Bakers have long swirled dark and light batters together to make marbleized cakes. This version, baked in cupcake tins, relies on equal parts milk and cream for richness. Creating the two-tone appearance is as easy as a few strokes with a knife or skewer. There’s no need to be precise; each cupcake’s unique pattern is part of its charm. They’re pretty enough to leave unadorned, but if you prefer, drizzle the cupcakes with milk glaze or top with dark chocolate frosting.
- Yield: 18
- 1¾ cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup milk, room temperature
- ⅓ cup heavy cream, room temperature
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- ¼ cup boiling water
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk and cream.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk mixture, and beating until combined.
- To make chocolate batter, measure out 1 cup batter, and transfer to another bowl. Combine cocoa and the boiling water in a bowl. Stir into reserved 1 cup batter.
- Fill prepared cups with alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate batter, filling each three-quarters full. Run the tip of a paring knife or wooden skewer through batter in a figure-eight motion to make swirls. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until tops are golden and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
- To finish, dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.