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Bake: Zebra Cake

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Nothing is more fascinating than animal print. Today, in French class, we had to choose three animals we could be if we could be any animal (part of a psychological analysis, since we’re learning about expressions and personality right now). Well I chose a jaguar, a lion, and a kangaroo. Jaguars simply have amazing coats and lions have amazing mane. Kangaroos, well, they have amazing pouches. Yes, I am fascinated by these physical traits.

In the world of animals, lions are like Farrah Fawcett, you know? Gorgeous mane. Jaguars are like the rich girl who is always clad in luxurious clothes (and who drives a Jaguar ;)). And kangaroos are sort of like the quirky little girls who aren’t afraid to wear a giant pocket on their tummy. Zebras, well, zebras are like the shy, tragic things. The only reason I didn’t choose zebra as  one of my animals was because zebras are much too likely to get eaten. I simply can’t tolerate the thought of my intestines being eaten out. Zebras have beautiful stripes. They have majestic gallops too. It’s just that the lions and jaguars always get to them so they never get to be much in the animal world.

In honor of these tragic but beautiful animals, I baked a zebra cake. Okay, I’m lying. I didn’t bake a zebra cake because zebras are beautiful. I baked a zebra cake because it looked fun and challenging!

When I first saw this recipe, I was in awe. I thought back to all those Chinese bakeries and pastry shops in Taiwan and Los Angeles that sold swirled cakes and things like that. I had always wondered how people could make patterns in cakes. Well, the answer came in one of my favorite food blogs ever, Annie’s Eats.

Zebra Cake (Sightly Adapted from Annies’ Eats)

4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 ½ tbsp. cocoa powder


Preheat the oven to 350°.  Line a 9-inch round cake pan with a circle of parchment paper.  Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar until mixture is light and creamy and the sugar has been mostly dissolved.  Stir in milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and almond extracts.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Pour into wet ingredients and whisk to combine.  Measure out just over two cups of vanilla batter and put it back into the medium bowl.  Sift cocoa powder over the bowl and whisk until fully incorporated.

Put 3 tablespoons of vanilla batter into the center of the pan and let it spread slightly on its own.  Put 3 tablespoons of chocolate batter in the center of the vanilla.  It will push out the other and, as it sits for a moment, will also spread itself.  Alternating spoonfuls of the two batters, repeat the technique until all the batter has been used up.

Bake for 38-42 minutes, until the cake is light gold and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out the cake and remove the parchment paper.  Reinvert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.  Frost if desired.

I didn’t bother frosting the cake. It looked so nice already! With the rings of chocolate and vanilla emanating outwards like ripples. Who needs to frost it? It actually isn’t half as complicated as it looks. Well anyways, there is still some zebra cake remaining since I did manage to control my appetite. And, of course, I saved a virtual slice for you:


About Natalie C.

A college graduate in molecular biology eagerly awaiting the commencement of my quest for the luxurious yet completely impractical hood that one receives at a Doctorate graduation ceremony.

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