I am about to share an heirloom recipe for a mind-blowing cake that is best described in the language of wine connoisseurs. This silky-textured cake has a full-bodied flavour -- not too sweet, yet comforting to the palette. It is a perfect blend of molasses and caramel, with a hint of brown sugar. While appearing complex, the recipe fits into modern lifestyles, because it can be prepared in stages. If you make it once, you will be begged to make it again.
I have made this cake at least 80 times, and when my returning guests see it under one of my glass domes, there is always a gasp of enthusiasm. My husband loves to come in the door and inhale the aroma of this cake baking.
Marguerite Cake was the birthday cake of preference in our home when I was growing up and also in the home of several of my aunts and uncles. What is interesting is that each family has developed a different version of the cake. One family purees the raisins in the filling. Perhaps this was to trick someone who disliked raisins. Some folks fold in fluffy whipped egg whites, but most have decided that it’s fine to add the unbeaten egg whites to the wet ingredients. If you make this, you will thank me for the recipe!
Most Memorable Marguerite Cake
Prepare two 8” round layer cake pans by buttering and lining with wax paper circles. Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cream the following ingredients; beat until smooth.
½ cup of butter
1 cup of brown sugar
3 egg whites
3 tablespoons of cooking molasses
Mix the following ingredients in a small bowl.
1¾ cups of all-purpose flour
1¾ teaspoons of soda
Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating with buttermilk and ending with flour.
¾ of a cup of buttermilk
Scoop the batter evenly into the two prepared pans. For precision, you can weigh the uncooked cakes, although it is not necessary. Bake the cakes for 30 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven. Test for doneness with a toothpick.
Cool completely in pans on wire racks; turn out when cool.
Marguerite Cake Filling
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, mix the following ingredients:
¾ of a cup of raisins
¾ of a cup of milk
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
¾ of a cup of brown sugar
Cook, stirring, constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture thickens. This takes four or five minutes.
Assemble cake by placing one cake upside down on a plate. Spread the filling over the cake and top with the second cake, right side up. Cover the cake until you are ready to ice it with Brown Sugar Seven Minute Frosting.
If you keep the iced cake refrigerated, it can be made a day ahead.
You can also make the cake ahead, freeze it, and fill and ice it at a later date.
For a large crowd, make a layered slab cake. Each recipe for cake batter fills one 9 by 13-inch pan. Make two separate batches, rather than doubling the initial recipe. Don’t forget to double the recipe for the filling. This can be done in one pot. Double or triple the icing recipe. This will easily serve 24 guests.
Marguerite Cake Seven Minute Frosting
I often double this recipe even for the round layer cake.
1 cup of golden brown sugar
1 egg white
2 Tablespoons of water
Pinch of salt
Have ½ a teaspoon vanilla and ¼ teaspoon of baking powder ready to add when the icing is thickened.
Put brown sugar, egg white, water, and salt, into the top of a double boiler over boiling water and beat the mixture with a hand mixer until stiff. It will take almost seven minutes. Once the icing is cooked, remove the pot from heat and add the ½ teaspoon of vanilla and the ¼ teaspoon of baking powder. Stir using the mixer for a few seconds.
Tips: Make sure the boiling water in the base isn’t touching the bottom of the icing pot, as this can lead to a more granular icing.
For Marguerite Cake, I double this recipe, ice the cake, and store leftover icing in an airtight container in the fridge. For a treat, spread it on a muffin or graham wafer. It keeps for a couple of days.
This icing elevates a cake mix to a fancy dessert.
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