Seven years ago, I made a lasagna, salad and fudge marble cake for my mother’s birthday. Sunday night, I made it again. As Liam gets older, he’s started to ask questions about why I don’t have a Mama. Everyone he knows does and it’s really a very fair question, don’t you think? Although I know how to help a child deal with a death, I’m a little intimidated with my own child.
I’ve been aching over how to have a healthy memory of my mother and tell my children stories about her for the past three years. I knew the day was coming when he looked me in the eye asked why I’m alone. I’m not alone, I want to tell him. I want to remind him about “Paca Mike” and tell him for the 1000th time that’s my daddy. But when you’re only three, Mama is your world and the concept of being without one is just beyond you.
This year, instead of spending the week of my mother’s birthday immersed in misery, I decided to celebrate her. If not for my parents, I wouldn’t be alive to have the opportunity to be who I am now. If not for my mother, I wouldn’t have the skills I do to run a house confidently. And if not for my mother, I don’t know that I would love being a mother as much as I do. My mother always made a huge deal out of birthdays, so it seemed fitting to celebrate a life instead of mourn a death.
The first cake I ever baked my husband was a marble cake. I used boxed mix and because I wanted to make it a double layer cake, I bought 2 mixes, made them separately and poured them into 2 cake pans to bake. Did you figure out my mistake yet? For those of you who don’t read directions before you do something, 1 box of cake mix = 2 layers of cake. Incidentally, 4 layers of cake do not fit into 2 cake pans. There was a fire. And then I panicked a made another cake. It also was a disaster. Mom asked me to make her a marble cake for that last birthday and I also made it from a boxed mix. That cake was gorgeous, perfectly swirled and 100% gluten free.
This cake, however, is loaded with gluten and not from a box. This is a recipe from the Joy of Cooking, but I do not use melted chocolate as it is written. I prefer to use about half a cup of cocoa powder. This makes the chocolate portion set more solidly on the white batter and makes a cleaner swirl. I iced my cake with a cream cheese icing and mixed in a handful of melted chocolate chips so it had a little bit of a fudge-like flavor, too.
Chocolate Marble Cake
- 3 1/2 c. all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 c. whole milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 sticks softened butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. dark cocoa powder