Wednesday 20 July 2011

The Cake Slice July 2011: Zebra Cake

I was so happy when Zebra Cake won the Cake Slice Bakers vote to be this months challenge cake. It is so called, rather obviously, due to the wavy brown and cream zebra like strips that are revealed when the cake is cut. It is a cake I have been meaning to try for years, but somehow never got round to baking, so this was the ideal opportunity.

The zebra strips are created by spooning alternating flavours of batter into the centre of the cake tin, one on top of the other in a bulls eye formation. This slowly forces the batter underneath out towards the edges and ends up creating the rippled wavy effect when baked.

I was a little nervous about this procedure as the batter seemed quite runny and I was unsure how it would bake up, particularly as I had used gluten free flour. I had visions of a gummy unbaked flat pancake. My fears were unfounded though as it baked into a fabulous cake. Light and springy with a gorgeous taste and texture.

It was also very moist, in the good way. I think this was due to the use of oil in the batter which helped keep it moist and fresh tasting even a few days after baking. My family who can normally spot a gluten free baked good a mile off, were shocked when I told them it was gluten free. They loved it. I think whisking the eggs and sugar together for a few minutes before adding the other ingredients gave the cake a better structure, meaning it was springy rather than crumby which can sometimes happen in gluten free baking.

It may sound a little plain having no additional cream or fillings, but it tasted fabulous and was wonderful to munch on in the afternoons. The zebra like wavy strips were also a real talking point. People got very excited when they were revealed after cutting a slice. It would make a really impressive party cake.

Click here to see my fellow Cake Slice Bakers cakes.

Zebra Cake
(Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman)
240g plain flour (I used gluten free white teff flour)
1 tbsp baking powder
4 eggs
225g caster sugar
220ml whole milk
100g butter, melted and cooled
100ml vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 9 inch pan, line with a circle of parchment paper, grease the parchment and dust with flour. Combine the flour and baking powder 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, a quarter at a time.
Transfer a third of the batter into another bowl and whisk in the cocoa powder.
Place 3 tablespoons 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.
Makes one 9 inch round cake


the authentic nut said...

yummy! looks great and cool technique ill have to try it sometime C:

Leslie Harris said...

Katie, your cake turned out absolutely gorgeous! I loved the everything about this cake. The flavor and the texture were perfect.

It feels so good to be baking with The Cake Slice Baker's again! ;)

Suelle said...

What a perfect looking cake; well done! I've never achieved quite that good an effect despite lots of practise. I've obviously not found the right recipe until now.

Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours said...

What a lovely cake! I love the stripes. I'll try that technique next time I make the tiger cake in the Nordic Bakery book.

PratosdaBela said...

Perfect, very good

Johanna GGG said...

it has been on my to do list too - blogging is great with encouraging us to realise our dreams in the kitchen - actually I would never have heard of it without blogging - yours looks great - glad you have finally got there

Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

This is just beautiful, Katie. I am so impressed!

MissCakeBaker said...

i love this cake - so cool!

Kelly-Jane said...

Your stripes are great, well done :)

Jo said...

Great cake and I too had my fair share of jitters. But heh, the results were fab!

Emily said...


Love the way your stripes came out.

Unknown said...

Yours looks beautiful; the stripes came out perfectly and the cake looks very moist. I had never heard of a zebra cake until I opened this cook book. Well, I'd heard of zebra cakes, but it's a Little Debbie concoction of a yellow cake and white filling drenched in a white glaze type thing with a chocolate stripe glaze which makes it Zebra. This cake was very fun to make though :)

Beth (jamandcream) said...

One word...WOW. It looks a stunning cake

Caroline said...

I'm so impressed - your stripes look beautiful!

You inspired me to make this one tonight, but sadly mine was a complete fail - not a single stripe visible. Don't know where I went wrong at all :-( I'll blog it eventually...

Monica H said...

Your zebra stripes really did turn out perfectly! BY your account alone I wish I could have had a slice but having made it before I know I'm not really missing out. ha! To me it didn't have a lot of flavor, but it was very moist.

Can't wait to see what our cake choices are for this upcoming month!

stephanie said...

How Fun!!

Future Grown-Up said...

I have serious serious cake envy right now...yours looks great.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Great job! I remember making this cake and feeling similarly nervous. I was so relieved when I cut it open and it was a zebra!!

Choclette said...

It looks fabulous indeed, those stripes are a marvel. You are so clever, I'm 99% sure I wouldn't be able to achieve anything like as impressive a zebra cake as you.

The Caked Crusader said...

I've read about this technique and am delighted it actually works! Love your wavy lines - it's really effective

Elle said...

this does look like a party Katie and your zebra stripes are impressive!