Thursday, November 19, 2009

CHOCOLATE LEMON MASCARPONE MARBLE POUND CAKE

WRITE YOUR OWN WORLD


What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with the incompatibility.
- George Levinger

Man and woman intertwined in a loving embrace, a perfect marriage. Different yet alike, black and white, night and day, what makes us work so well together?


Different backgrounds, different cultures, different religions, different upbringings. Brought together by the search for a different world, finally forming another, a unique culture all our own. Diverging and converging, separate and together, a delicate balance, a carefully choreographed dance, weaving in and out – or an organized accident, a lucky fluke like a perfectly synchronized Jackson Pollack splatter, a De Kooning woman, both ugly and gorgeous at once.

Intertwined like marble: contrasting colors, separate but intermingling, each holding its own yet creating an intriguing, unusual combination and balance. Opposites attract, yet each searching for, and discovering, the similarities, the passion for books and art, for food and cooking, the desire to both seek out and solve the mysteries of the world. I was different than the others, quiet and thoughtful with always a book in my hand, passionate and a dreamer; he was silent, observing, both scientific and literary, equal parts pragmatic and adventurer. Curious, we were drawn together afraid of the mystery that was the other. Scarcely alike yet somehow, an exchanged glance, shared laughter, a common interest or two and it was all that we needed to know.


Welcome to our world: a world of cartoon characters with a silly black & white dog, starring in our own sitcom, our own comic strip. We spend our days guffawing over the silliest of things, inside jokes about famous people, our mocking tone misunderstood by many, our behavior looked at in awe and wonder by those who expect such as us to behave in a more dignified manner. Silly us or silly them? Walking hand in hand through the streets of Nantes chuckling, nodding in the direction of this one or that, look-alike or silly walk, odd clothing or odder behavior and guessing at who they could possibly be, the secret life they live. And wondering if others look at us and laugh as well. Nights shared cuddled up together, reading history books aloud to each other or news stories of interest, duking it out on the battleground of politics. Giggling over the gossip column or filling in the squares of the crossword puzzles: he knows the names and dates and places, she knows the contemporary trivia. Curled up on the sofa watching mediocre American series, dubbed into the silliest French, or documentaries, dreaming of other places we could be, other lives we could live. Huddled under the covers sharing our worries and concerns or playing out the future.


We scamper around the vineyard or through the forest, the black & white one trotting at our feet, occasionally dashing off into the underbrush to unearth a mushroomly treasure or sidling up to nibble at the grapes dangling just above his head, very un-doglike. These outings give us the chance to dream, to think beyond the barriers of “this is your life” and slide into “what our life should be”. Where would we go next, what should we do? Travel the world, taking pictures and writing books? Live in some Third World Country, build a house, cultivate a small patch of land and create a safe space with food and medical advice for the locals? Move to an island somewhere in the warm sun of the south or the windy wilds of the north and be self-sufficient, an island unto ourselves? Or move to Italy and grow fruits and vegetables or wander from one archeological dig to another, living the dream?


We are a mixture of the tartly sweet, cool and fragrant and the dark and rich, intensely flavored, spicy and exotic: like the perfect marble cake, blended into one beautiful, dense delicacy, separate yet impossible to separate. He pulls me up onto my feet and keeps my head on straight, looking forward, pensive, exacting. I turn his head when necessary, wrestling him back down into the silly cartoon world that is life, triggering the inane laughter, the daring to dream. Books piled up around him, he keeps me grounded in history and art, literature and solid goals, things I have a tendency to abandon in favor of food and fun. I incite him to keep cooking, gloriously, make him look at life in a less serious way, put those vermin that swirl around him every day in the rat race back in their place, standing around looking absurd in their underwear.

Occasionally we clash, voices raised, accusations flung, the frustration of living this mock life, cartoon characters trying to pass for Realism and the anger flares. But once the dust settles, we look around us and face who we are, two people caught in a Twilight Zone, a world not our own, waiting for the moment that we can burst forth, rise like the perfect cake, a mish-mash of single ingredients blended together, the perfect marble swirl, light and dark, tart and bittersweet intertwined, gathering all the intensity of our flavors and create a unique, delightful concoction of our own.


