I’ve been leafing through Dan Lepard’s wonderful book, Short and Sweet, ever since Christmas trying to decide what to make. The problem is there’s too much choice. Everything looks good. How do you pick between passion fruit melting moments, a chocolate cake that uses pears in place of butter or a gorgeous-looking double espresso brazil nut cake? Solution. Open up the book and ask someone else to pick for you. In this case my non-cake fan, but crumble-loving husband picked out a marble cake topped with crumble. Good work! He wins another chance to choose a recipe but I suspect next time he’ll ask to choose from the Hairy Bikers’ Pie Book.
I suppose it’s not very PC to say this cake is a man-pleaser but there’s something about it that makes it a hit with the even the most cake-shunning of lads. Perhaps it’s the simplicity – no fussy flavours, just vanilla and chocolate. Or maybe because there’s no healthy fruit but lots of crumble, it’s sort of rugged with a craggy top and there’s no intimidating, swirly frosting that necessitates a fork and napkin. There is, however, moist vanilla pound cake marbled with chocolate-chip-packed ripples covered in a crunchy chocolate crumble that will surely please all who partake, man, woman or child. It lasts well, it took us a while to eat (it was too good to share round our respective offices) but the cake remained moist with a light crumb and the crumble was still crisp even after several days. It was only just starting to stale on the fifth day when we finished off the last squares with a dollop of cream. It’s a recipe I know I’m going to make again and again to the point that I’ll know it off by heart.