Monday, October 12, 2009

Zebra Cake

Zebra cake3

Yesterday, I finally made Farida's gorgeous Zebra Cake. I'd come across her spectacular looking cake sometime last year and had promptly bookmarked it. I remember being rather intrigued by the wonderful zebra-striped pattern of her cake and wanting to make it right away. In spite of being very eager to try it out in my kitchen immediately, I finally got around to baking it only last night. The cake turned out pretty well considering that it was my first attempt. The texture was perfect- the cake was soft, light and very moist. Taste-wise, I found it to be just alright. It was missing a little something, but I can't quite put a finger on what it was. However, it looked so pretty that I'm willing to overlook the fact that it was not flavorful enough. I'm sure that with a little tweaking, that can be rectified. In any case, this cake’s all about the looks- I'm definitely going to be making it again!

I followed Farida's recipe and instructions very carefully but ended up making a few changes (based on what I had on hand).

I had enough batter to bake 1 round 9-inch cake and 2 mini heart-shaped cakes.

Zebra cake1

Zebra cake2
Wet ingredients:
1 cup sugar (I would add more the next time)
4 eggs
1 cup oil
1 cup milk (I only use 2 % milk so I used ¾ cup of that, and to add some richness, I also added about 3 tsp of ricotta cheese because I had a tub that was nearing its expiration date.)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda (optional)
A pinch of salt
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey’s)
2 oz Hershey’s baking bar (optional)

Line a 9-inch round baking dish (I do not have a cake pan) with foil and grease it. (I also greased 2 other small heart-shaped pans that I had since I found that I had more than enough batter for just the baking dish alone.)

In a large bowl mix together the sugar and eggs till creamy and light yellow. (I use my hand mixer for this.) Add the oil, milk and vanilla extract and mix well again.

Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another bowl and whisk together. Add to the wet ingredients, a little at a time, making sure that everything is incorporated well and the batter is lump-free.

Pour half of the batter into another bowl. Each bowl will now have roughly 2 cups of batter. To one half add the cocoa powder. (I also melted 2 ounces of chocolate and added it to the brown batter as a result of which it got a little denser/thicker than the white batter. I'd recommend adding a tsp or 2 of milk to thin it out a bit.)

Pour the vanilla and chocolate batters alternately into the center of the baking dish. I used 2 ladles (1/4 cup measurements) for doing this. (Farida has explained the process very well in her post.) Repeat until all the batter has been used up.

Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. Check after 35 minutes or so. The surface of my cake was done before the rest of it was, so I covered the top with some foil and continued to bake it for another 10 minutes till it was all done. Cool. Slice and serve.

Zebra cake5

The cake was pretty plain and not as sweet as I'd have liked it to be. Next time, I'll definitely increase the amount of sugar (by another ¼ - ½ cup), and maybe I'll use a frosting of some kind (nutella would work well, I think) although that would cover up the lovely pattern on top of the cake. I might even try replacing the oil in the recipe with butter. I’m going to play around with the basic recipe and see what I can come up with to make this cake taste as good as it looks.

Zebra cake4

23 Burps:

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow...that's an yum cake....looks extremely gorgeous.....

Homecooked said... looks beautiful! I think the taste can take a backseat for once :)

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Turned out awesome. Looks so good. Nice pic... YUM!

Soma said...

The perfect looking zebra cake. I have been admiring this thing for the past 1 year, but haven't yet dared to even contemplate doing it myself.

Hema said...

Wow! Really superb cake.. I am going to tr it..

Laavanya said...

That has turned out really well TBC. Hope you are doing good and had a great holiday in the WC. I have the exact same heart shaped cake pans too :)

Cynthia said...

You have replicated this perfectly and I can see how moist and light the cake is!

Aparna said...

Looks as beautiful as it should.
This is a cake I have made umpteen number of times and there's always demand for more. I do use a chocolate ganache to cover it and it improves the cake tremendously.
I now make it in an eggless version which is even better. :)

Rajitha said...

yum yum...looks so good....

Padhu said...

Yummy! It looks so good and delicious. Do visit my blog.

TBC said...

KF- thank you.

Homecooked- I think so too. I'll have to work on the taste a bit now.:D

Sukanya- how have you been? It's been a while...

Soma- thanks for the compliment. I had been meaning to make this for the longest time. Each time I saw a post for this cake come up, I'd want to come up with my own version.:) Finally, I got around to baking it for a potluck. I was looking to impress everyone a bit. ;-)

Hema- please do. This one's more about the technique than anything else.:)

Laavanya- I am doing well.:)
Oh yes, we had a fantastic holiday. It was over all too quickly. :(
Hope A and N are doing fine.
Yes, I remember your pans from the post you did last year for V-day? Very sweet.:)

Cynthia- thank you, thank you! :D

Aparna- I agree, it looks good.:)
I did come across your eggless version too while I was searching for others' recipes for this cake. I liked yours too, but decided to go with Farida's basic recipe since we have no problem eating eggs and actually like the texture and taste it lends to baked goods.
I know what you mean when you say that a ganache improves the cake. I made this cake, again, the very next day, for a potluck. This time I used a Nutella frosting and the cake tasted good too.

Rajitha- thank you. :)

Padhu- thanks for visiting. I will definitely stop by your blog. :)

Nupur said...

Hi TBC, thank you so much for stopping by with your wishes! Here's wishing you and your family a Happy Deepavali too.

The Diwali post with the radiant lights is gorgeous! And this Zebra Cake has some of the best striping I have ever seen.

Vaishali said...

Dear TBC, That's a truly pretty cake-- a feast for the eyes.
A very happy Diwali to you!

Spice Rack said...

Wow, these look really good. I'm sure it'll be great for the office place.

Namratha said...

Ahhh, that looks gorgeously Zebra like...nice!!

Uj said...

hey Looks like everyone of hooked on to Zebra cake..I have made it thrice already.. And yes..I too have increased the qty of sugar :) Yours look so perfectly striped :)I will try with some topping next time :)

mona said...

Those distinct delectable swirls look gorgeous!

TBC said...

Nupur & Vaishali- hope you had a great Diwali!

Spice Rack- thank you. It is great for an office potluck.

Namratha- thanks, that means a lot coming from you, a cake designer. :) How are you?

Uj- I know what you mean- it's everywhere now! :D
Yeah, it certainly needs more than 1 cup of sugar.
I have subsequently tried this with a nutella frosting. It really enhances the taste. The wonderful pattern on the top does get covered, but then the surface of my cake never looks good, so using an icing of some kind works well for me.:)

Mona- thanks.

WizzyTheStick said...

I myself have tried this recipe without much success. I find you have to work quickly so that the pattern stays as distinct lines. I agree this isn't the most flavourful cake I have ever tasted. I look forward to your recipe tweaks.

TBC said...

WizzyTheStick- I agree that the recipe by itself is pretty ordinary. The pretty zebra-striped pattern is what drew me towards this one. I made this one again, soon after this post was published, for a potluck. I increased the amount of sugar and used a Nutella frosting. It was pretty good.:)

deepa,tanu said...

Wow the cake looks so yummy. Certainly a feast for the eyes. The stripes have come out so nicely. Keep it up

Sangeetha Subhash said...

Stumbled into your blog just now.U have cute space with wonderful yummy collections recipes!!Would love to follow u.
splendid work !zebra cake looks amazing and the photos just make them more yummy!!!

TBC said...

Deepa, Tanu- thanks, I'll certainly try! ;-)

Sangeetha- thank you. I'm glad you think so.:)

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