One of my favorite website to search for dessert recipes is homecookingadventure, and I literally went page by page diligently to look for recipes that I might be able to make (aka. easy enough for my “not so good baking skill”).
I have to admit that this was the first time that I made a cake, the first time that I owned a mixer, and the first time that I used a mixer in my whole entire life. All was because of this zebra cake recipe that really caught my attention, and I immediately made this cake the next day after I bought my mixer at 10 pm the night before. But hey, everyone says life begins at forty, so I decided to begin my baking adventure just months before I turn forty, hahaha………………..
Zebra cake was one of my favorite cake and I really loved the zebra or marble pattern of the cake. I really wanted to make this beautiful cake since long ago but was never really brave enough to try. My mom was very good at making cakes and she made us desserts, snacks, and even birthday cakes when we were little girls, and I always thought that it was a very difficult thing to do (there was no bread machine, food processor, or stand mixer back then), so I guess I was just to lazy to try, hahaha……………..
So now, back to the zebra cake recipe. One thing that I love from homecookingadventure is that the steps are explained clearly one by one, so I knew exactly what to do and when. I would skip recipes that were too difficult at that moment and only concentrated at the easiest thing to do (and that did not include recipes that asked to beat the egg white until soft peak or stiff peak because I still had to learn about that). Hey, one step at a time is better than nothing, rite?
When I brought this to church, my friends admired the pretty stripes and one of them who also did a lot of baking said that he found it difficult to create such layers. Actually, if you follow the recipe exactly step by step, this cake is not that difficult to make, but you have to be patience enough to create beautiful layers. For amateurs home baker like me, it is a big no no to try to modify recipes , and it is better save than sorry………………so just follow the recipe exactly as it is.
For the recipe, even the batter already tasted so good and I couldn’t stop licking the leftover batter in my spatula, especially the chocolate one because I loved chocolate so much. Although the batter was very sweet when I tried at first, but it was perfect after I finished the baking process and tried the cake. It was not too sweet which was just how we and most of our friends liked it.During the baking process, I couldn’t wait to see the cake cracked at the top and I was so nervous………………..and finally……………………..look at the beautiful crack on top of the cake…………..it’s just perfect. I just love if the cake cracks at the top………………..
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 200 gr butter cut in cubes, in room temperature
- 4 eggs in room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 cup milk
For the chocolate batter:
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (you should start preheating the oven at this point)
- Lightly grease with butter a 9 inch cake pan and line with parchment paper
- In a medium bowl, mix well 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 1/4 cup milk, and 1 tbsp sugar until the batter is smooth and has no lumps. Set aside
- In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix well with a spoon or a whisk. Set aside
- Mix butter with sugar until creamy with a hand mixer or stand mixer (I used speed 1 or the lowest speed on my stand mixer during the whole process)
- Add eggs one at a time and mix until well combined and the batter is smooth (look at the pictures below of when to add the eggs)
- Add vanilla extract to the batter
- Add 1/4 of the milk, mix for few seconds
- Add 1/4 of the flour mixture, mix for few seconds
- Repeat the process by alternately adding 1/4 part of the milk and 1/4 part of the flour mixture
- Continue mixing until all is well incorporated. During this process, scrape any flour mixture in the sides of the bowl with a spatula
- Divide batter into 2, then add the chocolate mixture to 1 part of the batter and gently whisk until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth
- To create the marbled effect, take 1 tbsp of the white batter and pour it in the middle of the pan. Over it, add 1 tbsp of chocolate batter. Repeat these steps all batter has been used
- Before placing the cake pan in the oven, tap the pan on the counter top 3 to 4 times to let the air bubbles pop
- Bake for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
- Tap the pan on the counter top again 3 to 4 times
- Remove from oven and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the pan
- After cutting the cake, cover the plate with clean clothes or keep in an airtight container
Notes: I recently got a new oven and it was a fan force oven. If you are baking in a fan force oven like mine, then lower the temperature to 140 Celsius degree. I chose conventional setting with top and lower heat in my oven. I put the pan in the second rack from bottom (there were 4 racks in total). The baking time remains the same (within 50 to 55 minutes). As you can see in the result below, the cake turned out fine and it didn’t crack as much as my first try (because it was a big oven, so the cake was placed quite far from the top of the oven, and that was why the cake didn’t crack so much).
I had trouble previously with my oven since I didn’t realize that it was a fan force, and even after that, I was still confused of why my bread and cake got burn easily. So the tip is, for a fan force oven, reduce the temperature by 20 Celsius degree. The baking time remains the same.