Majestic Cake 1.0

A visit to Monarch Cakes motivated the development of this recipe. It is an attempt at replicating the yeasted, chocolate-marbled slab cake which was one of the daily specials on offer. The slab was disappearing quickly while we advanced in the queue, as the bakery staff coolly sliced off neat squares of warm cake onto cardboard trays to hand to eager customers.

Plain batter
180ml milk
150g butter, chopped into roughly 1cm cubes
100g caster sugar
475g cake flour
2 teaspoons dried yeast
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
The evening before you’ll bake the cake, microwave the butter and milk in a large jug for 3 or 4 minutes on medium power, or until the butter starts to melt. Meanwhile, whisk flour, sugar and yeast in a large bowl for 30 seconds. Form a well in the combined, dry ingredients. Stir the warmed milk and butter until there are no lumps of butter remaining, while allowing the mixture to cool slightly. Beat eggs into completely melted butter and milk, then pour into the dry ingredients and mix to make a batter with a soft dropping consistency.
Chocolate batter
60g softened butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend all ingredients thoroughly to make a smooth batter. Whisk in a little milk or extra flour if required so that the consistencies of the two batters are similar.
Line a baking dish (approximately 23x34x6cm) with non-stick paper and dollop the plain batter evenly over the base. Distribute scoops of chocolate batter amongst the mounds of plain dough, then create marbled effect using knife strokes to criss-cross the two batters in alternating directions. Smooth over the top and cover the tray with plastic wrap. Choose a dish with sufficient depth so that as the dough rises, it will not cling to the plastic wrap. Leave the cake to raise at room temperature for an hour or so, then slide into the refrigerator to complete its fermentation overnight.
Next morning, remove the tray from the refrigerator so the cake batter has an opportunity to reach room temperature while preheating your oven to 220ºC. Sprinkle the cake with cinnamon sugar and bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the tin, lower the heat to 200ºC and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the dish, cool on a rack, and slice into squares to serve while still warm.

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