Thursday, March 20, 2014

Marble Butter Cake

Uncle, one hei mee without hei!

I remember saying this at desperate situations... ordering a bowl of hei mee (prawn noodle) without hei (meaning prawns in Hokkien). I had to do this whenever my friends invited me to eat with them at their favourite hei mee place. Sometimes, these specific coffee shops that sells nothing but their famous hei mee. So, the sad me had to make this accommodating request to avoid any social-suicide and also survive through my fresh prawns allergy.

ok... I can accept eating hei mee without hei but definitely NOT baking marble butter cake without any butter... LOL! Please pardon me for beating around the bush, linking hei mee with marble butter cake... because I reckon this is the best way to illustrate how important the role of butter in a nice buttery marble butter cake. Here, I like to strongly emphasize that I will NOT bake anything low fat or butter-reduced for our marble butter cake bake-along with Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings. Not to brag but mine is seriously BUTTERY, moist and smooth and this is the one that I'm after...

marble butter cake
Yes... You are the nice BUTTERY marble butter cake that I like.

Since young, we used to celebrate our Chinese New Year with Bengawan Solo marble butter cakes... I don't know why but I guess we did this because my father likes butter cakes.

I have not celebrate Chinese New Year in Singapore for more than the past decade and have not been eating much Southeast Asian-style marble butter cake since then. Southeast Asian-style marble butter cake??? Is there any difference between Southeast Asian-style marble butter cake or non-Southeast Asian-style marble butter cake? How do I you define which butter cake is Asian or which is not? Since young, I have been eating many butter cakes with my father and I think I can tell the differences...

Maybe it is just me and my opinion... I can't help to think that most typical Westerners' kind of butter cakes are typically rich in butter content with compact texture. Most of the typical butter cake recipes that I have seen are the ones that were made with creaming of butter and sugar first and then with the additions of eggs, milk, flour and raising agents. These recipes don't require any separation of eggs and their methods of mixing is usually straightforward and easy. Whereas, some of the Asian-originated fully-packed butter cakes that I know are less compact with tender crumbs and finer texture.

If you do a Google search for the "best marble butter cake recipe", you will see these two Asian-originated marble butter cake recipes. Truly, it is the best that I'm after...

In actual fact, these two recipes are exactly the same recipe as it originally comes from Life is great. Mixing this butter cake requires separation of eggs and it is maximally loaded with butter... Yeah, lots of butter! There is no other liquids like milk, or yogurt in this recipe. Just eggs and minimal flour to bind the maximal amount of butter. I would highly recommend this butter cake recipe if you are a butter cake lover. It is seriously buttery but delightfully light with subtle fluffiness.

I have to say that I really have nothing to complain about this recipe except that the mixing of this cake batter can be quite lay-chay (meaning troublesome in Hokkien). Lay-chay???... As mentioned in the
recipe, two electric mixers are required to bake this cake or unless you have very strong arm muscles... LOL!

I need to use both a stand mixer and a hand mixer to bake this cake. Very lay-chay!
To start, whisk egg yolks with sugar until light and combined.
Use stand mixer to cream butter, and egg yolk mixture...
Use hand mixer to whisk egg white until stiff peaks...
... and combine both together!
Add cocoa powder into a quarter of the batter 
Wait! Don't bake this yet...
I need to make a swirl...
Ai ya! There is a crack on the cake surface! Not perfect?
marble butter cake
Not Perfect? Nay! For me, I can ignore the crack. This cake is perfectly buttery with delightfully fluffy texture.

Here's the recipe from Life is Great
(with my modification and notes in blue)

Makes one 20 cm round cake or two 14 cm round cakes

8 large eggs, separated
(I used 60g eggs)
9 ounces castor sugar
(I reduced to 100g for half of the recipe)
12 ounces unsalted butter
(I used 175g for half of the recipe)
9 ounces all purpose flour
(I used 135g for half of the recipe)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
(I used 10g Valrhona Dutch processed cocoa for half of the recipe)
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven at 160°C (fan forced) with a wire rack in the middle. Line an 8-inch round cake tin (or one 14 cm round tin for half of the recipe) with parchment, butter and flour or with just baking paper only. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment till light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar till light. Gradually add this into the butter and beat on medium speed till just incorporated. In a separate bowl, with a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites till stiff peaks form. With a spatula, fold in the meringue into the egg yolk mixture in 3-4 batches. Add in vanilla extract and dry ingredients. Stir gradually until just incorporated.

Divide the batter into two, 3/4 in one batch and the rest in another bowl. Sieve cocoa powder over the lesser batch and fold to mix well. Pour batter into tin, alternating between the two mixtures, starting with the yellow batter and ending with the cocoa mixture. Rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. With a long skewer, swirl around the batter to create the marble effect. Bake for 40-55 mins or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake come out clean.

