Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chocolate Ginger Marble Cakes

For the Wednesday Treat Day this week, we went dark and decadent by preparing these Chocolate Ginger Marble Cakes for Jeff to bring in and share with his co-workers.

While there isn't anything terribly difficult about the batter for the cakes, there are a couple technical details that need to be followed so you get the best result. With the butter, you'll be creaming it with granulated sugar until it has lightened in color and air has been beaten in - don't try and rush this as it takes time. Give it at least 4 or 5 minutes, scraping down the sides a couple times to make sure every bit is incorporated. The butter should be softened, but not meltingly so - if you can't easily make an indent when you press your thumb on the butter, it is too cool still. However, if you set a butter knife on top and it glides itself through with just the weight of the knife, it is probably too soft. You are aiming for somewhere in between - if you want to geek out, take it's temperature - it should be around 66 to 68 degrees.

Beating in the eggs is important too - you'll want to add one at a time, not all six at once in this case, and beat each in until completely combined before adding the next. Why bother? This helps the batter stay cohesive and not curdle - if it does start to look like it is going to curdle, you can add a tablespoon or so from the flour called for in the recipe to help it along. Once the eggs are in and your batter is creamy and voluptuous, it's time to mix in the dry ingredients, spiked with ground ginger, alternately with sour cream. You should end up doing three additions of the dry and two of the sour cream - while you want to get the dry ingredients moistened and the sour cream incorporated, mix as little as possible for the best crumb.

To get the swirly effect to the inside of these cakes, into half of the batter, we gently stirred in a few ounces of melted bittersweet chocolate, changing its color from pale to dark brown. The two batters are then alternately spooned between two loaf pans, then swirled together a few times with a thin knife to marbleize. You do want to check in on these cakes at the half hour or forty-five minute mark - depending on how your oven works, the tops may begin to brown too quickly. If this happens, loosely cover the top with foil - ours baked just fine though without the need to do this. These cakes would probably have been just fine left as is, but we did say we were going dark and decadent, right?

Once the cakes had finished baking and cooled completely, we adorned each loaf with an indulgent glaze made from tossing a half pound of quality bittersweet chocolate into a saucepan of warmed cream. This creates a shiny coating that when left to cool slightly, is thick enough to grab onto the cakes, yet will drip seductively down the sides, teasing your taste buds in anticipation. To echo the ginger inside the cake, along with a flashy topping, we topped the cakes with slivers of sweet crystallized ginger.

So, after all that work... what was the result? Spectacular! With an inviting outside and an eye-catching interior, the cake itself was moist and dense, yet not heavy or overly sticky. The ginger was more than a whisper, yet didn't smack you in the face with a punch, along with enough chocolate presence to create a pleasant balance. Using the sour cream had two benefits in these cakes - besides adding a delightful tang, it also helped to keep the tight crumb tender and soft. Needless to say, self-restraint has been very trying for both of us with this cake howling to be devoured as it sits downstairs... must resist!


  1. Oh my goodness that looks gorgeous!

  2. I think I could eat an entire bowl of that glaze!

  3. Beautiful pictures! ( and the cake looks delicious too)

  4. The cake looks amazingly good Joe!
    The glaze you used is one of my favorite ways of eating chocolate, its sooo good!

  5. Wonderful,yummy site-thanks for the pictures and info! Betty

  6. This looks so delicious and it's pretty! I'm a big fan of chocolate and ginger together.

  7. Rina - Thanks!

    Bethie - I loved how they came out.

    Quinn - You and me both. Though, I'm sure Jeff would have swiped it before we got a chance!

    Christina - Thank you!

    Ana - Give me a spoon and I'm set!

    Betty - Thanks for dropping by.

  8. Joe- this looks and sounds amazingly delicious! I am so going to make this, and of course, I will geek out! ;)

  9. Oh yum that looks delicious. I hardly ever make marble cakes but they are so attractive

  10. Wow! This just looks stunning never mind what it must taste like. The weather is looking horrific this weekend in Mass. so I may have to try this out. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  11. I made this and it is delicious. Ginger and chocolate, one of my favorite flavor combinations! I halved the recipe because I didn't want two cakes, though. I cut out two tablespoons of butter in the batter and used low fat yogurt instead of sour cream and it still turned out fine. Maybe because I only baked one loaf, it was done at 50 minutes. Actually, I could have taken it out sooner because the outside was a little dark.

    The chocolate glaze turned out lumpy though and I couldn't get it smooth. It seemed like oil was separating out...from the chocolate, from the cream? I don't know. Maybe the cream was too hot. But it tasted fine!

    I also used some orange chocolate in the batter because I happened to have a bar of that Endangered Species Organic chocolate around. You could taste the orange in the batter, but it didn't come through in the baked cake. Maybe if I used all orange chocolate in the batter, or used it in the glaze, the orange flavor would have been stronger.