Flipping through the glossy pages of Irvin Lin’s baking book, Marbled, Swirled, and Layered: 150 Recipes and Variations for Artful Bars, Cookies, Pies, Cakes, and More, puts those famous images of Wonka’s spectacular chocolate factory to shame. And as the creator of the blog Eat the Love, Irvin has many reasons to be chuffed at the success of his baking book, including the fact The New York Times recently included it on their list of the Year’s Best Baking Cookbooks — excellent work, Irvin.
From whimsically imaginative treats like hazelnut cocoa linzer cookies with blackberry-mint jam, to vanilla and peach-bourbon ice cream pie with honey-cornflake crust, each page is a dessert lover’s delight.
Just make sure you’re armed with a sleeve of cookies or something when you settle down with a copy, because it’ll definitely cue the sugar cravings.
With my birthday coming up next week, I knew a cake should be in the making and this Classic Vanilla and Chocolate Marbled Bundt Cake immediately spoke to me. And there’s no reason to wait for someone else to bake one for me when I have a book like Irvin’s to guide me along the cake-baking way.
Irvin began baking at age nine. While he did take summer cooking classes as a kid, and has taken the other occasional class here and there, he’s mostly self-trained, and he attributes his love of baking largely to his innate curiosity.
“I’m extremely curious about the science of cooking and baking. Not only do I want to know WHAT happens when I add certain ingredients, I want to know WHY it happens too. So that means not only am I tinkering with my ingredients, but I’m also reading books voraciously about the subject.”
Irvin explains, “This cookbook allows me to dive deep in a subject I love, which is creating really intense fun bold flavor combinations in baked goods and desserts. Too often people think you can combine flavors by just throwing them all into one batter, but when you do that, you muddy the flavors. If you separate them out into different batters or doughs and then combine them, you get intense flavors that complement each other.”
Irvin is inspired by a slew of acclaimed pastry chefs — Alice Medrich, Dan Lepard, Dorie Greenspan, Emily Luchetti, Stella Parks, Sherry Yard, David Leibovitz — but he also finds inspiration outside the realm of food. “I’ll be walking down the street and see a poster for a theater or dance show and the colors will invoke specific ingredients or create a mood that makes me want to create something in the kitchen. I’m constantly surprised at how my mind works, how it connects the dots subliminally.”
Well Irvin, you inspire us, and our sweet tooth (which incidentally is significantly sweeter now)…
And now, my List of 10 Q’s for Irvin’s A’s
1. Describe your recipes in 3 words:
Inspirational, Joyful, Personal.
2. If you could be one blogger other than yourself, who would you be?
I’m pretty happy being myself! But I do adore David Lebovitz. Not only does he know his way around the kitchen and makes absolutely solid fool-proof recipes but he can tell a great story.
3. Which 3 blogs do you follow/are obsessed with/can’t live a day without?
4. What is the one kitchen tool you could never give up?
My KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It was life changing for me when I got it and I can’t imagine my life without it.
5. What dish are you obsessed with mastering that you just can’t get quite right?
It’s not specifically a dish, but I’m not very good at using a piping bag and making little roses or other decorations with frosting. I try my darndest to avoid it. I think that may be why I created my cookbook – to create a bunch of beautiful recipes from marbling and swirling the batters together without having to heavily rely on decorations!
6. What did you have for dinner last night?
Chili with all the fixings and corn bread. We used to host chili parties (because the chili recipe I have is impossible to make in small batches) but I haven’t made it in AGES. I finally decided to make just for my partner and I. We’re on a fourth meal of it, and I think we might have one more meal left.
7. What’s one secret talent outside of the kitchen nobody knows about you?
I have an undergraduate degree in painting and I used to do drawings of old discarded stuffed animals. It was very early 90s. I don’t really paint or draw anymore (other than the occasional doodle) but I do try to find a creative outlet for myself outside the kitchen and baking. Right now I’m taking a ceramic class and I’m becoming a bit obsessed with it.
8. You’re happiest when cooking/eating:
My mom’s Taiwanese Ro Geng Soup. It’s a weird oddball Taiwanese soup that no one really knows about. I actually don’t know how to make it! I keep on meaning to ask my mom for the recipe but she’s the sort of cook that doesn’t really use recipes, she just throws all the ingredients together to taste. I need to go over there and watch her make it and take notes. One of these days I’ll do that. Until then, I’ll just enjoy it when she makes it. It tastes like my childhood.
