Are y’all ready for a very special holiday edition of #bundtbakers?
My mom recently renovated and moved into a new house, and a while she was unpacking she asked me if I wanted any of her old cookbooks. She was trying to downsize but the only one I asked for was a well worn book from the 1940s called “The Modern Family Cookbook” by Meta Given. She’d actually had it for so long that she couldn’t even remember where’d she’d gotten it, but thinks it was probably her Grandmother’s.
As soon as I got it home I started pouring over the recipes and wondering about all the funny old fashioned foods that no one eats anymore. It’s just filled with all kinds of things that I honestly can’t wait to try.
As you can probably imagine, I was most interested in the desserts. Surprise!
While flipping through the cakes section I came across a recipe that I instantly knew I needed to try. It was actually the caption under the title that really caught my eye.
“Old-Fashioned Marble Cake always has its dark part darkened with molasses and spices, because that’s the way Grandma used to make it.”
I’d never heard of a marble cake darkened with molasses. Have you?
In my mind marble cakes are always a mix of chocolate and vanilla, and to be honest, I’ve never really been a huge fan. I love chocolate and I love vanilla, but I prefer them as separate flavors. I feel like they sort of get lost in each other, and bring each other down rather than elevating one another when marbled together. But molasses and spice? Now that I could get into!
This version just sounded so terribly interesting, not to mention delicious! I’ve always been fascinated by food history, and I just couldn’t resist the idea of making a recipe for a marble cake that pre-dates the one we all know today.
I find the very idea that the marble cake has evolved from one flavor profile to another completely intriguing. This got me to thinking about how and why this could have happened in the first place.
“Old-Fashioned Marble Cake always has its dark part darkened with molasses and spices, because that’s the way Grandma used to make it.” I soon realized that if this recipe was published in 1942, and it was the author’s grandmother’s recipe, then the recipe itself was probably from the late 1800s. Then it dawned on me that at that time in history cocoa and vanilla were rare, exotic, and expensive ingredients that many bakers just didn’t have access to. Molasses and spice were easy enough to find, so I’m sure that’s why they were used first.
Maybe it’s just the food nerd in me, but I find all this stuff to be so much fun and I just couldn’t wait to share this recipe and the story behind it with the bundt bakers!
I almost went ahead with this recipe back when I first saw it, but ultimately decided that I should wait until the holidays because it sounded so similar in flavor to gingerbread (just without the ginger). I was a little worried that I’d wait all that time and then my cake wouldn’t fit with the bundt bakers theme for December, but I decided I’d cross that river when I came to it.
Lucky for me, Liv of Liv for Cake played right into my hand and chose “naughty or nice” as the theme this month. How perfect is that? Richly spiced cake with dark, earthy molasses juxtaposed against an ethereal light and airy white cake. Naughty AND nice mixed and marbled together into one perfect holiday cake. Please make sure to scroll down past the recipe and check out all the other naught and nice cakes this month!
The original recipe didn’t call for a glaze but just said, “Frost if desired, but no frosting is required.” I thought I may as well go ahead and drive the naughty point home with a nice boozy rum glaze.
This cake lends itself perfectly to being baked as a bundt. The original recipe said to bake it in a tube pan like an angel food cake, but only because the bundt pan hadn’t yet been invented! They didn’t hit the scene until the 1950s.
I followed the recipe almost exactly, but did decide to add just a touch of vanilla to the white cake part. The original recipe didn’t call for it because it wasn’t readily available or affordable when it was developed, but now that it is available and affordable I saw no reason to leave it out. I’m sure it’d still be great without it, but thought it would really add a nice boost of flavor to the white cake.
It was sort of a a funny exercise rewriting a 70 year old cake recipe. The first paragraph was just about triple sifting the flour before measuring because flour back then didn’t come pre-sifted. The recipe was also sort of vague and inexact in some places, because most housewives back then already knew how to follow a recipe. It actually said to “bake in a slow oven for about an hour”.
I tried my best to update it and make it easier for the modern baker to follow. If the finished cake was any indication, I think I did a pretty good job.
