Let this all-purpose cake, with its whisper of almond extract, serve as your standby for special occasions or an easy everyday indulgence.
In a small bowl, microwave 2 squares (56 g) chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate on medium for 1 to 2 min. Stir until smooth. Let cool. Prepare batter above, but omit almond extract. Scrape 1/4 of batter into another bowl and stir in chocolate until evenly mixed. Scrape remaining vanilla batter into prepared pan(s). Drop spoonfuls of chocolate overtop. Using a knife, swirl for a marbled effect.
Prepare batter, adding 11/2 tsp (7 mL) cinnamon, 3/4 tsp (4 mL) each ground ginger and nutmeg and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) allspice to dry ingredients.
Prepare batter, adding 4 tsp (20 mL) maple extract along with vanilla. Omit almond extract. Then fold 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely chopped walnuts into batter.