Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Cake Slice: Zebra Cake

Zebra Cake

I have been quite busy lately,  Working, planning a trip home to Buffalo, and hunting for an apartment big enough to house our soon to be family of three has kept me out of the kitchen. The fact that I decided to bake on a 95 degree day is a testament to how much I dislike packing.  On a day that I would like nothing more than to lie down in my air-conditioned bedroom, I took a break from sweating over boxes to crank my oven and make a "zebra cake" for this much-neglected blog. I don't know if the cake was tasty enough to justify a hot oven during a heatwave, but it was a much appreciated break anyway.

chocolate and vanilla batters

This zebra cake is made by alternating layers of vanilla and chocolate batter to create a striped pattern. What I disliked about this cake was that it really emphasized form over function. The finished product is pretty, but the cake was bland. I would much rather eat a delicious, yet ugly, cake. As I am typing this I am feeling like quite the complainer because I have been underwhelmed by almost all of the cakes that I have baked as a Cake Slice member. This makes me sad because I really do love cake.

making the stripes

Despite my complaints, there is nothing offensive about the flavor of this cake.  If you are looking for something visually interesting, go ahead and bake this up.  You could divide the vanilla batter further and use different food colors to make a sort of tie-dyed cake. Fun!

Now I need to get back to packing, and you should definitely check out the Cake Slice blogroll to see some enthusiastic reviews of this pretty striped cake.

Zebra Cake

Oh, and on the moving front: We have found an apartment with not only a second bedroom for the baby I am currently baking, but a kitchen with a full size oven and a pantry! No more galley kitchen with a tiny apartment oven! I am very much looking forward to settling into our new apartment and breaking in our new, big kitchen.

Zebra Cake
Lauren Chattman's Cake Keeper Cakes

 If I were to make this again, I would use more chocolate batter in each layer to make the stripes more even.

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole or 2% milk
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9 inch pan, line with a circle of parchment paper, grease the parchment and dust with flour. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Combine the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, stir in the milk, butter, oil and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary. Stir in the flour mixture, ½ cup at a time.

Transfer a third of the batter into another bowl and whisk in the cocoa powder.

Place a quarter cup of the vanilla batter into the centre of the pan and let it stand for a few seconds so it spreads out slightly. Place 2 tablespoons of the chocolate batter right on top of the vanilla and wait another few seconds until it spreads. Continue alternating vanilla and chocolate until you have used up all the batter and it has spread to the edges of the pan.

Bake until the cake is set and a toothpick comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a cutting board. Peel away the parchment paper. Re-invert onto a wire rack and cool completely. Slice and serve.

Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for 3 days.


  1. Great job on your cake! I do have to agree with you that the cake was nothing much to shout about with the exception of it's "art work".

  2. "I would much rather eat a delicious, yet ugly, cake." I wholeheartedly agree with you!!!

    Congrats on the bambino you're baking up! I'm due in 'bout you?

    The cakes from this book have been hit or miss from me. There were some good ones that I'd make again, but I can count them on one hand with fingers to spare. ha! Hopefully the next book we bake from will be better. Don't give up hope :-)

  3. Thanks, Jo!

    Congratulations to you, too, Monica! I am due in the middle of October. I am a mixture of excited and terrified.

  4. When do you move? Good luck with it all. Will be great to have a nice big kitchen for feeding your new familY!

  5. Congratulations on the new baby!
    Your cake looks fantastic, shame you were dissapointed in the flavour

  6. Congratulations on the sweet new baby...and on posting on time which I didn't this time. The heat and the packing gave you excuses but you ignored them, forged ahead and made a beautiful cake.Can I have a slice?