This mocha-chocolate marble cake is everything you want in a cake: it’s easy, effortlessly dairy free, comes out unfailingly moist, lasts forever (or as long as it lasts), and, most importantly, tastes great. Unlike a plain marble cake, the un-chocolate part of the swirl is flavored with mocha, so every bite is an adventure.Yum
It may look like a fairly ordinary marble cake, an Ashkenazi bakery classic that’s a perennial favorite in Israel and the Tri-State. But this cake, friends, is one of my finest creations, honestly one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. And I’m particularly excited about this mocha-chocolate marble cake because I wrote the recipe from the ground up. What makes this cake so superlative? It’s got a few secrets: the batter is made with part (but not all) almond flour, for added flavor and texture. It also has instant espresso in the base batter, for the mocha flavor. And, to flavor the chocolate swirl, a whole, melted chocolate bar, for richness and moisture.
Mixing the batter
There’s no way around it, this is an unattractive batter. Lumpy, runny, and beige, it’s unpromising all around. However, don’t let that deter you; the finished cake is every bit as right as the batter looks wrong. Blithely whisk along, looking for a sort of silky finish, and you’re good.
After mixing the base batter, you’ll pour about a third into a smaller bowl (it truly doesn’t have to be exact; eyeball it). That one-third of the batter is going to become the chocolate swirl. (It’s tempting to divide the batter in half and have a half-chocolate cake, but I tried it and what happens is that the chocolate dominates and you don’t get the mocha coming through.)
Marbling the cake
Unlike standard marble cakes, the batter for this cake is loose. Rather than dollop thick dabs of batter in a checkered pattern in the pan, I’ve found this cake works best when you first pour in the mocha batter, pour the chocolate batter into the center of the mocha, and then swirl with a knife.
Then into the oven it goes, in a long loaf pan (see here for more on the pan) for 55-60 minutes. (Sounds like a lot, but that’s correct! About an hour.) If you plan to lift the cake out of the pan to serve it, line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang. And mist it with cooking spray for good measure, too. I did not try baking the cake in a standard loaf pan, but I imagine you would need about 90 minutes. I’d start checking the cake at 1 hour 10 minutes, though, to be sure.
Looking for more cakes for Shabbat?
- Basbousa – Middle Eastern Semolina and Coconut Cake (parve)
- Israeli Poppy Seed Cake with Chocolate Ganache (parve or dairy)
- Israeli Apple Cake (parve)
Mocha-Chocolate Marble Cake
- Long loaf pan
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup hazelnut or almond flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 Tbsp instant coffee
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 3-4 oz bar dark chocolate – 85-100 g
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a long loaf (English cake) pan. Line with parchment first, if you wish to remove the cake from the pan for serving.
- Mix all-purpose flour, nut flour, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix boiling water, coffee, sugar and oil. Whisk well until coffee and sugar is dissolved. Add eggs, almond milk, and vanilla. Mix well.
- Add flour mixture to the egg mixture, and whisk until combined. The batter should be loose and a bit lumpy, but otherwise silky.
- Divide the batter one third and two thirds, each in its own bowl.
- Melt the bar of chocolate. Add to one third of the batter and stir to combine.
- Pour the mocha batter into the greased pan. Then, pour the chocolate batter in a stripe down the center of the mocha batter. Swirl once with a regular knife.
- Bake 55-60 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; remove cake from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.