It is the things in common that make relationships enjoyable, but it is the little differences that make them interesting.
- Todd Ruthman

CHOCOLATE LEMON MASCARPONE MARBLE POUND CAKE
Influenced by a classic recipe found in Heirloom Baking With the Brass Sisters

3 Tbs lemon juice
2 tsps finely grated lemon zest
1 oz (30 g) bitter or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
3 cups (425 g) flour
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups (24 Tbs, 340 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
8 oz container (230 g) mascarpone cheese
1 cup (160 g) packed light brown sugar
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6 eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line two 9 x 5 x 3-inch (23 x 12 x 8-cm) loaf pans with parchment paper, using one long strip that covers the bottom as well as the two end sides, allowing overhang on either end to help remove the cake from the pans.

Melt the chocolate (I do this in the microwave, partially melting then stirring with a spoon to finish the melting and start the cooling down process). Set aside. Combine the lemon juice with the grated zest in another small bowl and set aside. Sift or stir together the flour and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, mascarpone, the brown and white sugars and the vanilla until combined, smooth and creamy. Add the eggs in thirds, beating after each addition until combined.


Add the flour and salt to the batter and beat briefly just until combined.


Transfer a quarter (I weighed to be exact as I have the tendency to transfer much more than called for) of the batter to another bowl and stir in the melted chocolate thoroughly. Stir the lemon juice and zest into the ¾ of the batter left in the original mixing bowl and blend thoroughly.


Divide half of the lemon batter between the two loaf pans. Then divide all of the chocolate batter between the two loaf pans, spooning it on top of the lemon batter already there. Divide the remaining lemon batter between the two loaf pans carefully smoothing the batter on top and around the chocolate batter, trying not to blend the two batters together.


Now take a very sharp knife and, holding the knife perpendicular to the table, gently swirl it through the batter to create a swirl (I could have done it more).


Bake the pound cakes in the preheated oven for about 1 hour 10 minutes – I have to say that this was enough for the loaf I baked in my classic loaf pan, but the cake I baked in the aluminum disposal pan took much longer to bake, so check on your cakes often.

Remove from the oven when set in the center – a tester should come out pretty clean –and allow to cool on wire racks for about 10 minutes before gently loosening and turning out of the loaf pans. Once the cakes are removed from the loaf pans, allow to cool completely before slicing.


Results:
These cakes have no rising agent in the batter so are dense and moist. The lemon flavor is intense and tangy – amazing! and the chocolate flavor beautifully chocolatey! This is a wonderful cake for breakfast – JP loved it – but gorgeous for an afternoon snack with a cup of tea or a mug of coffee.

41 comments:

Deeba PAB said...

Do I see mascarpone in a tub? NOOOOOOOOOOO Jamie! I get a sneaky feeling we might be clones married to clones...just the lack of Marty in our lives!! Love the opening quote, much like us, & the closing one too. Yummy cake...all my fave flavours, u amazing girl!

sunita said...

I agree! It is indeed the differences that make a relationship all the more interesting. Dinesh and myself are different in so many ways, and yet, at the same time,we seem to possess so many similarities too;I guess, we just express them in our own unique ways. Beautiful post, jamie and an equally beautiful cake to go along with it :-)

heidi leon said...

oh honey, how I wish you were my neighbor to visit you on the afternoons and have some tea with this particular cake.

I have never make this cake with mascarpone, and although is quite expensive here, I'm willing to try your recipe.

oh, and Vive la difference ma cherie!.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

The shape of that chocolate looks like a smile! Lovely post. And you are a fellow fan of Gary Larson I see!

Barbara Bakes said...

I've been planning on making a lemon cake for a bridal shower next week. This sounds perfect! Still holding out on the homemade mascarpone I see!

Jamie said...

@Deeba PAB and @BarbaraBakes OH! You ladies are really pushing me in the mascarpone corner! I see that I am going to have to give in and make my own. Oy vey! Ok, ok!

Asha @ FSK said...

Lovely..lovely lovely! and agree, differences are what make relationships work and fun :) what's the joy in yess-ing about on everything.. :))

tspegar said...

your posts are among my favorites to read. i love them! this cake looks so delicious.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those sayings are so true and your cake is a perfect reflection of what couples are (yin yang). Delicious!

Cheers,

Rosa

bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) said...

LOL! That picture with the comments so reminds me of mine and chris's thinking patterns! As for the cake, I need me some right now! So delicious!

