Ha ha - that's going to be confusing - a picture of an owl cake with the title 'Zebra Cake'. I had to make an owl cake for Rufus' 3rd birthday and since I had to make a zebra cake for The Cake Slice Bakers, I thought I would combine the two.
I have never made a zebra cake before. My first attempt didn't work at all. I must have put too much cocoa powder in the chocolate layer so the batter was much more dense than the vanilla layer and consequently just sunk to the bottom instead of spreading out to form the stripes. For the second attempt, I kept back some of the flour from the original batter and mixed it into the vanilla half when I mixed the cocoa into the chocolate half. This worked much better.
My stripes weren't as defined as I would have liked so next time I make it, I will do larger dollops of the mixture to make each stripe. I did about 3 tbsp vanilla to 2 tbsp chocolate in this one and you can see it makes the stripes too thin to be very distinct.
I was very pleased with the cake. It had to compete with a layer of chocolate ganache and then fondant as it ended up being a party cake. It was moist and light, though, and I preferred it to my usual chocolate cake that I do for novelty cakes. It seemed to go down well with guests at the party too. I didn't manage to get any pretty pictures it sliced as we were obviously busy with the party. I would be happy to make it again, though, and certainly want to try making bigger, more defined stripes next time.
Recipe - Zebra Cake - adapted from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman.
2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled (113g)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease a 9" round cake pan, line with a circle of parchment paper, grease the parchment, and dust with flour. Combine the flour (keep back 2 tbsp of flour to add to the vanilla portion later to keep the batter consistencies similar), baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Combine the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 5 mins. With the mixer on low speed, stir in the milk, butter, vegetable oil and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary. Stir in the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time.
3. Transfer 1/3 of the batter into another bowl and whisk in the cocoa powder. (Whisk the extra 2tbsp flour into the vanilla portion).
4. Place 1/4 cup of the vanilla batter into the centre of the cake tin and let it stand for a few seconds so it spreads out slightly. Place 2 tbsp 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 of the batter and it has spread to the edges of the pan.
5. Bake until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, about 40 mins. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
6. Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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And click here to see how it should look! Beautiful.