Cool on wire rack completely before serving. Cake keeps at room temperature up to three days and can be frozen up to 3 months.

Note: Using half of the recipe, I have baked a 14 cm round cake at 160°C fan forced for 55 mins. I have noticed that the addition of vanilla extract has been missing in the instruction and I have added mine when I mixed the egg yolks and whites together.

There is also another recipe that I really keen to bake which is this famous Mrs Ng SK's butter cake by Wendy, Table for 2 which many Asians have baked this recipe in the form of marbled butter cake too. After loading myself with this delicious butter cake, I'm feeling a little guilty after enjoying this cake... My thighs, tummy and brain are telling me that I need to take a break now and will love to bake this recipe in the near future.

Happy Baking
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Here are our friends that have joined us for this bake-along. Please visit their blogs for more of their marble butter cake baking. 

Please submit your details if you wish to link your post with this bake-along. This linking tool is open from 20 Mar to 30 Mar 2014.
Due to my travelling, we will be having a break again for Apr 2014 and postpone our coming bake-along to the dates beginning from May 2014. I'm so sorry for any inconvenience caused!

For our next bake-along, we are baking Celebration Chocolate Cake for our bake-along 3rd anniversary which is to be posted on 5 May 2014.

Three years of bake-along!!!??? Yup! We have baking-along for the past 3 years! Aren't we amazing?... LOL! Please join in our celebration and bake-along with us! All you need to do is to bake a yummy chocolate cake and blog hop with us for the next 10 days.

To blog hop with us, simply copy and paste this linky HTML code into your blog post where you want the blog hop list to appear. Make sure you are in HTML view/mode when you paste in the code. 
get the InLinkz code

Before using this linky tool, please make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post. (2) Please mention Bake-Along in your post and link back to any of our hosts' Bake-Along post, (Joyce, Lena or Zoe). (3) Appreciate if you can display the Bake-Along badge in your post when linking up with us. Cheers!


  1. Har mein without har? The soup is made from prawn stock also wor.. After drinking the soup, got allergy or not? Nevermind, take Zyrtec, then sure ok liao.. *Note: This is for my case only la, of course if really have allergy, go see a doctor ya, kekekeke*

    Thank god you converted your recipes into grams and also halve the recipe.. When I see 8 large eggs, I was like oh dear, who's gonna eat all that coz my hubs doesn't like cake.. I'm book marking this as well, will follow your remarks in blue.. I love butter cake..

    1. Hi Louiz,

      Of course, I won't drink the prawn soup... It is super deadly for me. I will be ugly and disfigured for a while before zyrtec kick in!!!

      I like butter cake but do worry about the butter on my tummy and thighs :p 1/2 amount is good so that I eat half the amount of fat :p


  2. 偶尔会想念这道充满香气的 butter cake。very good!

  3. Hello hello! Do you know that in Malaysia, some wonton mee doesn't come with wonton but just s few slices of badly dyed "char siew," it's kind of weird, hahaha. Just recently I found out that you are allergic to fresh prawns! By the way, your butter cake has certainly captured my eyes, I love it!

  4. Love marble cake! Vanilla and chocolate pairs with each other wonderfully.

  5. I grow up eating butter cake and especially loves those buttery flavour in it. The more butter in it the more better as I once tasted butter cake that is so dry and makes me so hard to swallow down. Your pic says it all...and I think I can smell the aroma as well too.

  6. Hi Zoe,

    I love butter cake. Probably that's when my parents started to feed with the only type of cake back then. I remembered once I ate until I got hospitalized..haha. No joke. Yet I still love butter cake till today.

  7. Hi Zoe,
    Wow, you have done your homework for Marble Butter Cakes! This cake does sound rich with the amount of butter and eggs. I supposed that these contributes to the tender and fluffiness of the cake. Lovely cake, Zoe!
    I remember too, when buying marble cakes from bakeries, they are light and fluffy, but only those from the bakeries. Over the years, I've sort of divert my preference for denser texture, but equally moist and tender.
    I can see that marble cakes is really special for both of us, brings back fond memories when we enjoyed eating this cake during our childhood days. And we still enjoy eating them now. Glad that Lena has chosen this theme! :)

  8. Seriously buttery cake lol! Got to stop a few weeks before baking another one unless one plans to give some away, which is such a waste no? lol! I used Mrs Ng's recipe to bake mine and it was awesome good too! I am going to pin this for trying in the far future :P

  9. Hi Zoe, nice marbled butter cake and your cake is definitely loaded with butter. Yum! Perfect with a cup of coffee. I, too prefer to separate my eggs whenever I make butter cake, I find that the texture is fine and tender. Your cake reminds me of the rich butter cake from Yut Kee in KL.

