Tuesday, May 3, 2011

{TWD} Black & White Chocolate Peppermint Marble Loaf

IMG_2355 - Version 2


Marble Cake. I was very excited that the Basic Marbled Loaf Cake was chosen as one of May's recipes for the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group. The best part about making a marbled cake: the marbling itself provides endless opportunities for amusement, entirely apart from the merits of the actual cake! It's fun to assemble the cake, but the real adventure comes after the cake is cooled. Then it's time to cut it and see the actual marbling pattern. Each slice shows a different design, so the fun continues until the cake is gone.

My first marbling experience was in the summerof 2008, the third recipe I baked after joining TWD. Learning cool new techniques and enjoying the delicious results has been the hallmark of my three years with the group. The only marbling I'd done in the meanwhile was a botched attempt at some marbled dinner rolls, so I was ready for another try.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- The recipe was chosen for the group this week by Carol from the blog The Bake More. Her marble cake post has the recipe, if you'd like to give it a swirl.

- Dorie sets up the recipe in a way that requires us to select a flavor/color combination. The basic recipe is just that: basic, and it gives no flavors. Instead, Dorie lists several possible choices, and encourages flavor experiments.

- So before I could even start to make this cake, I needed to choose flavors for my two halves of the batter. I was very very tempted to make Dorie's cardamom + coffee variation but I had already baked a marbled coffee loaf with my first TWD marbling experience.

- I love the look of a classic black and white marble loaf. But with all that leeway to play around I didn't want to bake a simple chocolate + vanilla version. I looked at the suggested variations and saw one for chocolate and peppermint. One half of the batter is made with bittersweet chocolate and the other half has both white chocolate and peppermint extract. I actually don't care for peppermint baked goods and also dislike white chocolate, so this gave me a moment's pause. But I was baking this for an eventual book group meeting and many people aren't as unreasonably picky about mint and/or white chocolate as I am. My buddy Mike baked this cake a few days before I did and his tweets raved about the delicious peppermint taste, so that sealed the deal for me. I had (unopened) peppermint extract in the cupboard and a lot of white chocolate on hand, so there was even more reason to choose that option!

- For the white chocolate/peppermint half of the batter, I used up a bunch of bits of white chocolate of various brands: Guittard, Ghiradelli, and Callebaut.

- My biggest objection to white chocolate is its cloying sweetness, so to make up for the extra sweetness from the white chocolate, I cut the quantity of sugar in the cake batter ever so slightly.

- I baked my loaf in my favorite vintage long slim loaf pan. I stumbled upon a cache of these pans and have sent them to several of my baking buddies. From what I hear, a number of them used their pans for this week's recipe.

- With this flavor variation, Dorie advises us to marble sparingly so that the peppermint flavor of the light batter doesn't get muddled with the dark flavor. I layered the two batters carefully and very gingerly sliced a knife through them.

- The loaf rose well in the oven, rising above the rim of the pan.

- My loaf seemed to take forever to bake, even in this thinner loaf pan, which is usually much quicker than regular pans. The light part of the cake kept testing liquid.

- I baked this cake just as I was heading out of town for a week, so once the cake cooled, I just sliced off the end and wrapped the rest and tucked it into the freezer.

the verdict:

It's always an adventure cutting into a marbled cake - you never know what patterns will emerge. In this case, because I marbled the cake so timidly, the resulting pattern wasn't very pretty.

I was surprised at how much I liked this cake. The white chocolate taste pretty much disappeared and the peppermint was present but not brash. The cake had a tight and even crumb. My biggest quibble is that the piece I sliced from the end was a bit dry. The flavor was excellent, though, and I'm hoping that when I pull it from the freezer we will find that the inner pieces of cake are moister. At any rate, it will be delicious with a mint ice cream or mint-infused whipped cream.

19 comments:

cindy said...

Your notes are similar to my baking! I used 3 brands of white chocolate--I love clean the cupboard recipes! I think KAF sells the longer loaf pan, I think I need one!
The baking time seemed a bit iffy, my cake was a little dry. Whipped cream fixed that small problem.
Fun recipe!

Pamela said...

Great post. I really like the look of the cake from the longer loaf pan. I agree that the mint flavor was mild and I liked the subtle hint of it. Good stuff!

Kayte said...

Yep, I used my Nancy Pan this week and it was wonderful for this loaf...love the size of the slices, thanks again! Your marbling looks great! I couldn't believe when we were tweeting that you had used WHITE chocolate as I know how your feel about that...not a love affair by any shot. Happy to hear it worked out.

Jules Someone said...

That looks delicious! I made the coffee/cardamom version. It was excellent.

Leslie said...

This looks great, Nancy! You out-marbled me, no doubt. I used the pan you sent me and mine baked up in an hour and looks completely different...I think not using white chocolate helped mine bake up faster. I also need marbling practice so I should make this again.

Abby said...

This sounds yummy, Nancy (although I love white chocolate and chocolate-mint). Your cake looks delish!

Nicole said...

I made the peppermint variation too! I thought this was great. My cake was super tall but did stay in the pan. My swirl looked like a smiley face.

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Beautiful marbling, Nancy - love the shape that pan makes! :)

Jessica said...

The cake looks wonderful - especially in that pan. I think I need to try my next loaf cake in my pain de mie pan, although it is the larger pan, so maybe a double recipe would do it...

Mary said...

I used the Nancy Pan too. I made the chocolate/peppermint white chocolate too. The pan made the shape cool and I love how it pops out so easily. Ice cream is good on everything, in my book.

alvarosa said...

So, you are the famous Nancy of the Nancy pan :o]

The Bake More said...

Love your long thin pan, and it doesn’t look dry at all. Thanks for baking with me this week. --- Carol

TeaLady said...

White Chocolate!! Like Kayte I was flabbergasted when you said you were going to use it. But once the sugar was cut I can see how you would have liked it better.

And with peppermint I can see how this would have be a hit.

Tracey said...

Thanks for keeping me company last night as we both scrambled to get our posts done :) Your loaf looks wonderful! I need to make this one again in the Nancy pan because everyone's loaves are beyond gorgeous in it. It just give me an excuse to try the coffee/cardamom version, or maybe just repeat the peppermint because it was delicious!

Jessica said...

I'll second Tracey's post. I think I need to make this in the Nancy pan too. I'd set the pan aside because I was going to save it for "keeping house" with the rest of the presents I've received lately. But, I was so sorely tempted by the posts I've read this week that I ended up busting out the Nancy pan to make the lemon poppyseed loaf from "Flour" (kind of a mishap because I was in a hurry). At any rate, now I've gotten past the idea of "saving" the pan to use for later, and it's just so GREAT! I can't wait to use it all of the time.

Enough blathering, right? The chocolate and peppermint version looks fantastic. I have been on such a peppermint kick lately, and I think I need to give this cake another go in the Nancy pan and with peppermint.

Flourchild said...

Yum..it looks really good! Im glad you enjoyed it, I sure did!

natalia said...

Ciao Nancy ! I made your version too and agree about the white chocolate. About the swirls..did you see what surprise I had ? Love the pans!

Peggy said...

Next time I want to be in on the Nancy pans group. HA. Your cake looks divine as always. Love your design in that cake. perfect.

Jane at EYB said...

Nancy - I couldn't find a way to contact you on your blog, so could you please email me at info@eatyourbooks.com. I think you will find EYB really useful as you use cookbooks a lot. We have indexed over 1,800 cookbooks (incl. 9 of Dorie's), that's more than 400,000 recipes. So you can find recipes in your cookbooks in seconds.