Ok so first off.. I’m so sorry I haven’t posted in so long. It’s been a crazy few weeks and I’m still playing catch up. The thing is… I started a new job 🙂 It’s kind of a big deal actually. It’s the first time I’ve been leaving my daughter for extended periods of time, the first time I’ve been back at work after nearly a year and a half, and the first time in a long time where I’m actually reading / studying / feeling the need to prove my skills (daily) in quite some time.
Now as some of you know, I’m a DBA. That’s a Database Administrator. I work with a platform called SQL Server… Ok I can seriously HEAR you dozing off. I work with computers ok? Anyways, being in IT has been pretty good to me so far. I normally used to work a solid 9ish hour day except for the odd weekend / weeknight maintenance or code release window. This new place has me churning out 10-11 hour days regularly! Add a two hour commute daily and that leaves me with barely two hours to see my daughter, much less bake.
But I miss baking. I missed hearing the whirling sound of my mixer. The feel of scooping out flour. The smell of butter and sugar being creamed together. The give and push back on a perfectly baked vanilla cake. Of just letting myself concentrate on a recipe, and then enjoying the delicious results. Or learning from catastrophic mistakes. I thought just having a kid was hard, but being a working mom is a whole other ballgame. It’s so easy to just fall into a routine of getting up, getting ready, commuting, working, commuting again, feeding my daughter dinner, bathing her, eating dinner myself while my husband puts her down for the night, hanging out (ie discussing bills and other house stuff) with my husband and passing out myself.
Where’s the time for me? How do I find time in a day… heck a WEEK… where I can define myself based on just me and not as an extension of a another person or a job? It’s not that I don’t enjoy my job… I do… I honestly love it. And it’s not that I don’t love being a mom. It’s that I don’t want to wake up one day a few months or years down the line and realize that I spent all my time being a someone to everyone else that I forgot to be a someone for me. It’s hard to keep up this blog right now… but I’m going to stick with it… because it means something to me… and it’s one of the ways I define myself.
So there you are. No fancy reason for choosing this recipe out of the dozens I have saved. No homesickness, no birthday, no specific craving, no dire need to use up over a dozen eggs before they expire… just a little bit of comfort in the actual act of baking and then enjoying the results of this marble loaf. I love that it’s just barely sweet. That the vanilla is complemented so well with the dark chocolate. And that there’s no bells and whistles in a glaze or a frosting. No matter how you slice it… you always know what you’re in for. Just like I wish my was.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour*
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature (original recipe called for buttermilk but I didn't have any so I used whole milk)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla. Add add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined. Add milk and mix until combined. Add the rest of the flour and mix until just combined. Set aside 1/3 of the batter.
- In a bowl, mix cocoa and boiling water with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the cocoa mixture to the reserved cake batter; stir until well combined.
- Spoon batters into the prepared pan in 2 layers, alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate to simulate a checkerboard. To create marbling, run a table knife (or wooden skewer) through the batters in a swirling motion.
- Bake, until a cake tester comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cake from pan and cool completely on the rack. Cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.