9. The one secret to your success is?
My partner AJ. He has supported me through thick and thin and through some very dark times. I don’t think I would have been able to quit my day job without him and he kept me sane while I was writing my cookbook!
10. What do you love most about baking?
For me baking is pure pleasure. I cook because I have to survive and eat. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook, but there are times when I am making food strictly because I am hungry and need to eat. But baking and desserts are always optional (though I guess some folks would argue with me about that!). I bake because I want to bake, not because I need to bake.
The reality is most folks rarely bake just for themselves. Usually they are baking for family, friends or loved ones. By design, baking is meant to be shared and because I love to share my food, the idea of baking as pure pleasure and sharing is what makes me love it so much.
While we literally want to make and devour every single confection in this book, we’re pretty smitten with his rosemary caramel and dark chocolate potato chip tart and this delicious bundt. Let’s get to the recipe!
Classic Vanilla and Chocolate Marbled Bundt Cake from Eat the Love
The theme of Irvin’s book is recipes that are swirled, marbled and layered. Irvin’s personal favorites from the book include a smoky butterscotch and vanilla cake which features Lapsang Souchong tea in the batter, and a malted chocolate chip and reverse chip cookie, which he describes as a criss-cross cookie with malted cookie dough and chocolate cookie dough.
Once I set eyes on this delicious looking bundt cake, I knew it was the one for me. Bundts are the average bakers secret weapon in the kitchen because as long as you prepare the pan well, they’re very forgiving when it comes to baking.
I use a non-stick bundt pan for ultimate ease. I’m thinking this bundt pan might be one to consider since it has a it’s own cake keeper lid to keep the cake fresh.
This cake has all the classic flavors of a chocolate chip cookie, but baked into a pan.
This is Irvin’s mother’s recipe. He explains the secret to this cake is the homemade chocolate syrup mixed into the cake batter to create a rich, chocolately swirl thanks to the addition of coffee and cocoa powder. But let’s not neglect crediting the addition of semi-sweet chocolate cakes for yet another layer of chocoholic flavor.
The rich bites are every chocolate lovers dream. Yep. That would be me.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
- To Grease the Pan
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons flour
- For the Chocolate Syrup
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
- ½ cup freshly brewed strong hot coffee
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Cake Batter
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (2 sticks)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 34 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- For the Vanilla Bean Glaze
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 2 to 2½ cups powdered sugar
- To prepare the pan, preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the butter in a 12-cup Bundt pan and grease the pan with your fingers, making sure to grease all the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle the flour all over the pan and knock out the excess.
- To make the chocolate syrup, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, coffee, and honey in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup starts to boil. Bring to a simmer, whisking to make sure there are no lumps. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- To make the cake batter, place the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until the butter looks light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until completely incorporated and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until the dry ingredients are absorbed.
- Add the flour in three additions and the buttermilk in two, alternating between the flour and buttermilk and ending with the flour. Beat until incorporated and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Spoon one-third of the batter into a medium bowl and add the chocolate syrup. Stir to incorporate completely and set aside. Spoon half of the remaining vanilla batter into the prepared bundt pan. Scrape the chocolate batter on top. Spread the remaining vanilla batter on top of the chocolate batter. Insert a butter knife or a chopstick into the batter and make "figure eight" motions throughout the entire cake to marble the batter. You may want to sometimes dig deep to the bottom and sometimes lift up to make sure the batter really moves around. Just don't over-mix the batters, or else they will blend together instead of marbling.
- Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes and then invert onto a serving plate while still warm. If the cake doesn't un-mold, gently slip a very thin knife between the cake and the pan all the way around to loosen it and then try again.
- For the Vanilla Bean Glaze, slice the vanilla bean lengthwise, if using, and scrape the seeds into the milk in a large bowl. Chop the ben in half and toss the pod in with the milk as well. Let steep in the refrigerator as the cake cools. Once the cake has cooled completely (after about 2 hours), remove the vanilla bean from the milk and sift 2 cups powdered sugar into the milk. (If using the vanilla extract, add it to the milk right before sifting the powdered sugar; no no need to steep.) The glaze should be thin enough to pour, but thick enough to hold its shape on the cake, similar to honey in consistency. IF the glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired thickness.
- Drizzle the glaze on top of the cake, making sure the glaze drips down the sides of the cake. If decorating with pearls, shavings or sprinkles, sprinkle them randomly on the cake before it dries.
Visit Irvin and his blog at Eat the Love.
Purchase Marbled, Swirled, and Layered: 150 Recipes and Variations for Artful Bars, Cookies, Pies, Cakes, and More here.
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