Chocolate marble layer cake (with gluten-free option)

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Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves:

Preparation time:
Cooking time:

Dietary guidance: g 

Ingredients

* 2¼ cups cake flour or Featherlight gluten-free flour, sifted
* 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (if using gluten-free flour)
* 1 cup almond flour sifted
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* Pinch salt
* 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
* 2 scant cups white sugar (superfine works well)
* 6 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
* 1 teaspoon almond flavoring
* ½ teaspoon fiori di sicilia (a citrus-vanilla extract)
* 2/3 cup cream
* 2/3 cup milk
* ¾ cup boiling water
* 2/3 cup valrhona unsweetened cocoa, sifted

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of two 8-x-3- or 9-x-2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment and butter. Coat with flour. Tap out excess.
2. In a bowl, whisk together sifted flours, xanthan gum (if using), baking powder and salt. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Add flavorings. Mix together milk and cream. Add flour and milk-cream mixture alternately until incorporated, being careful not to overmix.
3. In a bowl, mix sifted cocoa with boiling water until it is sludge. Scoop about 3 cups of the batter into the chocolate mix. Whisk until incorporated.
4. Alternate scoops of chocolate and vanilla batter in baking pan until both pans are filled evenly. Using a butter knife, gently draw a figure 8 to marble the batter.
5. Tap pans on counter to settle the contents and remove air bubbles. Give pans a quick shake and place in oven. Bake about 35 minutes until lightly brown or toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool 5 minutes and turn out on a rack. Cool completely.
7. Cut each layer in half.
8. Brush with simple syrup, if desired, and frost with your favorite: dark chocolate glaze, ganache, buttercream or combination.

Notes: To marble correctly, don’t mush the knife through when you make that figure 8. Make sure to draw distinct lines, and working it less is more. Really. In the photo, I used both ganache and buttercream just because I wasn’t sure which I wanted. Next time I will use a thinner layer of ganache between the layers and pour a glaze over the top and sides. Still, there is no such thing as too much chocolate.

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