Recipe: Primary Colour Marble Cake

The local garden shop has mutated into a local garden shop that also sells really interesting obscure organic ingredients.  Excellent.  One of their interesting obscure ingredients was strawberry powder, which is freeze-dried strawberries ground into a powder.  It’s lovely – very sharp and strawberryish and not at all cloying.  But what to do with it?  Macarons or meringues seem like the obvious options, but I am feeling far too lazy for either of those options just now.  On the other hand, the shop also had blueberry powder, and the idea of a primary coloured marble cake flavoured with blueberry, strawberry, and lemon, was impossible to resist.

The base recipe is standard Margaret Fulton.  The weird fruit powders are all mine… (mine, all mine… my precioussss…)

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125g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 cups of self-raising flour
3/4 cup of milk
zest of one lemon
3 tsp strawberry powder
3 tsp blueberry powder
food colouring in red, yellow and blue (optional but fun)

Now what will you do with it?

Heat the oven to 180°C and line the bottom of a greased 20cm round tin.

Cream the butter and the sugar, and add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.  Add the flour in several batches, alternating with the milk, and mix to a soft batter.

Divide between three bowls.  Bowl one gets the lemon zest and yellow colouring mixed into it, bowl two the strawberry powder and red colouring, bowl three the blueberry powder and blue.  Incidentally, blueberry powder contains our friends the anthocyanins, so you probably should use food colouring for this or it will go greyish.

Drop alternating spoonfuls of the different batters into the tin. When all the mixture is in the tin, run a knife back and forth through the batter to marble the colours.

Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, or until it passes the skewer test.  Turn onto a rack to cool.  Eat with delight!


This works just fine with soy milk and nuttelex if you want it to be dairy free.  I’ve made it egg free (but not dairy free) by adding an extra 1/4 cup of milk and 1/2 tsp of baking powder.  I’m not sure about veganising it completely; I’d start with a plain vanilla cake from the Veganomicon and go from there with the marbling.  To make it gluten free, use 2 cups of your preferred gluten free flour and 1 tablespoon (20 ml) of baking powder.

In terms of flavours, you can do anything.  Classics are adding vanilla to the whole of the batter, then a little cocoa and boiling water to one section and pink food colouring (ideally alongside some smooshed up raspberries) to another, for a pink, white and brown cake.  Chocolate, mint (use peppermint essence) and vanilla also work, as do chocolate, orange and vanilla (use orange rind). An orange, lime and lemon marble cake would be lovely, as would lemon, lime and pineapple, if you could get pineapple powder.

I don’t think strawberry or blueberry would work that well pureed in (you’d need a lot of puree to get the flavour), but if you have fruit powders you really could do any flavours that you liked the sound of.

Oh, and all of these work quite well as little cupcakes in muffin tins – bake them for 20-30 minutes.

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10 responses to “Recipe: Primary Colour Marble Cake

  1. This reminds me of a rainbow cake recipe that divides the batter into red, yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple bowls. You add each in a layer in a pan and then bake for rainbows you can EAT. Now ,all you need is edible glitter and half a Ken doll.

    • I’ve seen pictures of such a cake (which *definitely* requires a Ken doll to achieve sartorial perfection). So far, I’ve tried to avoid going that route, not least because I’d feel morally obliged to flavour each colour differently, and that way lies madness…

  2. what a great idea. hope it tasted as good as it looks!

    • It was a little more subtle than I was aiming for (I never aim for subtle), but good. I think I’ll use a little more fruit powder next time – in fact, I adjusted the amounts in the recipe upward on this post after tasting the cake.

  3. Wow, what a great idea. It looks beautiful. You could add a little fresh fruit?

    • I could! In fact, I normally do (the smooshed raspberry, vanilla and chocolate variety is my most common marble cake). Actually, this cake works very well as a dessert with fruit and icecream, too.

  4. must get down and check out the range – the strawberry powder sounds very interesting – and your cake looks gorgeous

    • It’s lovely! The organics generally are on the pricey side, but they are also on the difficult to find side (I can finally get tinned black beans locally, though, which is a win).

      I did find the flavours faded faster than normal in the cake, which was a pity. Then again, it’s the sort of cake you’re supposed to eat within 2-3 days anyway…

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