Black and White Cake | First Anniversary

Black and White Cake by Seattle Food Blog

I’m not necessarily one to follow tradition for the sake of following tradition, but an occasional nod in that direction is generally a good thing. To put it plainly, there are cake occasions. Those are the times in your life when you simply must eat cake and, at those times, only a homemade cake will do. It is true I often neglect these desserts for fruity pies and pastries borne of a twisted belief that it’s somehow healthier to approach dessert in this fashion, but, sometimes, only a truly hearty slice of the real deal is appropriate.

Sunday was such an occasion. It was the first anniversary of my wedding to K. It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year. I can conjure the day in my mind and heart so easily. Those feelings of joy and anticipation flood my mind readily.  A sweet look might just send me back to that glorious day in the middle of a rough week. And, to be quite honest, I’m afraid of the passage of time. I’m afraid the memory may grow distant and all I will remember are shadows of what really happened. So I do my best to keep it alive. In this attempt, I’ve come to believe anniversaries are important.

Orcas Island Wedding at Inn at Ship Bay

We spent ours at our cozy home in West Seattle. The rain was brutal. It poured and poured, but however much it soaked the world around us, we were at home. It’s a rare spot for us these days and we took full advantage. We turned on the heat. We made breakfast, drank tea, baked a cake, and built our baby’s crib. Yes. There is a crib in our house now. It’s the most beautiful piece of furniture I own, full of possibilities and wonder. I can nearly hear her little peeps and gurgles whenever I peek my head into the nursery to admire it. I adore it and, of course, I adore her.

In fact, I probably spent a good portion of our anniversary looking at my belly and giving my little bun lots of reassuring rubs. She is the best anniversary gift I could possibly receive.

A Chow Life Food blog first wedding anniversary

A close second, however, is this cake. It’s a Black and White Cake aptly named for the heavenly mixture of chocolate and vanilla batter. This is my mother’s recipe. She read it aloud to me over the phone on Saturday evening when I came to the realization that the following day was, indeed, a cake occasion. It seemed right to make this cake for our anniversary. Black and White Cake was something that we frequently requested of my mother for birthdays, holidays and, honestly, any old day of the week. It’s a simple cake, really. It can be your everyday cake. It’s easy to make on an evening or rainy afternoon. But don’t let its simplicity of ingredients and instructions fool you, however. Black and White Cake is sort of a miracle in its moisture and the perfect marriage of chocolate and vanilla, which nearly melt in your mouth. Top it off with a simple glaze for a touch more sweetness and texture and it’s really quite perfect.

We ate slices of cake fresh from the oven in the middle of the afternoon. It wasn’t our original intention. We thought we might head out to our dinner reservations and come home to this lovely Black and White Cake. However, that simply wasn’t possible. If you make this cake, please be forewarned. Your house will smell like pure vanilla. You will glaze the cake and lick your fingers. You will not be able to control yourself. Happy Cake Day to you.

Black and White Cake

3 cups all purpose unbleached flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup chocolate syrup

For the glaze:

1 and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

3 tblsp warm water

1 tsp vanilla

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In another large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until blended using a hand mixer. Add the eggs to the butter mixture, one by one, mixing after each addition.

Add the vanilla to the cup of milk and stir. Slowly, add both the flour mixture and milk mixture to butter mixture, mixing them in alternately in small batches. Thoroughly mix the ingredients together, but take care not to over-mix.

Pour 2/3 of the batter into a greased and floured bundt cake pan. Spread evenly.

Add the baking soda to the chocolate syrup and stir to mix. Then, add the chocolate mixture to the remaining batter by hand. Mix thoroughly until the color is even and chocolate is well-distributed. Pour the chocolate batter on top of the white batter (as shown in the pictures). Spread evenly. Do not stir.

Bake the cake at 350 for 65 – 70 minutes taking care to check on it after about on hour depending on the heat of your oven. When it’s done, the cake should come away from the side of the pan just a tiny bit and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. The cake, however, will still appear quite moist.

Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring the cake to a wire rack.

Once the cake is cool, mix the confectioners sugar, warm water, and vanilla in a pouring measuring cup until there are no lumps. A whisk is helpful in this regard.

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  • September 28, 2010 - | Permalink

    Happy anniversary!! Sounds like you both had a lovely relaxing day together :-) This cake does look delish, my grandma use to make this all the time…but I never had the recipe, so I can’t wait to try this one from your Mom.

    xo E

  • Aubrey Erickson
    September 28, 2010 - | Permalink

    Your wedding was such a beautiful and perfect day, and Trent & I were so glad to be there with your friends and family. And, what a delicious way to commemorate your anniversary. I will have to try the recipe- for no particular occasion at all!

    • admin
      September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

      Aubrey- We really enjoyed your wedding too. It was lovely and I was so glad to finally see Swan Lake. Magical! xo

  • September 28, 2010 - | Permalink

    Happy Anniversary to you both! This cake looks delicious-I can smell the vanilla and the rain coming down! This is definitely one I will make. :)

  • September 28, 2010 - | Permalink

    What an exquisite post. Happy Anniversary. I sounds like you had a wonderful day and it looks like you chose the perfect cake to celebrate. Beautiful photos too!

