I was casually lounging around in front of the TV one Saturday when a mention of ‘zebra cake’ made my ears perk up. I was a little disappointed that it didn’t seem to be an actual zebra-shaped cake, but it was pretty impressive anyway – to the point where I thought I’d try it as an early birthday cake for my boyfriend/guinea pig.
The cake was actually a ‘crouching tiger, hidden zebra cake’ invented by Lorraine Pascale and featured on a recent repeat of Fast, Fresh and Easy Food. It’s so-called because the top of the cake is meant to look like tiger stripes with the orange and dark brown, while the inside looks like a zebra thanks to the white and dark brown stripes within.
This amazing appearance is created through some slight faffing; you make separate vanilla and chocolate orange mixes (like you would with a marble cake), but instead of bunging both in the tin and randomly swirling them around for a marble effect, you spoon a little of each mix into the centre of the tin, taking care to alternate between the two.
By carefully spooning a little mix in the middle of a blob of the other mix, you create a target-like effect as the mixes slowly spread out towards the edges of the tin. As you can see from the picture above, I wasn’t quite as neat as I’d have liked! This picture was taken when I’d used about a third of the mixes, but bear in mind I had to use a slightly smaller tin than the one specified. I mysteriously ended up with more vanilla than chocolate orange, so I made some orange drizzle fairy cakes with the leftover vanilla mix.
Once you’ve used up both mixes, you simply bake until the cake is nicely risen. It took me a little longer to get there than the recipe states, but that’s because of using a smaller tin and therefore having to contend with a taller cake!
I was a little disappointed that the top of the cake wasn’t quite as stunning as Lorraine Pascale’s, but it still looked slightly tiger-ish! I was more pleased with the inside of the cake – there were definitely zebra stripes there, messy as they were!
Taste-wise, this was a rather delicious cake. I would probably add more orange zest for a tangier flavour next time, but it was still great with the amount I put in. The cake replaces butter with sunflower oil, presumably to make the mix easier to spoon neatly into the tin, but this also created a lighter, fluffier texture that was rather pleasing.
This is definitely a cake to consider if you want to make something that looks a little different! If the top of your cake doesn’t quite go to plan, you could always make a chocolate orange buttercream to hide it!
Available on Lorraine Pascale’s website here: http://www.lorrainepascale.com/news/2013/04/29/sweet-treats-for-a-sweet-tooth-in-the-sun-on-sunday/6069