Orange Mocha Marble Cake

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While I am researching different eclairs recipes and different methods and ingredients for making pastry cream for a new recipe (which I am already very excited about sharing), I baked an Orange Mocha Marble Cake the other day to have on hand for easy breakfasts at home and to nibble on during the day.

But before we talk about the Orange Mocha Marble Cake, I wanted to say that I was super excited to hear that my recipe for Toasted Rice Blancmanger was featured in the Guardian’s Cook section under the theme ‘WOBBLY’ last weekend! I absolutely love creating recipes and it is even better when others like my creations!

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Back to this marble cake – chocolate and orange is one of my favourite flavour combinations but the addition of coffee was new to me until very recently. I first came across this in the form of a Chocolate Orange Tiramisu at Jamie’s Italian which opened fairly recently in my old neighbourhood in Angel, London – in fact, a colleague sent me there purely to try their Orange Tiramisu and I am glad he did! Coffee, chocolate and orange is like a grown-up, dialled-up version of chocolate and orange. I already prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate when paired with orange as it’s less sickly sweet. And what can I say, coffee takes this flavour combination to another level, with a similar contrast between the bitter coffee and the sweet and fresh orange to pairing orange with chocolate.

In my family we typically had a Marble Cake for my brother’s birthday – being born in February meant a fresh fruit cake was out of the question (as my parents have always refused to buy out of season fruit and vegetables) – and I have always loved the contrast between the lighter part of the cake and the dark chocolatey part. Also, as a child I found the spirals in the cake utterly fascinating. This time though I was looking for a slightly more interesting flavour combination and when I spotted a lone orange in our fruit bowl the other day settling on an Orange Mocha Marble Cake was an easy decision given that I had been looking for the perfect occasion to bake something using this favour combination.
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I used the zest of 1 whole orange to flavour the light part of the cake – while this might seem a lot for half of a fairly small loaf cake, it will seem just right when the cake comes out of the oven. The flavour of the chocolate and coffee is pretty strong so you need a fair amount of orange zest to stand up against that! I ended up adding the coffee flavour in the form of an espresso shot rather than simply using espresso powder because I wanted to prevent the dark part of the cake from becoming too dry as a result of the additional cocoa powder.

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Orange Mocha Marble Cake
Very loosely adapted from Das Teubner Handbuch zum Backen

Ingredients, makes 1 loaf cake
2 eggs
125ml olive oil
125g muscovado sugar
Pinch of salt
200g wholemeal flour
50g cornstarch
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
30g cocoa powder
100ml milk
20ml strong espresso (1 shot)
Zest of 1 orange

Directions

1. Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees and grease a loaf pan.

2. Beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high speed, slowly drizzling in the olive oil.

3. Once the olive oil has all been incorporated, add the sugar, beating until the mixture is no longer gritty.

4. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder.

5. Add half of the flour mixture to the egg mix and whisk to combine. Stir in half the milk, followed by the remainder of the flour mixture and then the remaining milk. Divide the batter between two bowls.

6. To one bowl add the orange zest and stir to combine.

7. Add the cocoa powder and the coffee to the second bowl and stir to combine.

8. Add the orange-flavoured batter to the loaf pan, followed by the mocha-flavoured batter. Using a fork draw a few spirals in the batter, lifting the fork as you go (this will create a marbled effect in the loaf once baked).

9. Place in the oven and bake for ca. 60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Note: if you want to substitute plain flour for the wholemeal flour, I would recommend reducing the amount of milk to 50ml and the espresso to 10ml as plain flour absorbs less liquid than wholemeal flour.

15 thoughts on “Orange Mocha Marble Cake

  1. My parents have a house in Italy and every summer when we visited when I was little, our neighbour used to make us a marble cake. I absolutely loved it. Now she’s nearly ninety (with the same jet black hair I remember, obviously not natural now!) and she still makes the cake, we just have to go to her to get it.
    Love the flavours in this, such a gorgeous cake.

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    • Haha, thank you! I have been experimenting with toasted cereal infused pastry cream recipes. It will definitely be a less wholesome treat than the rest of my recipes (although I am definitely set on making wholemeal spelt eclairs) … have to balance out all that wholemeal flour, olive oil and unrefined sugar somehow ;-)!

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    • Oooh I love chocolate orange – what kind of cake did you make?

      Let me know if you give this a try – the shot of espresso really takes this cake to another level and makes sure both parts of the cake are deliciously moist!

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      • That sounds delicious! Just had a quick glance at the post – I like the sound of that cake a lot. I usually increase the amount of cocoa as well to make sure a cake is really chocolatey. If so, I tend to reduce the amount of flour by the same amount to ensure I don’t change the texture of the cake (although I have not yet tried that technique with yeasted cakes – there I might increase the liquids instead).

        I try to bake with whole meal flour as much as possible to make things a little healthier around here (and to help justify eating cake for breakfast!).

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