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Marble Pound Cake

1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 (1-oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

   This is very fine cake—rich, with a buttery crumb, and so good it doesn’t even need frosting. Bake in a fancy patterned tube pan or an angel food cake pan and serve for a special event: book club, company, or family dinner, birthday, or other celebration. You will need an electric mixer, either stand or hand, since creaming the butter and sugar and beating in the eggs are key to the velvety texture. And follow the advice of expert bakers and let the eggs and butter stand at room temperature for several hours before you begin the cake; it makes for better mixing and a better cake.

   Preheat oven to 350°F. In large mixing bowl with electric mixer at high speed, cream butter until fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer running, gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time. Beat 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides every minute or so, until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides between each egg. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to egg mixture and mix on low speed until flour is blended in. Spoon half the batter into medium bowl and set aside. Add cooled chocolate to remaining batter in bowl and beat on medium speed just until blended. Spray bottom and sides of a nonstick 12-inch fluted or tube pan. (For pan without nonstick coating, generously butter bottom and sides and then dust with flour.) Alternate generous spoonfuls of white and chocolate batters in bottom of pan, then drop spoonfuls of white batter on chocolate already in pan and chocolate on white. With rubber or metal spatula and reaching to bottom of pan, gently swirl batters just once around the pan to marble. Rap pan sharply on counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake until a thin wood or metal skewer inserted off center comes out clean, about 55 minutes to 1 hour. Let pan cool on rack for 5 minutes. Loosen edges and around center opening with tip of sharp knife. Place cooling rack on top of pan. Using hot pads, invert so that cake comes out on the rack. Cool completely.

Variations:
Add 1 Tbsp. grated orange peel to the white portion of the batter before spooning into the prepared pan.
Add 1 to 2 tsp. instant coffee powder or instant espresso powder to the chocolate portion of the batter before spooning into the prepared pan. Makes 1 (12-inch) cake, 12 to 16 servings

 

 


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