Martha tells us that this cake is “holiday worthy.”  Note that she doesn’t tell us it’s a “holiday classic” or “tradition.”  I think that’s because no one in life has ever heard of this cake before.  And do people know that chocolate and ginger go together in baking?  I have been baking for close to ten years, and no one ever said anything to me.  So I asked Michael, “Did you know that chocolate and ginger go together in baking?” and he said, ‘Well, it never occurred to me that they didn’t.”

There isn’t much chatter about Martha’s Chocolate-Ginger Marble Cake on line.  A guy named Joe made one in 2009, and here’s what he had to say: “With an inviting outside and an eye-catching interior, the cake itself was moist and dense, yet not heavy or overly sticky. The ginger was more than a whisper, yet didn’t smack you in the face with a punch, along with enough chocolate presence to create a pleasant balance.”

Michael and I are in happy agreement with Joe on this little-known baking delight.  We loved it.  The ginger weaves its presence in and out like a vaguely motivated ghost, and the glaze adds a deep sweetness to a cake that wouldn’t be much to write home about otherwise.  More than that, it gives off a wonderful vibrant shine that calls the eye from any place in the room.

And for the candied ginger, Joe has nice uneven slivers tossed across his cakes, but my store had tiny ginger stones. I had to have the cashier come and find them for me.  I’d never used them before, and I don’t know that I’d make them a staple after this.  They add a nice visual beat, but flavor-wise, they aren’t as necessary to the equation.

As for Joe the chocolate-ginger marble maker who preceded me, it looks as if he abandoned his blog as of August, 2013.  Too bad as he looked to have a lot of followers.  

Chocolate-Ginger Marble Cake from Martha Stewart

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream

For the Glaze

  • 8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Candied ginger, for garnish

To prepare the cakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, baking soda and salt.

In a microwave-safe bowl, add chocolate and heat at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds, until just melted and smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing until well combined after each. Beat in vanilla.

Alternately add flour mixture with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Scoop out 1/2 of the batter into a separate bowl – fold in melted chocolate.

Alternately spoon the two batters between two 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Swirl batters together by dragging a thin knife back and forth through each loaf pan several times. Firmly tap pans on counter to remove any air bubbles and to level batter.

Place pans into the oven and bake until a toothpick placed into the centers comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached, about 60 to 70 minutes. Remove from the oven and set loaf pans on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes before turning cakes out onto another wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the glaze

In a medium saucepan, add cream and bring to a boil. Add chocolate, remove from the heat and stir gently until smooth and combined. Set aside and let cool until slightly thickened.

Place cakes (still on wire rack) over a baking sheet. Evenly pour glaze over each cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Let sit about 30 minutes to set glaze – top each with strips of crystallized ginger, if desired.

Makes 2 loaf cakes.