Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cake Slice Bakers - July 2011: Zebra Cake

Are zebras white with black stripes, or black with white stripes? To be honest, I don’t know. To me, the concept seems weird of white stripes, black stripes just seems more…normal? I don’t know. If you’re wondering why I’m talking about zebras, it’s because for the month of July Cake Slice Bakers voted on the Zebra Cake from our book, Cake Keeper Cakes.

There was no picture, so I think some of us were worried on how this cake would turn out, or maybe I’m just speaking for myself.

It has been so long since I’ve made a full on round cake. I usually turn things into cupcakes for portion control or cut the recipe in half. However, because of the intricate design of this cake, I thought it would be best to keep it as a round cake.

But just because I decided to keep the traditional shape, doesn’t mean I didn’t do a few tweaks. You see, the original recipe called for both butter and vegetable oil and I don’t remember liking vegetable oil in my cakes, so I nixed the oil, but kept the amount of butter the same. The second major thing was the baking powder. Good Lord did this recipe call for a lot of baking powder; one tablespoon to be exact. Yeah, that really scared me, so I lowered that to two teaspoons.

The batter was kind of gloopy, but I expected that because I did not use the oil. The gloopyness made it a little hard for the batter to spread, but I made it spread using my forceful ways, mmwahaha.

When I cut into the cake, I was a little nervous because I was afraid that all of the jostling I did to the batter mixed us the chocolate and vanilla batters, but no. The cake turned out to look like a zebra, which was pretty cool. The final product was a very tall, dense, and moist cake. I’m not so sure about the flavor of the cake, I've had better. In the end, it was an ok cake. I can only speak for myself though because I’m sure the slight adjustments I made caused some sort of alteration in maybe the flavor or texture. To find out, visit the other bloggers and see how their zebra cakes turned out.

Fun fact: when zebras are in a cluster, their stripes create a dizzying effect on predators (such as lions) and therefore helps camouflage them because no one wants to mess with a giants black and white blob.

Zebra Cake
adapted from Cake Keeper Cakes

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, soft
3 eggs, room temp

2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder


  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9 inch spring form pan (basic round pan will work too) and set that aside as well.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar until pale in color and fluffy in appearance. Slowly incorporate the eggs, one at a time, and beat them until fully mixed in with the creamed mixture.
  3. Turn the mixer to it’s lowest setting and slowly add in the flour mixture half a cup at a time. Alternate the milk with the flour, adding a touch of milk after ever addition of the flour until both the flour mixture and the milk have been used up. Add in the vanilla extract. By now, the batter should be smooth, yet thick. Transfer about a third of the yellow batter into another mixing bowl and add in the cocoa powder, mixing until the batter has fully accepted the cocoa and the color is a deep chocolate color.
  4. You were probably wondering what temperature the oven needed to be preheated to, weren’t you. Well, I would do it no sooner than this step, because the pouring of the batter will take a very long time. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Now for pouring the batter. Use a ¼ cup measuring device to transfer a little bit of the yellow batter into the center of the floured pan. Wait a little bit for the batter to spread and place two tbsp of the chocolate batter on top of the yellow batter. Keep doing this until all of the batter has been used up. If the batter doesn’t seem to want to spread after a few layers (and it probably wont) gentle shake the pan around in a circle a few times to help it spread. Doing this every few layers will help the cake reach the walls of the pan.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a tooth pick is inserted into the center of the cake and it comes out with hardly any or no crumbs at all. Cool in the pan for about ten minutes. Release the walls of the cake (if using a spring form) and invert onto your non serving plate. Take the bottom layer off and flip the cake onto your serving platter. You can store this cake in a cake keeper or wrapped in plastic wrap for up to three days at room temperature.


  1. Great job on your cake. It looks delicious and I can't believe you are only 17. I wouldn't even step into the kitchen when I was at that age.

  2. Awesome cake idea. I love the zebra pattern.

  3. Looks good, Becca. I reckon you could use the technique to make a zebra cake out of any good vanilla sponge recipe so if you found this one a bit boring for you, you could try it with one of your favourite recipes. I enjoyed my one - I think the oil made it a lovely moist cake. And such a fun technique to play around with!

  4. I didn't make this exact recipe but I've made a zebra cake in the past and while it was visually appealing, the taste was mediocre. Maybe if you have a favorite vanilla cake, you can add cocoa to part of it and turn it into a zebra cake...just a thought :-)

  5. Your cake looks yummy. It probably was a little dense and harder to spread as you didn't use the oil. Looks delicious though.
    Interesting fact about the zebras :)

  6. My chocolate batter was a little hard to spread at the end, but it turned out ok. I thought it seemed like it was way too much baking powder as well, but went with it, it did dome quite a bit. I think next time I will try using my baking strips so it bakes more evenly :)

  7. Lovely zebra stripes Becca! I added some orange oil to boost the flavor and that helped.


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