When I first saw the zebra cake I was intrigued. How in the world did they get the dark stripes in between the lighter ones? Google answered my questions, as usual. It took me to Farida's blog where, with great precision, she has given a step by step explanation of how the stripes fall next to each other.
Here's the recipe :
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup oil
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbs baking powder
2 tbs dark cocoa powder *
Liberally grease a 9" round cake pan. I used cooking spray.
In a large bowl, beat 4 eggs one by one. Add sugar and whisk until the mixture is creamy.
Add vanilla, oil and milk and continue whisking until well blended.
Sift flour (I used maida) and baking powder and combine in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, little by little and blend as you add. If you add all at once and blend, the flour will fly all over. You don't want the additional work of cleaning the mess! Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl so that the mixture is evenly blended.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Divide the batter equally into two containers. To one, add 2 tbs of *cocoa powder and mix well. Farida cleary mentions that you should avoid using natural unsweetened cocoa - for two reasons, one, it is bitter and two, the stripes will be pale as compared to the darker stripes you'd want. I used Ghiradelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa. Next time I will probably try some other dutch processed cocoa powder to get a deeper shade. Btw, I tasted both the unsweetend cocoa and the sweetened, and the unsweetened is definitely bitter, so the sweetened is surely better :).
So now you have one portion of batter for the dark stripes and another for the cream stripes. Take two ladles that hold abt 3 to 4 tbsps of batter. Pour one ladleful of dark batter into the middle of the 9" pan. Pour a ladleful of cream batter right on top of the dark batter. What the second batter does is, it pushes the first batter and lays on top of it, such that the first batter spreads in the pan. You don't have to spread the batter manually. Alternate with the dark and cream batter like so:
I was holding the camera with my left hand and pouring the batter with my right, so as I was pouring I had to make sure the camera was focussing well. And I took a lot of pictures. So that was quite an adventure! Next time, the cameras will be off. I definitely want to do a better job with the stripes!
Now very carefully place the pan into the oven. Make sure you don't tilt it as you place it.
Bake for 40 to 45 mts, or until a fork inserted comes out clean.
I did not want to top it with any icing, since the stripes themselves are a treat to the eyes.
Since this is eaten straight out of the oven, I'm sending this post to the Bake -Off event organised my Champa.