Anonymous said...

This is, without a doubt, my most favorite posting of yours Jamie. The only words I have are the ones you wrote that touch my soul. Your Kitchen Jezebel. xo

Cathy said...

Love the chocolate and lemon flavor combination. My favorite kind of cake with a fresh cup of coffee.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Beautifully done!
p.s. love far side comics. the superman one was hilarious :)

Jenn said...

Ah pound cake where have you these past several years. I could use a couple slices of these right now.

PS. the superman comic is too funny.

Colloquial Cook said...

A good marbré has chocolate lovehearts in the middle, just like yours :-)Bingo!

glamah16 said...

My Cs and I couldnt be more diffrent and yet so alike after these few years. A good combo like this Chocolate and Lemon.

Chow and Chatter said...

great cake and post on marriage love it

diva said...

beautifully written Jamie and lovely pictures. i'm liking that quote. incompatibility! strange how sometimes the answer is really in opening your mind, is seeing things from the opposite perspective ;) x

Mowie @ Mowielicious said...

Oh how divine Jamie, and what a lovely post to read... I think things like that about B & I too, so funny!

5 Star Foodie said...

The combination of lemon and chocolate sounds divine! A gorgeous cake!

Hilda said...

That looks awesome. I wish I could have a piece with some tea and you're quite right about those differences Jamie, live and love them. But be really careful about posting Far Side cartoons (I'm assuming you scanned them?) because Gary Larson's lawyers scour the internet to keep them off and they do not have the tiniest bit of a sense of humor about it, no lie.

Elra said...

Beautiful loaf. Love the combination of lemon and chocolate.

Sippity Sup said...

LEMON CHOCOLATE MARBLE POUND CAKE!! That is way better than a "box of chocolates"! GREG

Yael said...

What a delicious looking cake- so tempting! One of the most beautiful commentaries on relationships I have ever read!

Mary said...

I love the combination of chocolate and lemon that you've used in this cake. I always love to read your thoughts of the day. I hope we sometime have a chance to meet.

TKW said...

Okay, that cartoon is simply hilarious! You know, I really like vanilla...

Thanks for the laugh this morning!

lisaiscooking said...

Two delicious flavors together, and the mascarpone must give it a lovely richness. Beautiful pound cake!

Saveurs et Gourmandises said...

Je découvre aujourd'hui et par hasard ton blog. Il me plait beaucoup.
J'y reviendrai. A bientôt.

Junglefrog said...

Ah... Jamie, you are so fabulously good with words and you manage to capture the human emotions so wonderfully well! Love your little story about relations! And you are so right in that the differences make a relationship interesting (and at times slightly frustrating too..lol)
And that cake.... just too good!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Can't stop laughing, Omgosh Jamie this is a great post lol!!

Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ said...

What a deliciously rich and moist cake! Lemon and chocolate are not flavors that I would normally combine together but I can see that they work. Such a cute post! Loved the comics.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

What a fabulous looking loaf! So soft and moist, I love the generous dollop of chocolate in all that lemony goodness.

buffalodick said...

Different is fun! The longer you are together, the less different you become...

Sarah said...

Beautiful, I love the combonation of chocolate and lemon!!! As for relationships and marriage, it's definately the differences that make life interesting.

Aparna said...

Love the cake of course, it has chocolate in it! :)
Really love the way you write. Its time you got published, J!

Half Baked said...

Nice post:) I often wonder what brought my husband and I together...the love of food played a large part...lol
I LOVE this cake. it looks so moist and has a chocolate center..yummmmm:)

Sharon said...

Just happened onto your blog, great inspiration! You and your readers, I think, would be interested in my just released little book, "A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage." Take a look on amazon or borders and stop by at www.ashortguidetoahappymarriage.com

Keep up your inspiring writing!

Nina said...

This cake looks amazingly delish. Love, love, love lemon and chocolate! Terrific post.

Katy ~ said...

Look at that beautiful crumb! And I imagine the flavor is just divine. Love marble cake. This sounds fabulous!

Karine said...

Your cake sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

asiangrrl said...

Jamie, you have an amazing ability to pair up a marvelous anecdote with the perfect recipe. I love the vignettes you wrote about your relationship with your hubby equally as much as I love this tempting little bit of lemon and chocolate.

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