My mom is a great cook but she’s not much of a baker. She admits she lacks the patience required for dealing with pastry and she only bakes cookies for Christmas. As for cakes, she bakes two: her family’s birthday cake and this marbled bundt cake. The recipe was given to her by a colleague around the time I was ten and my mother embraced it wholeheartedly. She baked it countless times. Later, I baked it countless times. My sister who’s not much of a cook and not much of a baker, but a lover of all things delicious and easy, only ever bakes this cake.
It was also the first cake my children learned to bake. Back when I still worked as interpreter, I would occasionally get a call: ‘Can you interpret for the police for about twenty minutes starting now?’ And because I did not get much work to begin with, I almost always said yes – even though with a baby and a toddler in the house it almost never was a good time. My daughter, the smart girl she is, quickly figured out that when mom was thus occupied, she could not say: ‘no, you can’t draw on the wall’ and so Esther would make most of these precious, unsupervised moments. Once, when she was about three, we were baking this cake and I got a phone call. While I was busy interpreting, Esther proceeded with the cake. Not one to be restrained by a recipe, she decided to put her personal spin on it: she ground a copious amount of black pepper into the batter. Since I hate to waste food, I poured it into the baking tin and put in the oven. It was still good.
Last time I baked the cake was before our last week’s trip to England. We ate it on the ferry, fending off sea gulls. Esther and Sebastiaan laughed at me because the sea gulls made me nervous. But that’s just because they have not seen Hitchcock’s Birds and I have. See that evil glint in the bird’s eye?
What I’m trying to say: if you only want one cake recipe in your repertoire, this is a great one. It is super easy – almost impossible to mess up. You likely have all the ingredients. You don’t need scales. Thanks to the olive oil, it keeps well and does not go stale quickly. Everybody likes it. I can’t believe it took me so long to put it in the blog.
Marbled bundt cake
My mom’s recipe uses only all-purpose flour and regular sugar, but I like to substitute part whole spelt flour and raw cane sugar for a bit more flavour. My mom usually uses sunflower seed oil, I prefer olive oil. Use whatever you see fit, it’s all good. You can’t go wrong with this recipe.
1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (125 g ) whole spelt flour (or whole wheat flour or more all-purpose)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup raisins (optional)
1 cup milk (250 ml)
½ cup (125 ml) mild olive oil
¾ cup (150 g) (raw cane) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder Dutch processed
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (360 F).
Grease and flour a Bundt pan (mine has a 2 liter capacity but the cake does not quite fill it).
In a medium bowl, mix both flours with baking powder and soda. Put the raisins (if using) in a small bowl and cover with boiling water, set aside. In a measuring jug (or another bowl) mix all the remaining ingredients except cocoa powder and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour the liquid mix into the flour and stir to combine. Pour half of the batter into the pan. Drain the raisins (if using) and scatter them on top. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa with 2 tbsp of boiling water and stir into a thick a paste. Add this to the remaining batter and stir well. Pour the dark batter into the pan. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Let cool slightly, then loosen the edges with a knife and invert the cake on a plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you wish.