I’ve never been one to frequent the mall. But back in the day when I was a young mom with a brood of active little boys, I would, on occasion, take a trip to the mall with my guys. These trips usually came on days when the temperatures were far below freezing and precluded us from enjoying the outdoors. On those days, the mall was a life saver.
Typically we would arrive just as the mall opened. This guaranteed small crowds and lots of open space. While I never let the boys run around like crazy little mad men, I did allow them to stretch their legs and work out those wiggles. Walking the mall also allowed me to get moving. It was a win win situation.
One of our little mall traditions was to pop over to Starbucks. I always ordered a grande hot chocolate. It was a rare treat for me, and I savored each sip. The boys always requested the same treat: marble loaf cake. I would get one slice for them to share. They were all little and just a small portion satisfied them just fine.
This past weekend my middle son, now 16, came along to Costco with me. I’m not sure that it was his first choice of activities. His brothers were headed over to Sky Zone. Having recently had surgery on his foot, Sky Zone was off limits for now. So, after our shopping trip I asked my son if he wanted to head over to Starbucks for some hot chocolate. Starbucks is a rare treat so he quickly said “Yes!”.
While I was ordering, my son was gawking over all of the treats in the glass display. “Hey look, marble loaf cake,” he piped up. I just smiled and somehow was transported back 13 years to a time when my son was knee high. Now a towering 6’4″ tall, we enjoyed our hot chocolate and a little trip down memory lane.
Due to food allergies, treats like Starbuck’s marble loaf cake are off limits for our family. However, I came home that afternoon and whipped up an equally delicious and totally gluten free version. Let’s just say that it’s a keeper.
While this recipe is nearly dairy free as well, there is a bit of sour cream added to the batter. If you are looking for a dairy free option, you can substitute a non-dairy, plain yogurt in lieu of sour cream.
Gluten Free Marble Loaf Cake (with a Dairy Free Option)
1/2 cup avocado oil (or you may use canola, mild olive oil, or another vegetable oil of your choosing)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup sour cream (or 1/4 cup plain, unsweetened dairy free yogurt)
2 cups gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum (I used Bobs 1 to 1)
2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoon unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard size, glass loaf pan (9″ x 5″) with enough parchment paper to overhang two opposite sides by two inches. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the avocado oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream until smooth. Add in the 1/2 cup of almond milk.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
Scoop out 1 cup of the batter. Place into a separate bowl. Add in the cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons almond milk. Whisk together until smooth.
Alternate heaping tablespoons of the vanilla and chocolate batter into the bottom of the loaf pan. There should be 8 dollops of alternating color. Repeat with a second row of the same. I like to place a vanilla dollop on top of a chocolate dollop and vice versa with the chocolate for the second layer.
I have to stress that this does not need to be perfect or exact. The beauty of a marble loaf cake is the uniqueness of each slice. So don’t stress over where to put what dollop!
Once you have divvied up all of the batter, run a butter knife through the batter lengthwise about 3-4 times. Then repeat the same process going across the length of the pan. I then like to take my knife and turn a bit of the bottom batter to the top. I do this 3 times on the right length of the pan, then 3 times on the left. Again, there is no exact science here. However, you do not want to overwork the batter or else you will end up simply mixing the two colors together.
Bake for 60 minutes on the center rack in the oven. Use a cake tester to check for doneness.
Allow to sit in the pan for 30 minutes prior to transferring the loaf to a cooling rack.
I love this loaf completely cooled and chilled in the fridge.