I know this type of cake has different names in different countries. In Slovakia, we call it Bábovka, which is almost impossible to translate into English. My first intention was to give it a name my English friend suggested when I made it a few years back. He said it reminded him of a fountain, which I thought was very apt and imaginative. On second thoughts, I decided to use a broader term to make it easier to find for marble cake lovers or those looking for a light, uncomplicated dessert.
This recipe is my variation on a classic Slovak cake of Bábovka, and was inspired by a packet of dried ginger I have bought recently.
Here’s what it takes to make a ‘Fountain’ Cake or Slovak Bábovka with a spicy twist.
Marble Cake with Ginger Bits
200 g castor sugar
200 g plain wheat flour
1 sachet vanilla sugar (20 g)
1 sachet baking powder (14 g)
100 ml water
100 ml oil
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
dried ginger pieces
Grease the baking dish thoroughly, covering every inch. This is what determines the easy removal of the end product. Dust the greased dish with a thin layer of flour.
Combine the egg yolks, castor sugar and vanilla sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth and fluffy. Slowly add the water, oil and the flour mixed with the baking powder, stirring gently all the time.
Whisk the egg whites in a hand mixer or an electric one until they form stiff peaks. This is what we call ‘egg snow’ in Slovak. Spoon by spoon, transfer the ‘egg snow’ to the mixing bowl and fold in gently.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Pour half of the batter in the baking dish, and add a tablespoonful of cocoa powder to the other half. Stir gently until well-combined. Pour the dark batter onto the light one all around the baking dish. Because the cocoa batter is heavier, it will sink, marbling the light layer on the way.
Drop the dried ginger pieces onto the batter evenly. Put in the oven and bake for 40 – 50 minutes, depending on the size of your baking tin. The cake is done and cooked through when a skewer inserted in the deepest part of it comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then loose its edges and centre part using a cutlery knife.
Turn the tin upside down and tip the cake out on a large plate by gently shaking and knocking the dish against the palm of your hand. Really, if you grease the tin thoroughly before the baking, the cake should come out nicely like this:
Dust the cake with icing sugar and serve with a cup of coffee or tea. I like it with a mug of Melta, which is a Slovak brand of hot, roasted barley and chicory drink. It makes for a delightful Sunday breakfast or snack. Personally, I can eat it at any time of day.