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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Zebra cakes

Sometimes I'm foolish.  Hard to believe, right?  Me, the professional + doctoral student + type A personality, foolish?  Yes, sometimes I am.

See, it started out a few days ago when I was unsure of what I'd bake this weekend.  See, I don't have anything to bake for.  No birthday parties, baby showers, pot-lucks....well, you get the picture.  Without an event to bake for, I turned to my JulieBakes Facebook page and asked my "fans" what they thought I should bake.  A few reponded (note: you can still vote....like JulieBakes on facebook and answer the question - it's on the top left), so I'm giving it some more time. But I wanted to make something today (those fruit snacks I made last night were tasty - and addictive - but didn't quench my desire to make something in the kitchen). 

So today I decided to make something else.  Was it one of the things I had suggested on my Facebook poll?  Nope.  Was it something no-bake, considering today's high was 97 degrees in New York City?  No, that would've been smart.  It was a Zebra Bundt Cake that I had been eyeing for, well, forever.  But did I stop at that?  You guessed it...but nope.  I made Mini Zebra Bundt Cakes.  And when I had leftover batter, I made a Zebra Cake, too.

So there I was, standing in my hot scorching  (97 degrees out + no AC in the kitchen + oven preheating to 350F) kitchen, layering not one, but six mini bundt cakes, and wondering what exactly I was thinking when I set out to start this project.

But, despite my foolishness (and yes, it was foolish), the cakes came out adorable, and tasty, too!
Left: top view of zebra Cake; Right: inside of zebra cake
Below: slice of zebra cake atop the cake

How cool would it be to ice this cake, then slice into it, and have the surprise zebra pattern inside?!

Mini Zebra Bundt Cakes (and a Zebra cake, too)
(from Zebra Bundt Cakes - and follow this link for how to layer the cakes to make the zebra appearance - note the original has a beautiful powdered sugar sprinkling topped with a lovely chocolate gaze, but I didn't have the time or patience to make it given the temperature in the kitchen, although the next time I make this cake - and I will - I will definitely make the glaze and decorate the cake with the powdered sugar and glaze)



3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder
6 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk (I used skim since that's what I had)

Glaze (I didn't use it but it looks good!)

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream


Make the Cake:

Preheat overn to 350F

Sift flour baking powder and salt into a bowl; set aside.

In a separate medium size bowl add in ½ cup of sugar, the cocoa powder, and water then whisk until mixture is smooth; set aside.

Place melted butter and sugar in a stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium high until mixture is blended, about 1 minute.
Add in vanilla and beat until combined.
Add eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition.
Once all eggs are added, beat mixture until it becomes light and fluffy.

Turn mixer speed down to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions and mixing just until blended.

Add 2 cups of the batter to the cocoa mixture and stir until blended.

Using an ice cream scoop, pour two scoops of vanilla mixture into pan (since I made mini cakes, I used smaller amounts at a time). Now alternate and pour one scoop of chocolate mixture on top of vanilla mixture. Continue to alternate between vanilla and chocolate layers until bundt pan is filled.

Bake zebra bundt cake for 50-60 minutes at 350F or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (my mini bundt cakes took about 25-30 minutes.  The mini cake took literally forever, and I ended up pulling it out with the top center still wet but the rest of the cake almost burnt). Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely.

To Make Glaze:

Place chocolate and cream in a pan over low heat and stir until chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes before using.

Assemble: Pour the glaze on top and let glaze set, about 30 minutes. Slice and serve.


  1. Sounds delicious. I was just telling Marc that I wanted to bake a cake especially after watching America's test kitchen (caramel cake and chiffon cake). I just might have try your zebra bundt cake. Only one problem i don't have a bundt pan. I might have to go shopping!

  2. Meg, I updated the post with pictures of the cake made in a regular cake pan, too. Mine is quite thick, but if you made it in two 8" or 9" round cake pans (or even a square), it should bake up more evenly and it would look awesome. Imagine a two layer cake iced in chocolate or vanilla icing and then surprise....zebra cake inside!