AS a new starter to cake baking I was looking for something quick, easy but with guaranteed results.

What better creation than a marble cake? I followed a recipe from the recent range of Sainsbury's in-house cook books, but with a slight twist. The challenge for me was to make sure the cake was marble in appearance - and not in texture. It didn't disappoint.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Take the basic cake mix. Beat the butter with the sugar, add the eggs one at a time. Them mix in the flour, vanilla and 100ml of milk. At this stage add the zest of one whole orange to complement the rich chocolatey flavours.

Here comes the marble bit. Spoon half the mixture in to another bowl and stir in the cocoa powder and a teaspoon of milk. In a greased tin, spoon alternate dollops of light and dark mixture. Then drag a skewer through the tin a dozen times or so to create a marble effect.

Bake for 30 minutes then cover with foil and bake for 15 more minutes. leave to cool.

Meanwhile, for the ganache heat the syrup, sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a pan, stirring. Bring to the boil, take off the heat. Add the chocolate, stir and leave to melt. Spoon the ganache onto the cake. Voila!

(Ian Marland)


225g unsalted butter, softened

225g caster sugar

4 medium eggs

225g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

100ml of milk

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon golden syrup

60 g caster sugar

100g dark chocolate, broken up