Marble Pound Cake with Chocolate and Vanilla Buttercream

There was a time in Philadelphia, not too long ago, that every wedding cake vendor was pushing chocolate chip cake. I get why a hint of chocolate within a vanilla cake is appealing but I just don’t think chocolate chips are the best way to achieve that result. We attempted to find a balance by creating this vanilla and chocolate swirl cake. It takes a bit of work, because it requires making two cake batters and then swirling them together, but it’s worth the extra effort.

Excerpted with permission from the publisher, Wiley, from the Brown Betty Cookbook by Linda Hinton Brown and Norrinda Brown. Photography by Alison Conklin. Copyright 2012

Marble Pound Cake with Chocolate and Vanilla Buttercream

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    Ingredients

    Vegetable shortening 1/4 teaspoon pure rum extract
    Nonstick cooking spray with flour 1 3/4 cups sour cream
    6 1/4 cups cake flour 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons regular salt 2 large egg yolks
    1 1/2 tesapoons baking powder 1/2 cup boiling water
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda 9 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature
    4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature 7 cups confectioners' sugar
    4 3/4 cups granulated sugar 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
    10 large eggs 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
    7 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 to 3 tablespoons whole milk

    directions

    Prep: 1 hour Total:
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    • 1

      For the Vanilla Buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 6 ounces cream cheese and 2 teaspoons vanilla together on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add 1 cup butter and salt and beat, scraping the bowl as necessary, until mixed.

    • 2

      Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, beating until blended. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

    • 3

      For the Chocolate Buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 3 ounces cream cheese and 2 teaspoons vanilla together on medium speed until smooth. Increase the mixer speed to high. Add 1/2 cup butter and beat until incorporated, scraping the bowl as necessary, about 1 minute.

    • 4

      Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the coca powder and corn syrup. Add 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar and beat until blended. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until the buttercream achieves a spreadable consistency. Set aside until ready to use.

    • 5

      Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat three 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable shortening, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

    • 6

      Make the vanilla batter first. In a medium bowl, whisk together 4 cups flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

    • 7

      In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 1/2 cups butter and 3 cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary, about 3 minutes. Add 8 large eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended and scraping the bowl as necessary. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and rum extracts and beat until blended.

    • 8

      Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternately add the flour mixture and 1 cup sour cream to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until smooth.

    • 9

      Now make the chocolate batter. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, 3/4 cup sour cream, 2 large eggs, egg yolks, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla until smooth.

    • 10

      In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 2 1/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder,1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 3/4 cups sugar on low speed just until blended. Add 1 cup butter and half of the cocoa mixture and beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are just moist. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until blended, scraping the bowl as necessary, 1 to 2 minutes.

    • 11

      Gradually add the remaining cocoa mixture in 2 batches, beating 20 seconds after each addition. Add 1/2 cup boiling water and beat until smooth.

    • 12

      Pour 2 cups of vanilla batter and 1 cup of chocolate batter into each prepared pan and swirl together with a butter knife. Be careful not to stir the batter. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Remove the parchment paper.

    • 13

      To assemble and frost the cakes, place 1 cake layer, bottom-side up, on a cake plate. Use an offset spatula to swirl 1/2 cup Vanilla Buttercream and 1/2 cup Chocolate Buttercream on top. Add the second layer, bottom-side down, and swirl 1/2 cup of each buttercream on top. Top with the third cake layer, bottom-side up. Swirl the remaining buttercreams on the top and sides of the cake.

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