  • September 28, 2010 - | Permalink

    Happy Anniversary! The cake is gorgeous.

  • September 28, 2010 - | Permalink

    This is hands down my new favorite post on your lovely blog. What a beautiful wedding dress! A gorgeous (& om nom nom looking) cake. And your description of the crib & “bun”, ohhhhhh, so sweet. I suspect you will be a most awesome mama. Happy anniversary! @Jasperblu

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    Happy Anniversary! Weddings, babies and cake = a perfect celebration!

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    This made me SMILE SO BIG. I think I’m gonna make a cake. This cake. Happy One Year!

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  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    Happy 1st Anniversary! A beautiful cake.



  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    Oh man, how can you do this to a pregnant woman? ;)

    Happy Anniversary to you and your husband!


  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    I’m glad you’re having your girl first. I have one girl and two boys, but my daughter is the jewel in my crown. Plus she’ll be able to help you with those boys when they come along. There is something so wonderful about the unbroken chain of mother/daughters.

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    Happy anniversary! The cake looks yummy and perfect for a celebration- or a Sunday afternoon!

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    Hey, I have that same “K” mug!! Lattes from Mr. RGBistro fill it up every weekend somewhere after getting out of bed and before brunch.

    Happy anniversary! So, would you say that a year goes by fast?


    P.S. Thanks for sharing your IFBC moment. :o)

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    Absolutely gorgeous cake, and absolutely gorgeous couple. Love your wedding pic. Have a wonderful anniversary!

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    It’s a lovely cake for a celebration. Happy Anniversary! Now, I wish my house smelled like vanilla and I had a bowl of this glaze in front of me.

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    I can tell you from experience that the feelings of that most wonderful day, never go dim, when honored as you are doing. That cake looks good and tastes great, but it is the happiness that you celebrate that makes it sweet. Congrats!

    PS love your sentiment about the crib being the most beautiful piece of furniture in your home.

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    Happy anniversary! It always warms me heart to hear about your life so filled with love and joy. The cake looks beautiful and thus perfect for such a special occasion. Here’s to many happy years ahead and vivid memories of the ones that have passed.

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    Happy Anniversary to you both! Here’s to many, many more.

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    Happy anniversary and happy cake day! That cake looks lovely and it’s great that the cake is already a family tradition.

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    happy anniversary! what a lovely wat to celebrate – - – with daily things, safety of home + warmth of a happy belly {in every way}. very sweet post, robin!

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    Hey Robin! I’m glad you had a warm, cozy day at home to rest and make a cake. That’s nice. And this is a very nice cake too (smile). I would love a piece with extra icing to celebrate your anniversary!

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    a two-tone bundt, cake in the afternoon, building something with your own hands (a crib!), starting traditions and spending time with those most dear to you. i don’t think you could’ve done it better.

    cheers to the first of many sweet anniversaries,


  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    Happy Anniversary, Robin! Sounds like a perfect way to spend the day. A cake is certainly a nicer first anniversary gift than paper.

  • September 29, 2010 - | Permalink

    Happy Anniversary! Your cake is beautiful!

  • September 30, 2010 - | Permalink

    happy anniversary! a baby is the best gift, for sure! and this cake seems like a very appropriate way to celebrate, looks delicious and i love the two layers merging into each other, fabulous!

  • September 30, 2010 - | Permalink

    Congrats Robin! What a lovely reason to celebrate. :) Happy Anniversary.

  • September 30, 2010 - | Permalink

    Happy Anniversary! You guys have so many things going on right now!

    Your house must have smelled absolutely fantastic when baking this. I love how elegantly the white and black cake looks.

  • October 1, 2010 - | Permalink

    A very happy first anniversary to you, and a fine way to mark what will be many more, before you know it.

  • October 1, 2010 - | Permalink

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! So wonderful!

  • October 1, 2010 - | Permalink

    Beautiful wedding photos and a happy anniversary to you! I love recipes read over the phone by relatives far away. It just makes them that more special.

    Give that belly lots of rubs, it is a short time they are in there (even though it feels like forever) and I miss it dearly.

    Congrats again!

  • October 4, 2010 - | Permalink

    Happy anniversary!

    You probably heard this often enough last year, but I love your dress!

  • October 4, 2010 - | Permalink

    A lovely cake. Happy anniversary!! Beautiful wedding picture!!

  • October 8, 2010 - | Permalink

    Congrats!! the cake looks lovely!

  • October 8, 2010 - | Permalink

    It is crazy how time passes by so quickly .. huh?

  • October 25, 2010 - | Permalink

    our baby cribs are usually made from wood and i very much prefer wood over metal cribs-,”

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  • December 8, 2011 - | Permalink

    I didn’t realize you lived in WEST Seattle. That is where my family is from (and still is…)

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