In case anyone is wondering, this cake makes a very nice-looking fish.
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tbsp hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream (regular or low fat)
1 cup milk (whole or low fat)
Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, cocoa powder, hot water and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Whisk to combine and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and sour cream. Working in two or three additions, alternate adding flour mixture and milk to butter mixture (ending with addition of flour), mixing until no streaks of flour remain.
Scoop out 1 cup of cake batter and stir into cocoa mixture.
Spread white batter into prepared pan. Top with chocolate batter and drag a knife through to create a swirling pattern (don’t over marble, though!).
Bake for 32-36 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Turn out onto a wire rack; cool completely before frosting.