Victorian America’s Marble Cakes

Victorian America’s Marble Cakes

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Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Marble Cakes. Photo: Old-Fashioned Marble Bundt Cake, courtesy of Food Network.

Old-Fashioned Marble Bundt Cake, courtesy of Food Network.

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Mmmmm! Doesn’t the Food Network pic of Marble Cake look delish? When’s the last time you tasted this old-fashioned treat?

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Marble Cake’s Beginnings

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German immigrants are credited with bringing Marmorkuchen–marble cake–to the United States. Examples of marble cakes appear in the 1850s in cook books, newspapers, and magazines. Bakers of marble cake won premiums at state fairs. Here’s an example from the Midwest circa 1859.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Marble Cakes. Miss Jones's Marble Cake wins 1st Premium at Macon County Fair. Illinois State Chronicle of Decatur, Illinois on, September 29, 1859.

Miss Jones’s Marble Cake wins 1st Premium at Macon County Fair. Illinois State Chronicle of Decatur, Illinois on September 29, 1859.

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Two Cake Recipes Marbled Together

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That’s the secret to marble cake. Swirl two different cake batters together in a baking tin.

Originally, marble cake was made with a white or yellow cake paired with a spice cake made darker with molasses. Late nineteenth-century bakers also made marble cake with chocolate instead of spice cake.

Here are several nineteenth-century recipes in order of publication date.

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Marble Cake Feature - Preppy Kitchen

Marble Cake Feature – Preppy Kitchen

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Spice Cake Marbled with Yellow

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Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Marble Cake. 1865 recipe calls for a Bethel Cake and a Clove Cake spooned alternately into a tin. Published in New England Farmer of Boston, Massachusetts on October 14, 1865.

1865 recipe calls for a Bethel Cake and a Clove Cake spooned alternately into a tin. Published in New England Farmer of Boston, Massachusetts on October 14, 1865.

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Chocolate Cake Marbled with Yellow

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Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Marble Cakes. Chocolate Marble Cake recipe published in Our Home Favorite Cook Book, 1882.

Chocolate Marble Cake recipe published in Our Home Favorite Cook Book, 1882.

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Many More Vintage Marble Cake Recipes

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Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Marble Cakes. Marbled Cake Recipe with alternates for pink-tinted (cochineal) cake, and a simple chocolate icing recipe. Published in Common Sense in the Household, 1884.

Recipe for Marbled Cake with alternates for pink-tinted (cochineal) cake, and a simple chocolate icing recipe. Published in Common Sense in the Household, 1884.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Marble Cakes. Marble Cake recipe: spice cake with light companion batter. Baked in a mould. Published in Common Sense in the Household, 1884.

A Marble Cake recipe: spice cake with light companion batter. Baked in a mould. Published in Common Sense in the Household, 1884.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Marble Cakes. Three Marble Cake recipes published in Woman Suffrage Cook Book, 2nd Edition, 1886. Two spice options, one chocolate option.

Three Marble Cake recipes published in Woman Suffrage Cook Book, 2nd Edition, 1886. Two spice options, one chocolate option.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Marble Cakes. Two Marble Cake Recipes published in Improvement Society of the Second Reformed Church of New Brunswick, New Jersey, Cook Book, 1890. One chocolate example and one spice. Note the use of brown sugar, sour cream, cream (of) tartar, and baking soda.

Two Marble Cake Recipes published in Improvement Society of the Second Reformed Church Cook Book of New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1890. One chocolate example and one spice. Note the use of brown sugar, sour cream, cream (of) tartar, and baking soda.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Marble Cakes. Chocolate Marble Cake recipe from Three Hundred Tested Recipes, 2nd Edition, published 1895.

Chocolate Marble Cake recipe from Three Hundred Tested Recipes, 2nd Edition, published 1895.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Marble Cakes. Marble Cake recipe (spice) published in Three Hundred Tested Recipes, 2nd Edition, 1895.

Spice Marble Cake recipe published in Three Hundred Tested Recipes, 2nd Edition, 1895.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Marble Cakes. Harrisburg Daily Independent of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, January 4, 1899: Marble Cake Recipe containing both spice and chocolate. Note the detailed instructions to increase the heat during the course of baking.

Harrisburg Daily Independent of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, January 4, 1899: Marble Cake Recipe containing both spice and chocolate. Note the detailed instructions to increase the heat during the course of baking.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Marble Cakes. Three Marble Cake receipts from Kentucky Receipt Book, 1903. Notice the creative ingredients: black pepper, lemon, sour milk. And baking powder!

Three Marble Cake receipts from Kentucky Receipt Book, 1903. Notice the creative ingredients: black pepper, lemon, sour milk. And baking powder!

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Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Marble Cakes. Recipe from West Bend Cook Book, 1908.

Recipe from West Bend Cook Book, 1908.

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Invitation

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Do you have a vintage recipe for Marble Cake? Or fond memories of grandma’s marble cake?

Please scroll down and comment.

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Victorian America’s Marble Cakes  Victorian America’s Marble Cakes