Monday, November 08, 2010

7. Zebra Cake

I was in the mode to bake this past weekend, but what I did not know. For an unknown reason I have been wanting peanut butter all week. So, at first I was going to make (and still probably will in the next few weeks) peanut butter cookies with peanut butter filling, dipped in chocolate. The only thing holding me back was that I felt it was more than time to complete another item off my top 100 list.

After scanning over the list several times, nothing really jumped out at me. I wanted to be a lazy baker this weekend. I wanted it to be homemade, but did not feel like going through some complicated process. Finally, I laid my eyes upon the Zebra Cake recipe. The recipe looked simple enough; it was more about taking time to properly layer the batter than any complicated techniques. So, I decided game on. Oh, did I mention I had everything needed to make this cake already in the pantry? I was definitely sold when I did not have to stop by the grocery store on the way home from work Friday.

I could not sleep Saturday morning and woke-up super early in the morning. After watching TV and crocheting, I decided to tackle this cake about 6am. It was easy enough to mix the batter together and I found myself testing my patience to go only pour a few table spoons of each batter at a time. I must admit, I thought it would be easy, but my technique was severely lacking. I kept dripping batter of one color into the other. So, my zebra cake was not perfect, but it still had the intended effect.

Flavor wise, the cake is not too sweet with a mild chocolate flavor. It was super moist. Because the cake was not too sweet and the top was not visually appealing with all the cracks, I decided to whip up a quick Cocoa Buttercream, which became Salted Cocoa Buttercream after I was too liberal with the salt in the frosting.

All in all it was super yummy and I am proud to say that it all made it out of my house over the weekend (without my house members having to be the sole consumers :-)

Recipe adapted from AZ CookBook
And originally inspired by Sugar Coated Bliss

4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 cup oil (corn, vegetable or canola is fine)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 scant tablespoon of baking powder
3 tablespoons cocoa powder


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Using a hand-held electric mixer or wire whisk beat until the mixture is creamy and light in color

2. Add milk and oil, and continue beating until well blended.

3. In a separate bowl, combine and mix flour, vanilla powder and baking powder. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat just until the batter is smooth and the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. DO NOT OVERBEAT to prevent air pockets from forming in the batter.

4. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions. Keep one portion plain. Add cocoa powder into another and mix well. If the cocoa better becomes too thick, add a little water until it is the same consistency of the plain batter. It is important that both batters be liquidy to create the correct rippling effect.

5. Preheat the oven to 350F.

6. Lightly grease the pan with oil. If you don’t have non-stick baking pan, grease whatever pan you have then line it with parchment paper (baking paper). I used an 8x3in baking pan, but the recipe is for a 9x2in pan.

7. The most important part is assembling the cake batter in a baking pan. Scoop 3 heaped tablespoons of plain batter (you can also use a ladle that would hold 3 tablespoons) into the middle of the baking pan. Then scoop 3 tablespoons of cocoa batter and pour it in the center on top of the plain batter. IMPORTANT! Do not stop and wait until the previous batter spreads – KEEP GOING! Do not spread the batter or tilt the pan to distribute the mixture. It will spread by itself and fill the pan gradually. Continue alternating the batters until you finish them.

8. Bake in the oven for about 60 minutes in the 8 inch pan and 40 minutes in the 9 inch pan. To check if the cake is ready, insert a toothpick into the center. It should come out clean when ready. Remove from the oven.

9. Frost the cake if you desire. I mixed together softened butter, cocoa, powdered sugar, vanilla, warm milk, and salt to make the quick and impromptu Salted Cocoa Buttercream pictured above.


  1. Your cake turned out great! You're right about a person's patience being tested when pouring the batter into the pan! :)

    Sugar Addict (

  2. Wow!!! Interesting name "Zebra Cake". Also looks nice and yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will surely try this out.

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