  10. I am just drooling at that buttery awesome marble cake... it does not need anything to go with it... wow! we share our allergies for fresh shrimps, I suppose... :)

  11. Lovely cake...Zoe...U have brought a great marbling effect on the cake........So beautifully this vanilla and chocolate combination ..... :)

  12. Yummy cake and this is my favorite too

  13. Is definitely disappointed eating HarMee(we call this in my hometown) without any shrimp right?
    BTW,this butter cake really looks soft & buttery,LOVE it!

  14. hahaha hei mee mai hei... just like me, i order bak chor mee without bak chor.. and people will go "what the... "... so i understand you. that's a very nice textured cake you've got there.... looks so velvety

  15. Love your marble patterns looks so pretty! I'm sure we all love butter cake with or without marble.

  16. Hi Zoe! I used to yuks butter cake but now I love it! It is my dad's favourite cake too and the egg separation method is really worth the trouble.

  17. hi zoe, it's been really long that i hv nvr baked a butter cake..i will need to bookmark this recipe first..yes bookmark again! LOL! i really dont mind the calories since i'm not eating it very often! Cheers buddy!

  18. Hi Zoe, I like to bake mine the lay chay way:))

  19. Your marbled cake looks so lovely!

  20. Hi Zoe, your recipe posts are always so illustrative with step by step photos. At a glance, it tells that it is not difficult to bake a cake. Thanks for the inspiration. I promise I'll try baking as many as possible that are shared here at Bake Along, hehehe!

  21. I'm glad Lena chose this theme too, Zoe. I've been nibbling on everyone's Marble Cake this morning, lol...I didn't know there was a difference in buttery marble cake and not so buttery. I would LOVE a buttery piece please. Your marbling looks so swirly too, lol...Thank you so much for sharing, Zoe...Now I crave a piece of buttery Marble Cake!

  22. Haha one can definitely NOT make marble butter cake without rich fatty butter. The more the better! Since we're already indulging anyway, right. Last two years, hubby bought me marble cake for my birthday - everyone in my family likes it!

  23. Cake looks absolutely stunning, very buttery and delicious..

  24. Hi Zoe, this looks so good, I like the marble effect.

  25. wow......Marble.butter cake looks awesum !! Thanks for following me. I tried to follow you but seems GFC has error, do check if I'm following you or not!


  26. I love marble cake... we call it the best of two worlds :) Looks so delicious !

  27. Funny lah you, Zoe! I was scratching my head while reading the hei mee thingy. Hahaha! Gosh, I've to admit your marble cake looks real yummy. Need 2 mixers?? Nevermind, I shall wait to be served. Sorry for not coming by lately as I've been really busy. Have a lovely weekend, sweetie!

  28. Nothing will ever replace butter! It's sooo good and really makes a cake from standard to amazing. Looks beautifully marbled too!

  29. Like your dad, marble cake is my hubby's favourite with lots of childhood memories. Every time when I ask him what to bake, the answer is marble cake! The one in Australia has 3 colours while the one we grow up with has 2 and much more buttery without any icing. Nice work!

  30. Hi Zoe, just like you, when I order see-ham chao koay tiaw, I'll order without see-ham cos I don't eat Your marble butter cake looks moist and delicious. I didn't know there's this different continents style of marble cake. Maybe because I don't eat marble cake. Reason being when I was small, my sis likes to bake this cake and each time I eat a piece, it gives me a dizzy head. Not sure if it's coincidence or not. Since then, I refuse to eat any more marble cakes.. lol.. maybe I should try it now since it's been many years and i may have 'outgrown' that dizziness... :)

  31. Lovely lovely,perfect cake here.Regarding bake along do you accept archived posts for this marble cake

  32. Butter cake without butter? Definitely NOT!
    Butter cake is my family favourite. Won't miss this for sure! :D

  33. I made the same cake too and the texture is perfect!

  34. I always wanted to try this cake. I have a similar recipe but I like your revised version better. Your photos are great!

  35. Hello,just wanna double confirm wif the number of eggs in the recipe as the original recipe calls for 8 eggs,since u made only half of the recipe but still using 8 eggs?

    By, Agnes

    1. Hi Agnes,

      The original recipe containing 8 eggs can make two 14 cm round cakes. I have used half of the recipe to bake just one. Cheers!


  36. Hi Zoe
    I just baked marble cake follow your recipe and temperature but the outcome is not satisfied. Outside lool good with tiny crack but the inside is a bit wet. Mum said no cake texture. Just want to check is it the temperature too hot?
    Need your help.... thanks!


    1. Hi Ella,

      Have you test your cake with a inserted skewer before removing it from the oven? If the cake is not thoroughly cooked in the oven, its inside will be wet. If the outside of the cake is browning too fast, cover the cake loosely with a foil and bake until the skewer instead come out clean. Hope that this will help.



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