Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake


It’s not pay day till next week and it was a 5 week month for me – which means I’m broke. When I’m broke my baking is dull, dull, dull! No fancy ingredients or trips to Avoca to pick up “nicies” to make something new…. being broke sucks!!

I was rummaging around for a recipe that is as basic as can be and came across this one for a Marble Cake – all I needed was the ingredients for a normal sponge plus some cocoa powder and then icing sugar – even just before pay day I can stretch to that 🙂 

You can do this two ways, either using a circular sandwich tin or else a loaf tin – whichever you have or prefer is fine… I think it looks better in a loaf tin to be honest. Just do the usual job of greasing and lining it with baking paper / parchment first (am I the only one who HATES lining the sandwich tins? Drawing around the tin, cutting it out, cutting loads of little rectangles for the sides…ugh, it really annoys me!!!)

Anyway here we go!

Ingredients List

160g butter
160g caster sugar
160g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons hot water

50g butter
30g cocoa powder (sieved)
4-5 tablespoons milk
200g icing sugar (sieved)

**** Please sieve the cocoa powder and icing sugar into a bowl first… if you don’t and you just throw them into the pan while making the icing you are gonna have horrible bitter lumps of cocoa powder and lumps of icing sugar – so sieve it first!! 

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C or slightly lower for a fan oven. Grease and line your tin.

2. In your mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Every frickin recipe I read says “until light and fluffy”…. mine is never light and fluffy! Just beat it till it’s very well mixed in I say 🙂

3. One by one add in the eggs, beating well again after each one and add in the vanilla extract. This mixture will look pretty gross – don’t stress, that’s normal!

4. Sieve in the flour and baking powder and fold the mixture together with a spoon – don’t use a fork or beat this together, just nice and slowly fold it together with the spoon. Add the milk and continue to fold.

5. Spoon about half of the mixture into a separate bowl and set aside.

6. In another small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder and hot water and mix until smooth. Allow this mixture to cool for a few mins then add to one of the bowls and mix well until evenly blended.

7. Spoon the vanilla and chocolate cake mixtures into the tin randomly until you’ve used up all of them – you really don’t have to be neat here, just plop them in any which way. I then sometimes use a skewer and mix it round a bit but again, not necessary – you’re gonna throw icing over the top anyway so it won’t be seen!


8. Bake in the oven for about 35 – 40 mins. It will be well risen and firm to touch. Once it’s cooked, take it from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 mins then turn it out and peel off the baking paper and allow to cool fully. Don’t get all impatient and try to do this as soon as it comes out of the oven as it’ll be too warm and soft and the cake may start to crumble off with the baking paper (I speak from experience!)


9. Now to make the icing. Melt the butter in a small pan on a medium heat – DO NOT put this on a high heat… it burns easily (again, unfortunately I learned this from experience!) Add in the sieved cocoa powder and mix well – do this quite quickly. Stir in the milk and add half of the icing sugar.

Now take it off the heat and mix well. It really does need to be taken off the heat here or the mixture gets all dry and sticks to the bottom of the pan! Put the pan back on the heat and mix for about 15 seconds until it all starts to soften up again with the heat. Then add the 2nd half of the icing sugar and again mix well. If it’s really dry add a small splash more milk and mix it all again.


That’s the icing done – just pour it over the cake, let it pour down the sides or just leave it whichever way it lands. Leave to set for a good half hour at least. Then sprinkle with icing sugar and serve – it’s yum with some nice vanilla ice cream!

Enjoy 🙂

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Coffee Cake

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I’ll start this one by saying I’m not a tea or coffee drinker so I don’t gravitate towards any recipes that contain them like Earl Grey cupcakes or coffee cake etc. I do adore the smell of coffee though and recently have tried a few sips again and whaddaya know – it’s not so bad!! Tea on the other hand makes me feel sick so I won’t be venturing near it any time soon.

Anyway – I digress! A friend of mine loves coffee cake and as I was visiting over the weekend I decided to bake up her favourite treat. We have a deal, she makes an absolute feast for dinner and I bring along desert…. as cooking actual dinners is definitely not my forte, this deal works out pretty well for me 🙂

Coffee cake is a simple thing to make, it’s just basically a plain sponge, flavoured with some instant coffee. There are a lot more adventurous recipes out there but my baking is all about the simple things. I got this recipe from the BBC Good Food website. I use their recipes quite a bit and am yet to come across a bad one!

So first up is the ingredients. Note that I like loads of icing on my cakes so I doubled what is listed below…. I love a massive thick layer in the middle and on top and if you’ve enough you can always ice around the sides…. there is never too much icing on cakes!! It’s totally up to you how much you use but I think the below quantities are a bit stingy on the icing (or maybe I’m just a greedy sugar addict!)

Ingredients List
150g caster sugar
150g butter or margarine
3 eggs
150g self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp hot water
1 tbsp instant coffee (add more if you like it strong)

For The Icing

225g icing sugar
100g butter (don’t use margarine for this icing, trust me it’s rank)
1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
1 tbsp hot water
Strawberry jam (optional) …. I didn’t use this as said friend had never had jam with her coffee cake and I didn’t want to ruin the cake for her if she didn’t like it!

Some walnuts to decorate.

So here we go:
1. Preheat the oven at 160C, 325 F,gas 3. Grease & line two equally sized sandwich tins. I use these cheap and cheerful ones from Argos for all my cakes:
Add the sugar and the butter to a bowl and whisk until very fluffy and a pale cream.

2. Beat the eggs in a mug with a fork and then add them gradually to the mixture with 1 tbsp of flour each time. Make sure you don’t use all the flour. It’ll look a bit gross and kinda curdly but don’t stress, once the flour is added all will be fine 🙂

3. Sieve in the rest of the flour and the baking powder to the mixture and fold it in gently with a spoon (don’t use a fork here, always a spoon!)

4. Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water and add to the mixture still folding. Divide into the sandwich tins and cook for 30 minutes

5. While they are in the oven, cream the butter and the icing sugar until light and fluffy. This sounds nice and easy and in reality it’s a simple thing to do but if you are doing it by hand be prepared to use some serious elbow grease as you want the icing sugar well mixed into the butter. You could use the electric whisk for this as it’s quicker but if you do this in a mixing bowl with the electric whisk I’d advise you to cover the bowl with a tea towel as the icing sugar is so fine a powder and it’ll end up all over your kitchen.
MAKE SURE TO SIEVE THE ICING SUGAR IN!! I put this in caps as it’s VERY important not to just dump it in straight from the pack, you’ll have lumps of it where it’s clumped together if you don’t sieve it in.

Dissolve the coffee in boiling water, making sure you don’t add too much water or the icing will be runny and add it to the butter and icing sugar. Fully mix or whisk again and leave it aside.

6. Once the cakes are done, take them from the tins and leave to cool. Don’t start to ice them till they are completely cool!

Spread the icing on the bottom of one of the cakes (leaving around half of the icing for the top) and spread the strawberry jam onto the bottom of the other if you used it. Spread the remainig icing on top of the cake.

Decorate with walnuts.

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I don’t store my buttercream cakes in the fridge as I find it makes the icing go hard so I recommend just keeping them in a cool dry kitchen press for storage. When I started baking I thought everything had to be fridged but when you think how long butter lasts at room temp it’s absolutely fine to leave your cakes like this too…. and if my experience is anything to go by they don’t last too long anyway!

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