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Desperately seeking marble cake
Posted: 30 June 2008 04:39 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi Everyone,

I am a lover of the Cake Bible and now have a small cake business that is based almost entirely on Rose’s recipes which I think are the best out there.  I am forever gratefully for that wonderful book that is now falling apart from over use.

I need help from all wonderful bakers out there.  I have had my business for almost two years now and it is growing in leaps and bounds because people love my moist delicious cakes (Thanks Rose!!) but I have one thorn in my side that is causing me to fail.  I keep having requests for marble cake and I guess I just don’t know what marble cake really is or how to make it properly.  You see, I don’t think I’ve every had a marble cake and honestly I guess I just don’t get it.  I thought it was a white or yellow cake with thin swirls of chocolate running through.  I’m guessing from this womens reaction that I am way off.  Previously I used the Checkerboard Fantasy cake recipe but instead of using the special pans I marbled them together.  I kept getting complaints about how dry it was…which is so unlike my usual comments.  So I thought I would try marbling a white cake recipe so I took the White Velvet Buttercake and mixed in some chocolate in to some of the batter and swirled it in.  I call a scalding review and am horrified.  What am I doing wrong?  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I refunded her her money but I have another cake order on Saturday for White Marble…any suggestions would be so trememdously appreciated.  Thank you in advance for anyone willing to take the time to help me.

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Posted: 30 June 2008 12:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Welcome Napanaomi - I’ve used Rose’s Checkerboard Fanatasy recipe to make marbled cakes and haven’t not experienced them being dry at all.  Have you read Dan O’B's post entitled “An Odyssey Begins? My First Wedding Cake”?

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Posted: 30 June 2008 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Naomi,
Welcome to the blog!  Marble cake is usually made with one half white or yellow cake and one half chocolate cake.  Depending on what kind of pan you are using you put alternating layers of white and choc cake in the pan (2 of each) and then swirl them around with a knife.  Be careful not to over-swirl as you want a marbling effect when you cut the cake.  You could either make two cakes by using one full recipe of two of Rose’s cakes of similar texture - Perfect Pound Cake and Chocolate Bread for example - or half each recipe to make one cake.  Things to watch out for are: that the texture and denisty of the cakes is similar and, not just to split a recipe and add chocolate or cocoa to one half as this will put the ingredient proportions off.  Hope this helps and let us know how it works out.
Annie

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Posted: 30 June 2008 12:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Oh yes, like Annie says - don’t over swirl!  I place varying sized dollops of each batter in my pan, then swirl and bake.

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Posted: 30 June 2008 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thank you for the welcomes and replies.  It’s the wierdest thing.  When I am assembling the cakes they seem moist but then I hear they were a little dry.  I was putting some of the simple syrup on them to make sure they were moist, which I kinda don’t like doing, but on this last one I honestly thought it tasted good then I got the rather painful email late last night informing me quite the opposite. My husband, a chef, says you are always gonna have those people, but I DO think it is something I’m doing wrong, and it breaks my heart that I had an unhappy customer.

Patrincia, thank you, I did start reading that thread, but I was so freaked out last night I had trouble focusing on it…I’ll revist that one.  And glad to hear that your method with the fantasy checkerboard cake worked…I don’t know what the deal is with mine…I’ll have to be extra carefully with that one.

For this order on Saturday, they have specifically request a white marble cake, white marbled with chocolate not yellow.  I’ve thought of the whole pound cake thing but I think it’d be a little heavy for the average kids birthday cake and a little too expensive food cost wise.  Have any of you done a marble cake with say the white velvet cake and one of Rose’s chocolate cakes?  I’m gonna try several recipes this week in preparation for next week but I’d love to start with something someones done successfully.

By the way, it is such a relief to talk this over with fellow bakers as my sweet seven year old, who often gets the trimming scraps…say…“Mommy, it tasted really good to me…It didn’t taste dry to me.”  Bless her heart…but it doesn’t solve the problem just makes me feel a little better.  I’m glad I finally logged in.

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Posted: 30 June 2008 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I think your husband is absolutely right… there are always those who will complain, even when there is no valid complaint to make.  That’s why I bake just for friends - they’re always appreciative and full of compliments smile

How far in advance did you bake the cakes that were reported to be dry? 

Have you tried substituting 8 egg whites in place of the 4 whole eggs that are called for in the checkerboard recipe?  That will give you a white batter instead of yellow.

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Posted: 30 June 2008 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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This is the thing…I baked the cake on Saturday morning for delivery Sunday morning, the party started at 1pm…so less than 24 hours from oven to mouth.  That is a great suggestion about hte whites…I’ll add that to my list of practice recipes.  As my Mom just said…I have to look at this as the opportunity to develop a truely remarkable marble cake that I can really own.  I’ve never been happy with the whole marble cake thing.  Thanks for the suggestion.

