Choco-Lemon Mini Marble Loaves with Cream Cheese Icing

marble mini loaves lemon and chocolate with cream cheese icing

Are you losing your marbles this holiday season? I know I am, which is ironic because I don’t even celebrate Christmas. As a Jew spending my days in a pretty secular community, I sometimes feel like a lone fish in the open ocean, being swept this way and that by the powerful current of the holiday shopping craze. Should I be pulled in to the obligations of a holiday that doesn’t even have meaning to me religiously? Will my friends dump me if I don’t buy them all Christmas presents?

A number of kids at my school have been bringing holiday gifts for all their teachers. Suddenly I feel obligated to do so as well, even though I don’t even know what most of my teachers would want, short of an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii, which is a little out of my price range. I don’t want to be a kiss-up, but I also want that letter of recommendation at the end of the year, you know…

I was majorly angst-ing about all this present stuff yesterday afternoon, when I vented my feelings to some others and had to be told to relax. I took a deep breath and realized I was driving myself crazy over nothing. My friends respect my spiritual beliefs (and budget deficits) and will be perfectly happy with my participation in our communal gift exchange. My teachers will write me a letter of recommendation based on how smart and well-behaved I am, not how much of a teacher’s pet I am. Holiday presents are nice, but shouldn’t be as important as the sentiment behind them. The presents are merely a reflection of the deeper meaning of the holidays: reconnecting with family and friends, spreading joy, thinking of others. And gifts don’t have to be expensive – there are plenty of homemade solutions to the last-minute Christmas cram. Food gifts are a great choice, especially if you already have all or most of the ingredients to make a big batch of comforting, delicious holiday treats for all those loved ones on your gift list.

lemon chocolate marble mini loaves cream cheese icing

Traditional marble cake takes me back to my childhood, when I’d help my mother make kosher-for-Passover marble cakes in April. It was always a fun and cozy experience as my brother and I would take turns personalizing the cakes with artistic swirls and patterns of ochre-yellow and chocolate-brown cake, pop it in the oven, and play a game of “jumping chess” in the kitchen surrounded by the aroma of sugary carbs baking in the warm oven.

This week, I decided to put a healthier spin on the classic treat in the form of chocolate lemon mini loaves. These babies are made guilt-free with whole wheat and almond flour, agave and orange juice as the natural sweetener, and the omission of butter and oil for less fat. I also invigorated the flavors of the cake by marbling the chocolate batter with a lemony orange one, rather than the usual plain yellow cake. This creates a whole different feel, one that is much more awake and interesting. To make them even more indulgent, I topped these mini loaves off with some cream cheese icing. I only made a batch of 6 for my immediate family, but feel free to go crazy and make a ton for everyone you can’t afford to buy a present for! (Edible gifts are so much sweeter anyway.) 🙂

One thing’s for sure, these mini loaves sure will make you popular with whomever is around when you bake them. As soon as I had these out of the oven, both my parents had made their way into the kitchen and were waiting to snag a morsel! My ultra-picky little brother remarked that the house smelled good after I baked the mini loaves, and asked what was in them, but when he found out it wasn’t exclusively chocolate he lost interest.

If you want to please boring people who only like chocolate, consider leaving out the citrus part of these loaves and doubling the chocolate. It was certainly the best part of these loaves, aside from maybe the sassy smooth cream cheese icing on top (but I may be biased because I’m a bit of a cream cheese icing fanatic!) According to my mom, the chocolate portion was “rich yet light.” I found it to be a perfect balance of sweetness and intense chocolatey paradise. The citrus batter was all right, but it didn’t seem quite as moist as the chocolate batter, so I might add more orange juice or some citrus-flavored yogurt. I wished I had some lemon zest, but it was too cold and yucky outside for me to schlepp to the grocery store and get lemons, so I went without this time around. But if you’re less lazy, or are enjoying lovely weather, I recommend a going the extra mile with that little tad of lemon zest to really bring out the lemon flavor.

Enough of my blathering. Get ready to lose your marbles with these insane treats!

Choco-Lemon Mini Marble Loaves with Cream Cheese Icing

makes 6 mini loaves

lemon and chocolate marble mini loaves cream cheese icing


for lemon batter

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

generous shake of cinnamon

1/4 cup orange juice (add more liquid for more moistness)

1 tbl organic light agave syrup

3 tbls lemon curd

for chocolate batter

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey’s)

1/4 cup almond flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 Yoplait brand Chocolate Mousse Style yogurt

1/4 cup skim milk

1 tbl organic light agave syrup

1 tbl Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

for mixing in

2 tbls lemon curd

for cream cheese icing

2 Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss flavored cheese triangles

1 tbl organic light agave syrup


Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Spray a 6-loaf mini loaf pan with nonstick spray.

For batter: In a medium bowl, combine lemon batter ingredients. Mix well, but be careful not to over mix. Distribute batter evenly to each mini loaf.

In another medium bowl, combine chocolate batter ingredients. Mix well, being careful again not to overdo it. Spoon chocolate batter over the lemon batter in each mini loaf.

For mixing in: Add a little extra lemon curd to each mini loaf. Swirl it in with a spoon, simultaneously marbling the two layers of batter together. If you really want the lemon curd flavor to come through, I recommend doubling the two tablespoons I mixed in.

Bake loaves in preheated oven for 17-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a mini loaf comes out clean.

For glaze: In a small bowl, combine two Laughing Cow cheese triangles and 1 tbl agave syrup. Gently blend with a spoon. Mixture will be a bit choppy.

Transfer this mixture into a ziplock with a small hole cut in one corner. When mini loaves have cooled, pipe icing on top as artistically as possible (considering that people might just snatch the unfrosted loaves from under your piping bag if you’re too slow!)

mini marble loaves chocolate lemon cream cheese icing

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Passover flourless chocolate cupcakes with cookies and cherries


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