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Chocolate Marble Yogurt Pound Cake

Looking at the picture of Rorie‘s recently baked marble bundt cake inspired me to pull out my copy of Alice Medrich’s Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts to make the very same recipe. I won’t go on about how much I love this cookbook (again), but I will say that this is an excellent cake and all the better because it’s actually quite low in fat!

As with all of Medrich’s desserts, the recipe is very precise. She doesn’t leave any room for error, but that is the best way to ensure consistency over and over again. My only real complaint about the recipe is that it takes a lot of bowls. You need a bowl for the flour, a bowl for the butter, a bowl for the chocolate and a bowl for the yogurt. I’m not such a huge fan of doing the dishes, but I can’t seem to reduce that number when I’m making this. The only bowl that could be eliminated is the one which holds the yogurt, but I would actually prefer to have it in a bowl than to have to hold the yogurt in a measuring cup while I make the batter.

Once I have my million (meaning five) bowls out on the counter, measuring tools, ingredients and pan, I mix up the batter and pop it into the oven. I am not a big fan of swirling cakes as I am always concerned that I will somehow over-swirl the batter, eliminating the gorgeous contrast of black and white in the cake. The best way to avoid this is by dropping the batter in large dollops into the ban and running your knife through the batter only once. If you really like to keep your chocolate and vanilla separate, you can simply add all the chocolate batter on top of all of the vanilla batter and eliminate the swirl all together – two cakes in one!

The finished cake is moist and a bit heavy, satisfyingly like a pound cake. Instead of the unctuous butteryness of a pound cake, though, the flavor is light and has the tiniest hint of tang from the yogurt, but only if you know it’s there. The chocolate is chocolaty, the vanilla is clear and, together, they make a great dessert.

Chocolate Marble Cake
(from Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts)
2 cups cake flour (8 ounces)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided

1/4 cup water, room temperature
6 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 cup (nonfat) plain yogurt
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (divided)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
Place yogurt into a small bowl and set aside.
In another medium bowl, whisk together espresso powder, cocoa, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water until well combined. Stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until light, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg, followed by egg white, making sure that the egg is thoroughly incorporated before adding the white. Beat in 2 tsp vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the yogurt in three additions (flour, yogurt, flour, yogurt, flour) and mixing at low speed until just combined. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the yogurt batter and stir into the cocoa mixture.
Spread 3/4 of the vanilla batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with dollops of chocolate batter and top that with the last few dollops of vanilla batter. Use a clean bread knife to gently swirl the batter (make an “S” curve throughout) once.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. My 10-inch pan usually takes 40 minutes. If you are using an 8-inch tube pan, you will neet to aim for the higher end of the baking time.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before loosening it with a knife and turning it out to cool completely. Store well-wrapped at room temperature.
Serves 12

Nutritional Information: 230 calories and 6.9 grams of fat per serving.

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  • Corianne
    April 27, 2006


  • Monica
    April 27, 2006

    Can I make this in cupcake form instead of cake form? And if so, what do i need to do differently baking-wise (ie. time)? Thanks!

  • Nic
    April 27, 2006

    Monica – To make this in to cupcakes, you will probably have to bake them for about 15-20 minutes at 350F. Use a toothpick to test and when it comes out clean, the cupcakes will be done. I wouldn’t recommending using a frosting on this cake, but you could make a chocolate glaze, which would work fairly well.
    You can also check my archives for other cupcake recipes.

  • Joe
    April 27, 2006

    I like the look Nic! I have that book but I have yet to bake from it… I keep looking at it but I need to sit down and just pick something!

  • Ana
    April 27, 2006

    Marble cake is one of my favorite cakes! I will definitely copy this recipe to try!
    Looks delicious!

  • T
    April 27, 2006

    Hey Nic,
    Gorgeous cake! I have that cookbook, too, and I adore it, but I know what you mean about the precise directions. Every single detail is spelled out and I always think that if I ignore one of them, it will turn out horribly wrong, heh.

