Vanilla and Chocolate Marble Traybake
Here’s one of my favourite cake recipes and I made it today. It’s handy if you are having a party or a barbecue at home, or like me, your child comes home from school one day and says “oh I forgot to tell you Mum, I’ve said you’ll bake some cakes for the fair tomorrow…”.
What I love about it is an all in one cake and the washing up afterwards is minimal. It uses ingredients you are likely to have in your cupboard already, but if you haven’t got anything it won’t cost you a bomb to get it. You don’t need any baking skills for this and it is QUICK to prepare.
For the cake:
8oz Soft Margarine – the stuff you use everyday on your toast is fine
8oz Caster Sugar – you can use granulated sugar if you wish but the texture of your finished cake will be grainier. It doesn’t really matter!
10oz Self-Raising Flour – you do need self raising or else your cake won’t rise
2tsp Baking Powder – this will help your cake rise, but I have made this cake without it and it turned out fine
2tsp Vanilla essence – you can use vanilla extract if you prefer
2tbsp Cocoa powder – you can substitute this for some melted chocolate if you haven’t got it
2tbsp Hot water to mix into the cocoa powder. If you are using melted chocolate you won’t need the water.
2oz Chocolate chips – this is where you can be as choosy as you like. I have used the standard chocolate chips before now, which are nice, but I’ve also used chopped up Daim bars, broken honeycomb pieces, space candy, mini Smarties and other things like that. Surprise your guests!
For the topping:
2oz Each of dark and milk chocolate. If you don’t like dark chocolate then substitute it for white, or orange flavoured or whatever. The key is to have two contrasting flavours but you could just have 4oz of one if that’s what you like to have.
How to do it:
1. Put your oven on. It should be preheated to 180C or Gas mark 4.
2. Grease and line a roasting tin. The one you use for your Sunday roast is fine.
3. Weigh out your flour, margarine and sugar and put them in a big bowl or your food processor.
4. Add the eggs – no need to whisk first, just put them straight in.
5. Add the baking powder, milk and vanilla flavouring then mix it all up. It will take a minute or two in the mixer or about 5 minutes by hand. It needs to be evenly mixed and will end up looking like a smooth batter when it’s ready.
6. Use half the mixture for this bit. Dot spoonfuls of the mixture into the tin, leaving some gaps.
7. Mix up the cocoa powder and hot water in a bowl or a cup and add it to the mixture still in the bowl. If you are using melted chocolate instead, add that now.
8. Add your chocolate pieces, whatever you are using, and mix all the chocolateyness into the batter. It will go a beautiful colour and it doesn’t matter if you don’t mix it thoroughly. Marbling is good!
9. Put spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture in between the vanilla mixture in the tin. Try to get it even but it will level itself in the oven so don’t overly manipulate it if you can.
10. Place the tin in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. You will start to smell it at around the 25 minute mark so keep an eye on it from then. It might need a bit longer than the 30 minutes, it all depends on your oven. The way to tell it is cooked is when you try to dent the top of it with your finger (gently!) the surface will spring back up. Also, the sides will have shrunk away a little. Try not to open your oven door before 30 minutes or else you risk it sinking, but test it when you think the time is right.
11. Take it out of the oven and place it to one side to cool for about 10-15 minutes and take it out of the tin. Place it on a wire rack but there’s no need to remove the greaseproof paper yet.
12. It’s time to put the topping on your cake. Melt the first of your chocolate by either placing it on a saucer and blasting it in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water. I prefer the pan of simmering water method because you can control it better, but some people prefer the microwave. If you are microwaving it, do a 30 second burst first, then in 10 second bursts after that. Give it a stir in between times. If you are simmering it over a pan of water choose a small saucepan and half fill it with water from a freshly boiled kettle. Put a large bowl over the top and make sure that bowl doesn’t sit in the water. Bring it to simmering point and break up the chocolate into the bowl. It will take a couple of minutes to melt properly.
13. With your melted chocolate, take a spoon and drizzle it diagonally over the top of your cake, keeping the drizzles going in the same direction. There’s no scientific reason for this, it just makes it look nicer when it’s finished!
14. Repeat 12 and 13 with your other chocolate, but drizzle it diagonally in the other direction.
15. If you are feeling particularly showy, why not do three types of chocolate topping? I have done it with dark, milk and white chocolate before now with the final drizzle going straight up and down over the top.
16. Let the chocolate set and then carefully peel back the paper.
17. Cut your cake into squares. I’ll leave it to you to decide how many but I usually cut it in half lengthways and then each of those in half again so there are four long strips, and then half top to bottom. I would then cut those pieces either into two or three again, depending on the size of the roasting tin and the number of mouths it needs to feed.
Here’s the one I made today!