Marquesote is hard to describe to an American, just ask my husband! A little like a sponge cake, (bizcocho esponjoso), a pound cake, (panque), and a sweet bread, (pan dulce), all wrapped in one, this torta is definitely a species of its own! Marquesote has the bounciness of a sponge cake but also the denseness of a pound cake. Yet because it is not as sweet as a pound cake, and doesn't have that 1:1:1:1 ratio of flour, sugar, eggs and butter that a pound cake has, marquesote also tastes a little like a pan dulce also.
If you follow my blog, you probably know that I am not a huge fan of buying prepackaged tortas and breads. If you buy a package of marquesote from your local international grocery store, you are likely to pay a lot of money for a half-way decent, at best, marquesote. I recently picked up a pack while at my local grocery store and found this to be the case. As you can see from the picture, I paid $3.99. The marquesote was flavorless and dry. You may have better luck if you buy marquesote from your local panaderia, or bakery, but nothing is guaranteed.
Basically, the only way to guarantee a great marquesote is to either go to El Salvador or find a great recipe and make it yourself. I would offer you that making my recipe trumps going to El Salvador because of the lower cost and higher convenience! Because this recipe is an exact clone of the real marquesote that you would find in El Salvador today, you could technically tell everyone you know that you just brought some marquesote back from El Salvador for them! (That would be lying of course though, hehe.) Make this recipe and you'll never buy another half-way decent marquesote from the store again!
Here is my tried-and-true recipe for a fantastic marquesote. I call this my: Marquesote Mas Sabroso:
1 cup of cake flour
5 eggs at room temperature, separated into yolks and whites
8 Tbsp. of granulated, white sugar
1/2 cup of tap water **See note on how I added a great new twist to the original marquesote at bottom of post.
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1 tsp. of baking powder
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
- Whip egg whites until stiff. ** See note on creating stiff egg whites at bottom
- In a large metal bowl, mix together the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract until thick and creamy.
- In a new bowl, sift cake flour and baking powder together.
- Add water and oil to egg yolk mixture and whisk together until combined.
- Sift in the already-sifted flour mixture and fold in with spatula until thoroughly combined.
- Fold in eggs whites and mix again until thoroughly combined, being careful not to over stir.
- Pour cake into two small bread loaf pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top and fully done in the center.
- When baking is done, remove cakes from pan being careful not to break them. We remove them from the pan immediately so they do not continue to cook and become dry.
- Place hot cakes on wire wracks to cool.
- Wrap cooled marquesote cakes in Saran wrap - that is how they are normally sold.
- I like to substitute 1/2 cup of horchata for the water here to switch things up a bit. The horchata gives the marquesote a tastier, sweeter flavor and goes very well. I use Agua Frescas, horchata flavor, by Klass.
- Be sure there is no trace of fat in the bowl or on the mixers when whipping egg whites. If there is, the egg whites will not stiffen. This is why I always do this step first before anything else.