  • TicklesBellyFlops
    April 28, 2006

    Hey there Nic

    Fantabulous pic as always…

    I keep reading about this thing with ‘divided’. What does that mean?

    I heard a colleague of mine try out a cheesecake receipe requiring yoghurt. End result was an overly wet strawberry cheesecake.

    I’m half afraid to try using yoghurt for fear that the cake turns out ‘watery’ or worse, unbaked.

  • Nic
    April 28, 2006

    TicklesBellyFlops – “Divided” means that the ingredient is going to be used in more than one part of the recipe. Here, for example, 1/3 cup of the sugar is used with the chocolate, then 1 cup is used later. Many people will add the whole amount because they don’t read the instructions carefully before they begin. This is why it is helpful to note that the amount is “divided” into different parts of the recipe.
    Also, you shouldn’t be afraid of using yogurt. Unless you use jelly/gelatin by mistake, it’s just like using a sour cream, creme fraiche or cheese – which is to say that it will stay together.

  • vintage biscuit
    April 28, 2006

    seems perfect 🙂 yum yum

  • Ivonne
    April 28, 2006


    I bookmarked Rorie’s recipe but have yet to make it. Now you go and make this gorgeous thing … I must bake this cake!

  • Anonymous
    April 28, 2006

    To eliminate some of the dishes, I almost never sift flour into a bowl, but rather onto a towel or flexible cutting board. From there, it’s easy enough to add it to the batter. Alternately, you can even sift it directly into the batter. Measure the ingredients into the sifter, and set it aside until you’re ready to add them… then sift directly over your mixing bowl. The yogurt can easily enough stay in the measuring cup, and I would probably mix the chocolate mixture in a large (4 cup)measuring cup as well. There’s no reason you can’t mix in them, especially since they get dirty anyway, why dirty another bowl? Then you’re only getting your mixing bowl and a few measuring cups dirty… I refuse to do more dishes than necessary. 🙂

  • Anonymous
    April 30, 2006

    I followed the recipe as written except that I used 2 whole eggs. Wow, what a nice cake. Very moist, sweet but not cloyingly so, very satisfying. i urge others to try this one. Thanks, Nic.

  • TicklesBellyFlops
    May 7, 2006

    Tried this receipe for Mom today. It looks nowhere as good as yours, & I had to use regular unsweetened cocoa (Ghiradelli) coz apparently bake ‘gourmets’ in the tiny island of Singapore do not sell Dutch-processed cocoa.

    Thankfully, nothing majorly disasterous happened with this substitution.

    Loved the taste!
    Btw… Mom loved it. Thanks once again! 🙂

  • Mike
    June 4, 2006

    Looks like a great marble cake! and yes, it’s always tempting to swirl the batter a little too much and lose some of the contrast. Must try this recipe sometime soon.

  • sindu
    April 30, 2007

    The cake looks beautiful. Can i make this using All Purpose Flour instead of cake flour. Should i make any modifications if i do so.

  • Nicole
    April 30, 2007

    Sindu – A common substitution for cake flour is to use all purpose flour and reduce the amount by 2 tablepoons (2 cups – 2 tbsp, in this case). It might make the cake a tiny bit less tender, but the results should still be tasty. Just be careful not to overmix and not to overbake and you’ll be fine.

  • Shirley
    March 18, 2009

    I was wondering how long I would have to bake this cake if I were to put it in a loaf pan instead (I don’t have a tube pan :(…)

  • Sam
    December 5, 2011

    A little on the dry side so I did a chocolate ganache topping.

  • Melanie
    May 20, 2012

    Brilliant recipe! I made a choc orange version by adding a squeeze of fresh orange juice and finely grated orange rind to the plain mixture. Then I topped it with a chocolate orange frosting. Also used vanilla flavored yoghurt. It was so light and moist, next time I might save on the calories and not bother with the frosting. Thanks for the great recipe!

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