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Published September 25, 2013, 10:00 PM

The Great Indoors: German marble cake meant to be savored

There is a saying in Germany, “Wenn schon, denn schon,” It’s essentially the Deutsch equivalent of our “If you’re going to do something, do it right.”

By: Tracy Briggs, INFORUM

There is a saying in Germany, “Wenn schon, denn schon,” It’s essentially the Deutsch equivalent of our “If you’re going to do something, do it right.”

Apparently this applies to baking. I learned this firsthand when I invited German-native and Moorhead resident Monika Fredin to bake with me.

She’s helping make the food for the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County’s “German Culture Day and Rhineland Dinner” Saturday at the Hjemkomst Center.

Fredlin was nice enough to share one of her favorite German recipes, a marble cake, or marmorkuchen.

After making the cake, I could see how Germans have gotten the reputation of never doing anything halfway. With this cake, as with most German baking, there is great attention to detail.

Fredlin says Germans use no artificial ingredients, little to no salt and less sugar than typical baking. Another difference that I found fascinating was the lack of measuring cups used in German baking.

Most authentic German recipes call for measurements in grams, so it’s pretty common for bakers to use scales instead of measuring cups. You’ll see us weighing our ingredients in the online video, but I wanted to make it easy for you, my fellow Americans. I’ve converted the recipe below to our standards of measurements. Therefore, the measurements are more ballpark than precise (how un-German of me!)

The labor-intensive baking creates a chewier cake that Fredlin insists should be savored slowly and not gobbled up. Fredlin recommends a nice cup of coffee with the cake.

Local German wine expert Sam Wai says either a late-harvest wine or an iced wine could also be served between the main course and the marble cake.

Marble Cake (Marmorkuchen)


2½ sticks of unsalted butter

1 cup of sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla sugar

1 pinch salt

5 eggs

1¾ cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

3 tablespoons brandy

4 teaspoons cocoa powder

4 teaspoons sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Thoroughly grease a bundt style pan. Cream room-temperature butter and gradually add the sugar, vanilla sugar and a pinch of salt. Beat it until it is light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, 30 seconds apart.

Mix and sift baking powder and flour into butter mixture very slowly. Gradually add the brandy to moisten. Transfer about one-third of the mixture into the cake pan. Take another third of the mixture and add cocoa powder and 4 teaspoons of sugar. Stir until mixed.

Spread that chocolate mixture over light mixture in pan.

Add final third of mixture to the top of the chocolate mixture. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Watch ‘The Great Indoors’ with Tracy Briggs every Thursday on www.InforumTV.com