Folding in a combination of light and dark batter gives this cake it's "marbled" look. There is no specific holiday tradition associated with marble cake. It was a common dessert of the period, and very popular, which is why it was often included with Christmas dinners.
This recipe comes from An Army Wife's Cookbook by Alice Kirk Grierson. Mrs. Grierson was the wife of Col. Benjamin H. Grierson, commander of the 10th U.S. Cavalry. Co. A of the 10th Cavalry was stationed at Fort Larned from the summer of 1867 to January 2, 1869.
This is the modern translation of the original recipe.
|1 1/2 cups butter||5 eggs|
|2 cups sugar||1/2 cup milk|
|1 cup flour||1/2 tsp baking soda|
|1 tsp cream of tartar||1 cup currants mixed with|
|1 cup raisins||lemon extract|
|1 1/2 tsp cinnamon||1 1/2 tsp cloves|
Cream butter, then gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and lemon extract.
Sift together flour, cream of tartar and baking soda and add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating until smooth.
Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture.
Divide batter in half. Add cloves and cinnamon alternately with molasses to one half. Work in raisins last.
Alternate layers or large spoonfuls of dark and light batter into a greased, lightly floured 9 by 15-inch pan.
Cut through with a knife to improve marbling.
Bake at 350° for 44 minutes or until cake tests done.
A chocolate frosting with nuts makes this a mighty fine cake.