I’m so glad to have the opportunity to revive a recipe that’s probably over a century old, and even more glad that it came out so absolutely wonderful! The cake is super light and tender, with a healthy dose of rich earthy molasses and a lovely bit of spice from the cinnamon and clove. When I first read the recipe I worried that the clove might be a bit overpowering, but I worried for nothing and wouldn’t change a thing. It tastes and smells just like the holidays, but if you want it to taste even more like gingerbread, you could easily add two or three teaspoons of ground ginger.
Ginger or no, this recipe is as fun and festive a holiday cake as you could ask for.
The rum glaze really adds another level of holiday cheer too, but if you’d prefer to keep this cake kiddo safe though, feel free to skip the rum and use an equal amount of milk instead.
Old-Fashioned Marble Cake
2 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg whites
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons cloves
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3 egg yolks, beaten
3 tablespoons molasses
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon dark rum
1 1/2 tablespoon milk
Preheat oven to 325F. Generously butter and flour a 10 to 12 cup bundt pan and tap out excess flour. Refrigerate pan.
Measure flour, baking powder, and salt for the light part into a bowl and whisk together until evenly distributed. Beat egg whites until they reach stiff (but not dry) peaks in the bowl of an electric mixer. Gradually mix in 1/4 cup of the sugar. Transfer to a small bowl and cover while you proceed.
In the same mixer bowl, cream butter and blend thoroughly with remaining 1/2 cup of the sugar. In a separate bowl (or measuring cup) mix buttermilk with vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter, beginning and ending with flour and beating well after each addition. Gently fold beaten egg whites into batter being careful not to overmix or deflate the whites. Transfer batter to another bowl and cover while you proceed.
Measure flour, soda, salt and spices for the dark part into a bowl and whisk together until evenly distributed. In the mixer bowl, cream butter until soft and smooth; add brown sugar and cream together thoroughly. Add beaten egg yolks and molasses, and beat until fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour and beating until smooth after each addition.
Drop alternating large spoonfuls of dark and light batter into the pan until all batter is used. Use a dull knife to make a swirled pattern in the batter for a marbled effect.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly with fingertips. Place on a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes to cool before inverting to remove cake and cool completely.
To make the glaze whisk the sugar, rum, & milk together in a small bowl until lump free. If too thick, add a drop or two of milk until you reach the desired texture. If too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar.
Drizzle glaze over completely cooled cake. Cake should keep, well covered and air tight at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
This month is filled with enough naughty and nice to make Santa’s head spin! Even the naughty cakes though, are plenty nice. I wish I could try each and every one!
- Amaretto Almond Bundt Cake by I Bake He Shoots
- Angel Food Bundt Cake with Cranberry Filling and Lemon Glaze by Taking On Magazines
- Anise Bundt Cake by I Love Bundt Cakes
- Bundtcake Especiado by La mejor manera de hacer…
- Candy Cane Bundt by Cali’s Cuisine
- Cherry Chocolate Bundt Cake by Basic N Delicious
- Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake by How to Philosophize with Cake
- Christmas Fruitcake by Tea and Scones
- Christmas Rose Bundt Cake by Living the Gourmet
- Cranberry Spice Bundt Cake by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Eggnog Pound Cake by Palatable Pastime
- Chocolate Gingerbread Bundts with Cream Cheese Frosting by I Camp In My Kitchen
- Hot Buttered Rum Bundt by Food Lust People Love
- Maple Pecan Cake by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Naughty and Nice Kahlua Gingerbread Bundt Cake by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Old Fashioned Marble Cake Bundt by Brooklyn Homemaker
- Peppermint Candy Cane Bundt Cake by The Freshman Cook
- Rum & Eggnog Bundt Cake by Liv for Cake
- Spiced Fruitcake by Magnolia Days
- Spiced Ginger Bundt Cake with Caramel Brandy Sauce by All That’s Left Are The Crumbs
- Spiced Rum Eggnog Bundt Cake by Making Miracles
- Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice Cake by Eat, Drink, Be Mighty
- Super Naughty Chocolate Whiskey Bacon Jam Bundt Cake by Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite A Whiskered Accomplice
#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.
Happy holidays y’all!