Marble Cake for a Crowd!


You promised a bunch of boys cake—big boys, small boys, it doesn’t matter. Or for a family gathering. Basically you need a huge cake. And you are not in the mood to bake two different cakes, or double recipes. Awatif’s recipe to the rescue. It is delicious and does not sacrifice moistness because of its size.

Baking nerd alert …


Food chemistry

Baking powder is a mix of acid and alkali. It reacts first when it gets in contact with the wet cake batter. Carbon dioxide is produced causing it to expand.
The baking powder then has a second chemical reaction when exposed to heat in the oven. This causes the cake batter to expand even more. The air bubbles then set, resulting in a tender crumb.

How to test if the baking powder is still active.

If you are not sure if the baking powder has expired, put a teaspoonful in a small bowl of water and see if it bubbles. If it does, it is good.


Cocoa and Bicarbonate of Soda

The most widely available cocoa in Kenya is natural cocoa powder (as opposed to Dutch-process cocoa). Adding bicarbonate of soda:

  1. makes the cocoa darker
  2. balances out the acidity of the cocoa
  3. creates a leavening action. Cocoa is an acid and bicarbonate of soda is a “base” so they react by producing carbon dioxide bubbles which causes the cake rise.


It’s for a crowd

This cake fits a rectangular 33 cm by 23cm by 5 cm (12.5 by 9 by 2 inch) baking dish and a round shallow 9 inch (23cm) pan.  On another occasion, I used two 9 inch sandwich cake tins and had enough batter left over for 12 cupcakes.



Cake for a Crowd


  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 1/2 cups flour


Preheat oven to 170°C or 350°F. Grease and dust a cake tin with flour.

Cream 1 cup butter with 2 cups of sugar until light and fluffy.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat in the 6 eggs one at a time until completely absorbed and the mixture is fluid.

Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon salt and 6 level teaspoons baking powder (6 teaspoons—I know right?! But it really does work AND the cake does not have a soapy taste.)

For this next stage, start and finish with the flour.

So into the egg mixture, beat in  2 cups flour followed by 1 cup of milk. Then again, 2 cups flour followed by 1 cup milk.  Finally half a cup of milk and lastly half a cup of flour.

Don’t be alarmed. The cake has a light pouring consistency.

For a marble cake effect, scoop out into a separate bowl 3-4 cups of cake batter and mix in 3-4 Tablespoons of cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda).

Pour the vanilla batter first and then the chocolate and finally the vanilla. If you have leftover batter, bake cupcakes.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the tin. It is done when a knife inserted comes out clean.

Go now and feed the masses!!!


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