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old-fashioned marble cake #bundtbakers

Are y’all ready for a very special holiday edition of #bundtbakers?

old fashioned marble cake | this heritage marble cake recipe is darkened with molasses and spice rather than chocolate | Brooklyn Homemaker

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.

old fashioned marble cake | this heritage marble cake recipe is darkened with molasses and spice rather than chocolate | Brooklyn Homemaker

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!

old fashioned marble cake | this heritage marble cake recipe is darkened with molasses and spice rather than chocolate | Brooklyn Homemaker

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.

old fashioned marble cake | before chocolate, marble cake was darkened with molasses and spice | Brooklyn Homemaker

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!

old fashioned marble cake | this heritage marble cake recipe is darkened with molasses and spice rather than chocolate | Brooklyn Homemaker

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.

old fashioned marble cake | this heritage marble cake recipe is darkened with molasses and spice rather than chocolate | Brooklyn Homemaker

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.

old fashioned marble cake | this heritage marble cake recipe is darkened with molasses and spice rather than chocolate | Brooklyn Homemaker

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.

old fashioned marble cake | this heritage marble cake recipe is darkened with molasses and spice rather than chocolate | Brooklyn Homemaker

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 | this heritage marble cake recipe is darkened with molasses and spice rather than chocolate | Brooklyn Homemaker

Old-Fashioned Marble Cake

Adapted from Meta Given’s 1942 Modern Family Cookbook

Light Part: 
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

Dark Part:
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

Rum Glaze:
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.

Light Part:
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.

Dark Part: 
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.

old fashioned marble cake | this heritage marble cake recipe is darkened with molasses and spice rather than chocolate | Brooklyn Homemaker

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!

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BundtBakers

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#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!

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orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread

It’s been a minute I know. I’m sorry.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

I think this little two week break is the longest I’ve ever gone between posts since I started this whole adventure. I promise that I have a very good reason for for my little hiatus.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’ve been working on giving my kitchen a little facelift. I told you a few weeks ago that I wanted to change a few things in there, and your comments and encouragement gave me the strength to take action on a project I’ve wanted to tackle for years but never did. I don’t want to give anything away just yet, but rest assured things are looking rather different in there.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’ve still got a bit of work to do, but I hope to be able to give you a peek at the progress in a week or two. Right now though, the kitchen is a total mess, and Russell and I have been surviving on delivery pizzas, tacos, and Thai food. I really can’t wait to get back in there and start cooking again, and get back into the swing of things over here too.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

Luckily, I had the foresight to make one last treat before the disarray began. I’ve been so distracted over the past few weeks though, that it’a just taken me this long to get around to posting the recipe.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

This cold weather has me craving some homey comforting sweet bread, with a healthy dose of warm spice. At first I was thinking about making pumpkin bread, but on a whim I decided to try it with butternut squash instead. Butternut squash, roasted and pureed, has much the same texture as pureed pumpkin, but has a brighter, fresher, sweeter flavor.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

To compliment that brightness and sweetness, I added a bit of fresh orange zest to the recipe. I kept the cinnamon in the recipe for the traditional warmth, but in place of nutmeg I substituted a bit of ground ginger and clove to compliment the citrus.  Then I topped the whole thing with a thick orange glaze.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

This loaf is incredibly moist and tender, with a wonderfully homey and satisfying flavor. It’s such a fun yet familiar twist on traditional pumpkin bread. The warm spice is perfectly suited to the flavor of the earthy roasted butternut squash, and the orange zest adds a lovely touch of brightness. The bread itself is so perfect on it’s own that it doesn’t even really need the glaze, and would be just as good with a simple swipe of soft unsalted butter.

I added the glaze to boost the citrus flavor, but I have to admit that I found it just a bit too sweet for my taste. My sweet tooth just prefers something a bit more subtle. If you think you’re like me and might prefer a more refined sweetness, you could skip the glaze altogether if you like. You could also try using less sugar to make a thinner glaze, or even try a cream cheese icing instead. If you like a nice dessert-like sweetness though, just make the glaze as is. Either way, a slice of bread will be heaven with your morning coffee or perfect as a treat at the end of the day.

orange glazed roasted butternut squash bread | Brooklyn Homemaker

Orange Glazed Roasted Butternut Squash Bread

  • Servings: Makes 2 loaves
  • Print
adapted from Once Upon a Chef

Bread:
1 small to medium butternut squash
2 teaspoons peanut or vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs

Glaze (optional):
zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Rub flesh with oil and place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until soft when pushed with a finger. Cool until cool enough to handle.
Peel the skin off the outside of the squash, and puree the flesh in a blender or food processor, or in a bowl using an immersion blender.
Measure out 2 cups of puree and save the rest for another use, or feed it to your dogs.

Reduce oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 8 ½” x 4 ½” loaf pans.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, orange zest, and spices in a bowl. Whisk until well combined and set aside.
In another bowl, mix together sugar, melted butter, and squash puree. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Fold squash mixture into flour mixture until combined.
Turn batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly, and bake for about 65 – 75 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let loaves cool in pan about 10 minutes, then turn out on wire rack to cool completely.

Once the loaves are cooled, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth and free of lumps. Pour over the loaves and smooth the top. Let the glaze set for a bit before slicing.