Auntie Loulla (Loulla Astin) is my mother’s sister and the award winning restaurateur of the famous Kosmos Greek Taverna in Manchester. Her career has seen her cook on TV many times, including presenting her own cookery series on SKY and she was even invited to meet The Queen at Buckingham Palace. (She made the monarch laugh and even reminded her Prince Philip is of Greek descent). Only Auntie Lou!!
Here she shares her beloved Marble Cake recipe with you. It’s wonderful all year round but extra special to offer guests over the festive season. Light, fluffy and delicious this cake means so much more to me than a cake: it embodies memories of me making it with my beloved Grandma Annetta and is a family tradition.
Over to Auntie Lou:
This cake is known as Keik Yeorgraphias (Geography Cake). I call it marble cake and it’s the very first cake my mother taught me when I was young. She would use a glass to measure her ingredients and sometimes I still do this.
It’s a popular cake in my house and my three sons know how to make it and I’ve passed it down to my nieces. I am hoping this recipe survives through many generations.
The cake is round with a hole in the middle like a giant doughnut and when it’s sliced, it has a lovely marbled effect. Ideally, you serve this with a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon. Delicious.
200 ml (7 floz) vegetable oil
225g (8oz) caster sugar
4 medium eggs
juice of 1 large orange and the zest
200 ml (7 fl oz) milk
A few drops of vanilla extract
450g (1 lb) plain, fine flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons cocoa powder or 100g (4 oz) 70% plain melted chocolate
2 tablespoons milk-extra
flaked almonds (optional)
For the topping:
Icing sugar for dusting
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375 f/ Gas Mark 5.
Beat together the oil and sugar in a mixing bowl and gradually add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the orange juice, zest, milk and vanilla extract and fold in the sifted flour and baking powder until smooth.
Take one-third of the cake mixture, place it in a small jug and mix in the cocoa powder or melted chocolate with the 2 tablespoons of extra milk.
Pour half the plain cake mixture into a greased and floured 1.2 litre (2 pints) cake ring known in Germany as a ‘Kugelhopt’* and pour the cocoa mixture into the ring. Pour the remaining cake mixture on top and do not worry if the cocoa mixture or chocolate is not completely covered. Tap the cake ring gently to level the surface, sprinkle the almonds (if using) and bake in the pre-heated oven for approximately 50 minutes or until the cake is nicely brown (test with a skewer).
Allow the cake to cool in the tin then place a plate on top of the tin and gently tip it upside down onto another plate. Finally, dust with icing sugar.
* You can buy the cake tin from John Lewis and sometimes in supermarkets or order online.
Photo of Loulla ©Loulla Astin.
Recipe ©Annetta Solomonides.
Cake photos ©Peter Broadbent