of it warm and fresh out of the oven. It was so so so delicious, I am not kidding!! Few days later, I ordered two copies of the book - for myself and for my other cook book addict sis.

And no prize for guessing, it's evident that I simply, simply, simply love and admire the work of the amazingly talented Peggy Porschen. Peggy specialises in wedding and party cakes. Her talent stands distinct from the rest in her genre and her cake work speaks nothing but immaculate perfection and alluring romance.

The above were not all. There was a mega warehouse book sale by the Big Bad Wolf Books this month with up to 95% mark down and I got these books below at really cheap prices. The Hershey's recipe collection was at only RM15 (USD5). I didn't buy that many actually.

And I can't wait to read these novels. Have just started with Deborah Crombie's 2-in-1 book.

With new books means new recipes to try. This is a really soft and moist chocolate lemon marble cake from the Hershey's collection. I've always loved marble cake for its old-fashion and simple appeal. I remember that during my childhood, marble cake is one of my Mom's favorite cake to bake. It's one of the many, many, many lovely things that I remember so fondly of her. And I miss her. Deeply.

I amended a couple of things from the original recipe. I reduced the amount of sugar, omitted the use of shortening and went all butter instead. I also used the creaming method for mixing instead of the slightly vague method in the recipe. Below is based on my amended version and it turned out perfect. I also recommend using buttermilk rather than sour milk (two options the book gave) as the latter may give a slightly acidic after taste on the tongue.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar + another 1/3 cup (separated)
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda + another 1/4 tsp (separated)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup x 2 butter (recipe in the book calls for the other 1/3 cup for shortening but I used all butter)
3 eggs
1 2/3 cups buttermilk or sour milk (to make sour milk, use 1 tbsp + 2 tsps white vinegar + milk to equal 1 2/3 cups)
2 tsps vanilla extract
1/3 cup Hershey's cocoa powder
1/4 cup hot water
2 tsps freshly grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp lemon juice

~ Sieve the flour, baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda in a bowl. Add in salt.
~ In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and 1 cup sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
~ Then, add in the flour and buttermilk alternately, and be sure to mix well after each addition. Scoop out half of the batter into a separate bowl.
~ In another separate bowl, stir together cocoa, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 tsp baking soda and water.
~ Blend in the cocoa mixture into a bowl of the divided batter. Mix in the lemon rind and juice in the other half of the batter.
~ Scoop spoonful of chocolate batter into the baking pan and then followed with the lemon batter, until the pan is filled 3/4. Then use a skewer to 'swirl and run' the batter a few times to get the marbling pattern inside.
~ Bake in pre-heated oven at 375 F for 40 mins or until inserted skewer comes out clean.

* The recipe in the book uses a 12-cup capacity fluted bundt pan to bake this cake. I wanted mini cakes for giveaways so I baked in three mini rectangular pans. Remember to grease and flour the bundt pan. For flat-bottom pans, lining it with baking paper will do.

Enjoy baking!

petite nyonya