It’s a Jungle in Here…
My wonderful husband celebrated a birthday this past week. Originally, I was going to make a cake incorporating fondant so I can start practicing working with it. I still plan on working on that cake, but he decided he wanted a different cake for his birthday.
I was checking out other “foodie” blogs over at Food Press and stumbled upon the neatest looking cake I have ever seen. Enter the Zebra cake. I have a tendency for being so easily amused, but sometimes that can get me in to trouble. I skimmed through the blog, really only interested in the pictures at that time, and just had to show my husband how “cool” this cake was. (This is the part where I got in trouble) He thought it was so “cool” too that he declares that this will be his birthday cake.
Well, you know the term, “look before you leap”? Yep, I should have read the blog first to know how involved it would be to make this cake before running off all “willy nilly” to share with my husband. Dang it. And, in all my excitement, I didn’t think ahead to know that he was for sure going to want me to make this at some point. I just didn’t think it would be so soon.
Of course, I am exaggerating slightly because I was ready to try this cake the moment I saw it. It is not a cake to make at a moments notice, you definitely need to plan. It is an entirely scratch cake, but I am going to try using a box cake mix next time as an experiment. Which could speed up the process a bit more if you can do it semi-homemade.
I did not follow the recipe posted on the blog I read, because she modified it for a bundt pan. She referenced that she adapted the recipe posted on King Arthur’s Flour’s website, so I went there to find the recipe. This recipe makes one, 9″ x 2″ round pan.
When I made the batter, I was a little apprehensive to continue because, although the flavor wasn’t horrible, to me, it tasted like a sweetened pancake batter. However, when you separate the batter and mix the cocoa in to one of the bowls, the chocolate batter has more flavor. I was pleasantly surprised that the cake, once baked, has a WONDERFUL flavor. In fact, if you try to ice/frost this, I think it would totally ruin the cake. We dusted it with some powder sugar and it was perfect.
The downside to this whole experience…it did not come out as pretty as I had hoped. And that is not the fault of the recipe. I did not think about the chocolate batter being thicker than the vanilla batter and so the chocolate dominated the “stripes”. I also ended up with a lot more vanilla than chocolate batter at the end, so I plan on adding more of the vanilla to the chocolate to help thin it out next time.
Although it began to wear on my patience, it was a fun cake to make. And because of my obsessive compulsiveness when it comes to food perfection, I will make this cake multiple times until it comes out looking like I think it should. (I really don’t have OCD, but my husband would swear by it…LOL). Not anytime soon because I have other wonderful goodies that I need to get on the ball and make!
If you have a bit of time and you want to try this cake, it would sure “wow” a crowd at any occasion. I have added the link to King Arthur’s website below the recipe.
King Arthur’s Zebra Cake
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk (whole, 2% or 1%)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups *King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons Double Dutched Dark Cocoa
*I used the all-purpose flour I had on hand
|1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9″ x 2″ round baking pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment, and spritz again. Set the pan aside.|
|2) In the bowl of your mixer, blend the sugar and eggs until lightened, about 2 minutes. On low speed blend in the oil, milk and vanilla until well combined and smooth.|
|3) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to remove any lumps. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients. Combine on medium speed 1-2 minutes or until the batter is smooth and lump free. Be sure to scrape down the bowl halfway through mixing.|
|4) Remove 2 cups of the vanilla batter and place it in the measure you used for the liquid ingredients. Sift the cocoa over this batter, and stir well to combine. Be sure to use a sifter to avoid cocoa lumps in the batter.|
|5) Now for the stripes. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of vanilla batter into the center of the cake pan. Next, spoon 3 tablespoons of the chocolate batter into the center of the vanilla batter. This causes the vanilla batter to spread out. Continue to alternate batters, in bulls-eye fashion until all batter is used. You will now have thin rings of each batter on the outer edges of the pan, thicker rings towards the center.|
|6) Bake the cake in the center of the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost as desired.|