First bake: chocolate orange and vanilla zebra cake

Chocolate orange and vanilla zebra cakeI 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.

Chocolate orange and vanilla zebra cake mix

Chocolate orange and vanilla zebra cake mix in tin

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!

Chocolate orange and vanilla zebra cakeTaste-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!

The recipe

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

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