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Posted: 30 June 2008 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hi Napanaomi,

I noticed that you said you baked the cake on Saturday and delivered it on Sunday. Did you, by chance, store the cake in the freezer for the day? You’ll notice that a lot of Rose’s butter cake recipes say that the cake is most perfectly moist the same day as baking. I find that the cake stays fairly moist if I freeze it right after the baked layers are cooled. Often I put the filling between the layers first, and then freeze it, so that the cake layers settle properly. On the morning of the party, I ice and decorate the frozen cake, and it is thawed out by serving time, later in the day.

Maybe you haven’t had this difficulty with the other cakes you make, but I thought it might be worth keeping in mind for the marble cakes.

By the way, I think you are very brave to make this into a business. Like Patrincia, I only bake for friends and family, despite having been urged and propositioned to bake cakes for money. Good luck with your business! Dealing with people who pay you for your goods and services can be a real challenge.

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Posted: 30 June 2008 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Hi Cristine,

Thank you for suggestion…I have never done that before…I put cakes in the freezer only to set frosting and fillings but will definately consider you suggestion. 

LOL…My business really was a fluke and I just don’t know how to stop now that the $$ is rolling in.  This is the first bad complaint I’ve had about my cakes…knock on wood…and it is a chance for growth, right??  Dealing with the public is fasinating, to put it nicely…most of the time I have no issues but once in awhile I get someone difficult.  I’ve fired customers before but this is the first time a customer fired me…that I know of.  It’s hard… downer

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Posted: 30 June 2008 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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patrincia…totally unrelated…but how do I add a photo to my posts…like your beautiful picture of one of your cakes…

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Posted: 30 June 2008 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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You have to click on the “Post Reply” tab (not fast reply or quote)... then there is a little “browse” button which will enable you to add a photo from your computer.  Can’t wait to see your cakes smile

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Posted: 30 June 2008 05:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Oh, and you can add an avatar photo too, just click on “Your Control Panel” at the top of the page and then click “Edit Avatar”.

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Posted: 30 June 2008 06:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thanks…took me awhile to get the file small enough.  This is a cake I did for a baptism several months ago.

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Posted: 30 June 2008 07:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I cannot believe, Patrincia and Christine, that you do not get any money for all your wonderful creations.  It’s very scary getting started but, believe me, it’s worth it.  I was quite terrified when I started and had all the fears of not being good enough, not being formally trained, fear of failure, etc etc.  But I just set a very small goal of billing ?50 ($100) worth of baking in 2004.  I’ve never looked back and am now trying to figure out how to give up the day job.  My stuff is not cheap but all my customers know that everything is made from scratch with great ingredients and much love and passion goes into every item I make.  It’s just the best when people’s faces light up when they taste something you made and they tell you that is the best cake/bread/cookie they’ve ever tasted.  I made Rose’s Stud Muffin yesterday and got just that reaction.  So, guys, my advice is - accept that it’s scary and just go for it.  Your baking is better than 99% of the stuff that’s out there for sale in stores and bakeries.

Annie

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Posted: 01 July 2008 09:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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NapaNaomi—

I sent you a pvt message with my e-mail address and I’m happy to share the Marble Cake spreadsheet.  Anyone else interested in the marble cake spreadsheet can send me a private message with an e-mail address and I’ll be happy to share.  It has measurements for 6in, 8in, 9in, 12in rounds and 12x18in sheet pans.

Here’s a link to the marble cake photo set on Flickr.  There are a couple of photos in there of me “marbling.”

About the dry cake.  I baked the wedding cake layers ahead (some 3 weeks ahead) and syruped them lightly before frosting them.  The test cake I did was frozen as soon as it was cooled and was ever so slightly dry when it was served.  Marble cakes are a big pain in the a** because many of the fillings you might use very successfully with a yellow or chocolate cake don’t work.  Only my opinion, but I didn’t think that lemon or raspberry would work very well, and I got feedback from several people that a flling of marzipan would result in “too much going on.”  I finally decided on a dulce de leche buttercream for frosting and filling, but I think a chocolate ganache filling and buttercream icing might have worked well, too.  The world may never know.

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Posted: 01 July 2008 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Thanks Dan ever so much for the spreadsheet. The whole rose factor thing just makes my brain spin and I’ve never sat down and actually figured out how to go about it. I can truly appreciate mathematical brains like yours. I have to agree with you that marble cakes are a pain. I’ve considered taking them off my menu but I’m not sure that would stop people trying to order it. So instead of fighting it I just got to figure out how to do it right. I’ll let you know how it goes.

As far as fillings…the dulce de leche sounds good to me to. This customer ordered strawberry…I just don’t get it…she asked what I thought would taste good…I made suggestions and then she picked fresh strawberry and then complained that it wasn’t good with the cake. What you gonna do…

By the way…here’s a pic of the cake that is causing so much turmoil in my life.  I think it’s cute

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