Valentine’s day is all about celebrating that someone special, and that can be anyone that we hold dear. Girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, mum, dad, granny, grandpa, if you love them, then Valentine’s day is the perfect opportunity to show them. That’s why I loved it when my 4-year-old nephew came up to me and asked me to help him do something special. ‘What do you mean, something special?’ I asked, thinking we were just going to play some bizarre game where we’re Ghostbusters or something. (Don’t ask, it’s his latest obsession.) He told me about how Valentine’s Day is all about showing someone that you love them, and the person he loved most in the world was his mummy, and how he wanted to make her a special valentines surprise. I know, how unbelievably cute!
It took us a while to decide what type of special surprise he wanted to make. And in the end, he made a very good decision. We went through making a card, drawing a picture, building a model and even making up a song and dance. But in his words, ‘all those are rubbish!’ Yep, he definitely has a way with words. Then he had a sort of Eureka moment.
He sat bolt upright, with a little cheeky smile on his face. His finger pointed up to the sky and he very excitedly shouted, ‘I know!’ I really didn’t know what to think, something was getting him very enthusiastic and I was a bit weary as to what it was. ‘We should make a cake, mummy loves cake’. This boy is seriously a child genius, and a child after my own heart. How baking never crossed my mind is truly a mystery.
It didn’t take us long to decide how to make them, I’m sure he must have been planning it for a while as he knew exactly what he wanted to make. He’s just discovered chocolate, and has a serious love for it. Just see him making chocolate lollipops, if you don’t believe me. But to him, it’s not a flavour, it’s a colour. He always wants brown ice cream, or brown milk, so it only made sense that he insisted we make some brown cakes. Strangely, he’s the only one who really likes chocolate cake in the house. Besides my brother, but Bo insists that it must be a boy thing! So, we opted for the ultimate child friendly cake… The tried and tested marble!
Half chocolate and half plain sponge, swirled together to make a simple yet tasty cake. It’s a cake straight out my childhood, as me and my mum always used to make it at the weekends. I remember having the all-important task of head marbler, and would stand there very importantly with a toothpick in hand, ready to marble away. I would stand there, bent over the cakes, so close that my nose was nearly in the batter. Tongue out, apron on, it was a serious state of concentration.
It’s All In The Swirl
My mum would say the same thing every time, ‘don’t marble it too much, or you won’t see the colours.’ ‘I know, I know!’ I would wearily reply every week, thinking I knew best, when guess what? Of course, I didn’t. I would either stir them together so much that I achieved a light brown cake. Or I would be so scared to swirl it together that I would only swirl the very top, and leave the bottom divided. That’s probably why we started mixing the two batters together in the bowl rather than in the cases.
But Bo was so excited about these, and after we found some heart cake tins, he found his apron, washed his hands and asked me when we were going to get started. That’s when the fun, and the mess began! If you’ve ever baked with kids before, then you’d understand. There’s was cocoa powder flying through the air, and at one point, more went on him then in the actual cake. As soon as he saw the powder he went a bit chocolate mad; he smelt, closed his eyes, and softly said ‘mmm… chocolate.’ Then he got a bit overexcited, and that’s when we had our chocolate explosion. But instead of tidying it up, he thought it was a good idea to start writing in the stray powder. Oh well, at least he’s practising his letters!
Made With Love
The marble ended up patchy, with the tops having the marbled effect, and the bottom completely separated. So, in the end we swirled it in the pot and that helped to make the swirl run all the way though. But it was all made out of love, and he was so proud of his creations! They were typical kid cakes and he loved every moment of it. When it came to cleaning up, he insisted that he was very busy and had toys to go and save from monsters. But honestly, I think that he just would’ve made the mess even bigger.
I think it’s the best (and cutest) Valentine’s that she’ll ever get. Love was definitely the main ingredient in this cake, and that makes it all the better.
Valentine’s Heart Marble Cake Recipe:
Little hands make messy work, but they’re always full of love!
Yields: Roughly 7 Cakes
- 4 oz Unsalted Butter
- 2 oz Caster Sugar
- 2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten (Brought to Room Temperature)
- 4 oz Self Raising Flour
- 2-3 Teaspoons Goood Quality Cocoa Powder
- Icing Sugar – To Decorate
- Preheat oven to 180*c/350*f/Gas Mark 4/160*c Fan Oven.
- Place all the ingredients together in a bowl (Except the cocoa powder), and mix together until thoroughly combined. It should look light and creamy.
- Place half of the mixture into a separate bowl.
- Add 2-3 Teaspoons of cocoa powder to one of the bowls. Thoroughly mixing until all combined.
- If you’re using a tin without cases, then make sure you remember to grease it thoroughly. You can do this by rubbing some butter around the mould.
- Here there’s two options: You can either place a spoonful of each mixture into the cake tin, and swirl with a cocktail stick. Or you can place both batters together in a bowl and lightly swirl them together. Ensuring that they do not fully combine, but stay ‘marbled’ in appearance.
- Cook for 18 minutes, or until light and fluffy. You can tell they’re ready when they’re golden brown, and spring back when lightly pressed. You could also insert a skewer into the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean, then the cake is ready.
- Once ready, remove from the oven.
- Allow them to cool in the baking tin for roughly 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, and allow to cool completely.
- Dust with icing sugar for the perfect finishing touch!
- Store in an airtight container, for up to three days.
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