Plantation Marble Cake

I found this recipe in an old 1933 cookbook from Swansdown Cake Flour called "All About Home Baking"  that Myrna bought for me at a big semi-annual book sale in Des Moines.  It’s a great book and a great recipe. They recommended the cake baked in a loaf for picnic desserts or for carrying to the men working in the field.
It’s really a marble spice cake – or maybe a spice marble cake? Get your gingerbread and pound cake in one.

I slice the cold loaf and package the slices 2 to a sandwich or freezer bag, separated by waxed paper. Then I can remove them from the freezer and separate, and they will be thawed by the time you get coffee made.
I do sift the dry ingredients so there won’t be any bitter lumps of soda or baking powder. Set out the butter and eggs to come to room temperature while you get your pan ready and get the dry ingredients measured. Preheat you oven before starting.
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, no lumps, and then add the eggs and creams. Divide the dry ingredients roughly in thirds, add 1/3 first, by hand, stir in half the milk, then another third of the flour, the rest of the milk, and the remaining flour, stirring each one in just to combine. Don’t over mix.
Check for doneness before the time is up – a toothpick should just come out clean. Don’t over bake – it will be dry. The internal temperature on an instant read thermometer is about 180°.
Cool on a rack for several hours, then overnight in the refrigerator, well wrapped, before slicing.

Plantation Marble Cake

¾ cup Sugar
½ cup Butter -- room temperature
2 large Eggs
¼ cup Heavy Cream
¼ cup Sour Cream
1 1/2 cups Flour, All-purpose -- 6 3/4 ounces
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Baking Soda
¼ teaspoon Salt
½ cup Milk -- I used skim
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Cloves
½ teaspoon Nutmeg
1-2 Tablespoons Molasses


• Prepare a small 9X9” pan or 8 x 4” loaf pan. Grease the bottom and 1" up the sides to prevent hard shoulders. Use parchment to line pan if desired, grease like pan.
• Mix sugar and butter well, until fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time, then the heavy cream and sour cream.
• Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, add to batter alternately with milk, until smooth. Do not overbeat.
• Pour half of the batter into another bowl.
• Mix the rest of the batter with spices and molasses.
• Pour half the plain batter into the pan. Spoon the spice batter on top. Finish with the remaining plain batter. You can just leave it or run through it with a knife once.
• Bake loaf pan at 350° about 45-50 min. Bake about 35 minutes for 9x9" pan, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
• Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing. Dust with icing sugar when cool.
• If baking in a square pan, when cool, frost with brown sugar frosting and sprinkle with pecans.
Cool overnight in refrigerator before cutting.
2010 March cost per plain loaf: $ 1.66; with frosting $2.86


  1. I have this book as well!(what a surprise!) I love it, especially those photos of the home kitchens, baking area and ingredients. Thank you for featuring a recipe here with the extra explanations. I've just spent a good amount of time reading through your posts and enjoying the recipes and lovely memories.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Tracey. That's a great old cookbook, isn't it?


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