Vanilla and Coffee Marble Cake with Chocolate Glaze
I was taking my IB History test. There’s this feeling I can’t fully explain that only happens during testing season, when you tug on the metal handle of the gym door and step inside. It’s sort of like deja vu meets utter dread.
It’s the feeling you get when you walk into the room and desks have been set up, spaced neatly and equally apart, and your stomach lurches. You know that one of the chairs in this room is for you. There’s a packet with your name on it. And as you find your table and sit at it, a little part of your heart breaks. A bit of you dies. There is no escape.
There is a traditional one last stab at happiness – the whole room does a giant wave, starting with the first desk and ending in the opposite corner. Everyone laughs, then the tests are unwrapped and passed out by whichever parents or teachers volunteered to help. Absolute silence falls as the IB supervisor booms, “The tests have been opened. There is to be absolutely no talking at this point.” And the feeling settles on everything again, even more heavily than before.
All you can hear is the rustling of papers, light footsteps, and maybe the pounding of your heart, depending on how little you studied. I was watching the proctor work her way down the row, handing out papers. I never know quite how to react when the proctors reach me. It’s never pleasant. But that day something completely unexpected happened. My proctor spoke.
She handed me my test booklet, then very quickly leaned in and surreptitiously whispered, “I love your blog!” Then she flashed me a quick smile – another strange first in the IB test room – and continued down the line.
I was left feeling completely shocked! My thoughts were sent completely off balance – I went from trying to remember the causes of the Civil War to wondering how in the world she knew about 17 and Baking. I almost laughed out loud! (Which would have been bad.)
And then something equally bizarre happened – the heavy knotted feeling in my stomach straightened itself out, and I began my test still smiling.
And when I got home? I made vanilla and coffee marble pound cake.
I am amazed by how many people at my school follow my blog. It’s not just students anymore, but even parents and teachers. People who I never talk to pass me in the hallway and tell me how much they like my photography. Teachers ask why I’ve never brought in anything for them. It’s a little embarrassing, but it’s really nice! Thanks to everyone who has made my day by bringing it up. This blog isn’t just for me anymore… it’s for all of you! :)
So I came home feeling like I wanted to bake, which happens most every day now. I settled on a pound cake and agonized over the two flavors before I settled on something simple – coffee and vanilla. The coffee comes out really strong in this soft, tightly crumbed pound cake, so only make it if you really like coffee. The cake isn’t moist, but the coffee flavor comes through really nicely and the glaze is a good touch.
The original recipe also calls for a white chocolate glaze. When I made my version with dark chocolate, I wasn’t sure if this would perhaps send the pound cake over the top with sweetness. But the glaze spreads very thin and is actually fantastic with the coffee, so please don’t shy away from it.
Vanilla and Coffee Marble Pound Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes a 9″x5″ loaf
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup plain yogurt (nonfat is okay)
1 tbsp dutch-processed cocoa powder
4 tsp ground coffee
4 tsp boiling water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9″x5″ loaf pan and set aisde.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, around 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating generously between each egg. Scrape down the sides and add the vanilla. Add half the flour mixture, then the yogurt, and then the other half of the flour mixture, beating until combined.
Separate the batter into two bowls. Combine the ground coffee and boiling water, and add to one bowl of batter. Add the cocoa powder too and combine.
Spoon the vanilla and the coffee batters into the loaf pan, alternating batters. Use a dull knife to swirl the two for a marbled look.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. Pour the glaze (recipe follows) over the cake, letting it drip down the sides.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes enough glaze for one 9″x5″ loaf
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp milk
2 1/4 oz dark chocolate, melted and cooled
Whisk together the sugar and milk. Whisk in the melted chocolate until glaze is smooth, adding in more sugar if the mixture is too thin and milk if it is too thick (I added about 1 1/2 tbsp more of milk). Pour immediately over cooled pound cake.
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