Marble Cake for an Anniversary under Quarantine


for the cake:

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 cup olive oil (or canola or vegetable)
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cocoa

for the icing (optional)
4 oz brick cream cheese, at room temperature
1 oz butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar


Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour an 8×8 inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients, whisk until the batter is smooth. Scoop out 2/3 cup batter. Place in a small bowl. Whisk in the cocoa.

Pour the vanilla batter into prepared pan. Scoop spoonfuls of the chocolate batter on top in a polka dot pattern and swirl with the tip of a knife.

Bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle of the pan comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes then turn out on a wire rack and cool completely.

If icing:

Mix together the icing ingredients until smooth. Spread on cooled cake. Decorate as desired.

Alternatively, sprinkle with confectioners sugar, glaze or make a simple buttercream using all butter instead of cream cheese.

My thoughts:

We are spending our 15th wedding anniversary at home on our 13th day of self-quarantine for the coronavirus/COVID-19. We got married at a courthouse in front of no witnesses so I guess it is sort of fitting to celebrate alone together! We had plans to go out for a seafood dinner but as Maryland has closed all restaurants and businesses and we have already been avoiding contact for the past two weeks (we haven’t been anywhere but our own house in 13 days) we don’t really have any choice but to be at home.

I’ve already made one cake from pantry ingredients last week that was very good so I was inspired to make another. I’m trying to ration out our butter and eggs so making a “wacky” or “crazy” cake that doesn’t use dairy or eggs and minimal other ingredients made sense. I had cream cheese leftover from making a cake for my parents’ anniversary last month so I iced it but it would be great with just powdered sugar or a simple glaze.

I had made “wacky” cake a few times before last week, it’s an old fashioned concept from days of rationing and Depression that’s incidentally vegan and we seem to know more than our share of vegans but I had always made a chocolate version like the one I posted last week. I wasn’t sure how it would be in a vanilla cake. To make it a little more festive, I made it a marble cake. I’m super pleased with how it came out. It’s very moist with a light crumb yet very flavorful. It’s simple to make and am 8×8 square cake is perfect for small gatherings.

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