I love the idea of having a cake in the house to slice and serve as a snack or as a nice break with a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon. This spiced loaf fits the bill perfectly, and it is attractive to boot. A simple buttermilk batter is swirled through with a really richly flavored molasses streak that makes this something special. Though I fantasize about afternoon tea with slices of this stunner arranged on a platter to show of its beautiful center, it is also delicious as a dessert with a scoop of ice cream, or equally for breakfast. It is a wonderfully all-purpose recipe.
The spices in this batter give it the a taste similar to spice cookies and it smells lovely while it’s baking. I love the tenderness and tang of buttermilk, but plain milk works as well. I do prefer cake flour for a light crumb. Using a cookie scoop makes creating the marble effect really easy, just scoop the batter in alternating dollops in the pan. Once sliced, it is a real showstopper.
Molasses Marble Cake
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
3 Tablespoons molasses (not blackstrap)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan well with baking spray.
- Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer to break it up, then add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour in three additions alternately with the buttermilk, ending with the buttermilk, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the batter is thoroughly combined. Scoop about 2/3 of the batter into the cleaned out bowl the flour was in. Add the molasses, cinnamon, cloves and ginger to the batter in the mixer and beat until smooth and combined.
- Using a large cookie scoop or a large spoon, dollop each batter in an alternating pattern in the prepared pan. I put one scoop of plain batter in opposing corners and one in the center of the pan, then fill in with molasses batter, then continue alternating scoops. Tap the pan on the counter to level the batter in the pan, then bake for 1 hour, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Wrapped tightly, the cake will last 2 days on the counter.