For many weeks now a colleague at work has been bugging me to make a “zebra” cake. A zebra cake is named so for its unique striped pattern caused by alternating bands of chocolate and vanilla batter, which extend out from the centre of the cake in an impressive bull’s-eye. The process of creating the stripes was surprisingly easy to make; all it takes is a bit of patience and attention. And as I first read when I discovered this recipe on another great blog, Baking Bites, if you’re attention wavers and you make a mistake, don’t worry. Just take a knife, give your batter a quick swirl and call it a marble cake; you can try again for the exotic stripes next time.
Not surprisingly, this cake was very soft and moist. I say not surprisingly because the recipe calls for four eggs and a full cup of oil for one 9” cake. Still, even after a few days the cake retained is moist texture and did not taste stale at all.
With my strong sweet tooth, I found the cake on its own to be a bit bland. However, I was reluctant to ice it because of the gorgeous ringed pattern on top of the cake. So, I brought in my container of chocolate almond spread and topped my piece of cake with a dollop of it. I found it to be perfect; the chocolate nuttiness of the spread complemented the hints of almond and cocoa in the cake very well. You could also cover the cake with a glaze or serve each piece with a drizzling of warm chocolate sauce.
I followed the recipe almost exactly for this cake. The only change I made was a minor one and that was that I only added two tablespoons of cocoa and not two and a half. Quite frankly, I don’t think this affected the outcome of the cake in the slightest.
However, if I were to make one change, I would bake this in a larger pan next time. I baked it in a 9” round cake pan that was 2” deep. The cake rose so much that the dome of the cake cracked. I think either using a deeper cake dish or a pan with a larger diameter would fix this problem. Keep this in mind when you’re making this cake. Still, I cut up my cake before bringing it in, so it didn’t much matter that the cake had cracked.
Without further ado, the long awaited zebra cake!
From Baking Bites
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk (low fat is fine)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with a circle of parchment paper and lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together eggs and sugar until mixture is light and creamy and the sugar has mostly been dissolved. Stir in milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and almond extracts.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Pour into wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Measure out just over two cups of vanilla batter and place it back in the medium bowl. Sift cocoa powder over the bowl and whisk until fully incorporated.
4. Put 3 tbsp of vanilla batter into the center of the pan and let it spread slightly on its own. Put 3 tbsp of chocolate batter in the center of the vanilla. It will push out the other batter and, as it sits for a moment, will also spread itself. Alternating spoonfuls of the two batters, repeat the technique until all the batter has been used up.
5. Bake for 38-42 minutes, until the cake is light gold and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out the cake and remove the parchment paper. Reinvert on to a wire rack and let cool before slicing.