I have never really considered myself to be a baker, per se.  My sister was the one who was always very good at baking things . . .  I was probably better at cooking savoury things.  At least that is what I always thought. This has changed as I have gotten older however, and in my dotage I am finding that I really do enjoy baking.

Unfortunately I find I also like to eat it rather a bit too much as well, so its a very delicate balancing act for me!  A battle which sometimes I win and sometimes I lose! 
I am not a fiddly baker though . . .  I am not great with the fussy stuff. I would never win any sugar craft contests or contests on the basis of how things look.  To me I only care that things taste good, and yes, I do agree that a part of taste is based in the looks, but I am just a simple girl and simple works best for me. 

 I guess I am what you might call rustic.  I leave the fiddly stuff to someone else.  This cake is very rustic and not at all fiddly, at least I don’t think it is.

This is a cake that is really at home on the tea table . . .  perfect with hot cups of tea, coffee or chocolate.  With a tender and moist crumb  . . .  marbled through with a delicious light cocoa batter, lightly sweetened with molasses, and delicately spiced with the warm baking spices . . . 

Cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cardamom, cloves, allspice and ginger  . . .  mmmm . ..   just the smell of those as you mix them into the batter sets my taste buds to tingling . . .

That buttery crumble topping is very moreish.  You will find yourself wetting your finger and dabbing the plate to get up every last crumb.  The topping is also lightly spiced and has the delicious addition of white chocolate chips.  This is a keeper. I guarantee that, while it might not be winning any beauty contests, it will certainly have your family reaching for just one more tiny sliver. 
*Crumb Topped Marble Cake*
Serves 6 to 8
Makes one 9 inch cake
Delcious vanilla cake, marbled through with a lovely spiced batter and topped with a spicy white chocolate crumble.  What’s not to like? 

For the crumble topping:

125g plain flour (scant cup, 1 cup minus about 2 TBS)
75g caster sugar (6 1/2 TBS)
75g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes (5 1/4 TBS)
75g white chocolate chips (3 ounces)
1 tsp mixed spice
For the Cake:
225g of butter, softened (1 cup)
225g caster sugar (1 cup plus 3 TBS)
4 large free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla paste
250g of plain flour (2 1/3 cup)
2 tsp baking powder
50ml of milk (1/4 cup) 
For the spice batter:
1 tsp sifted cocoa powder
1 TBS molasses
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp each ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground all spice and ground ginger

First make the crumble topping.  Whisk the flour sugar and spices together in a bowl.  Drop in the butter.  Rub it into a crumble resembling coarse bread crumbs using your finger tips.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a nine inch spring form cake tin well, on the bottom and up the sides.  Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat the eggs together and then beat in a bit at a time until thoroughly amalgamated.   Beat in the vanilla paste.  Sift together the flour and baking powder.  Fold this mixture into the cake batter.   Stir in the milk.  Divide the batter in half.   To one half add all of the spice batter ingredients.    Place the two different cake batters into the prepared baking tin, alternating spoonfuls of the  vanilla and spice batters.   Using a skewer gently draw swirls through the batter to marbelize it, taking care not to over do it.  Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes.   Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then loosen around the edges using a small sharp knife.  Release and remove the sides of the tin.  Place the cake on a wire rack and allow to cool completely.  Carefully loosen the bottom using a fish slice or palate knife and slice the cake onto a plate to serve.

This is also very good with a glass of milk. This is a nice comfortable cake. A sturdy cake. Buttery and moist . . . and most at home with a hot drink or a cold glass of milk. I love these kinds of cakes best of all. Enjoy. Bon Appetit!  

Don’t you just love my baking companion?
I know . . .  those eyes.
Hard to

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