The Rainbow Zebra Cake

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

As food bloggers everywhere will tell you, we keep a list of “to-try-one-day” recipes. A list that probably never ends.

But every once in a while, the recipe I’ve bookmarked starts buzzing around in my brain like a whiny mosquito and I cannot rest until I bake that sucker out.

This rainbow/zebra/marble cake was one of them. I first saw the technique on Lily Ng’s blog, but the recipe was for a steamed cake that wouldn’t go down well with the fam.

Then I saw it on the Food Librarian’s blog, but this time for a baked cake – and one of the comments mentioned making them as cupcakes. Yes! Time to get cracking.

I didn’t follow the recipes given on the other blogs, instead I started out with a basic cupcake recipe by Margaret Fulton. This in turn is really her basic buttercake recipe with a little bit more milk. You can watch this doyen of Australian cooking making her basic butter cake here.

Once the cake batter was made, I divided it into three parts and added my natural flavourings. They were:

  • Yellow/cake colour – 1 tablespoon lemon juice + grated rind of half a lemon 
  •  Pink – About 2 tablespoons strawberry puree (leftover from this recipe and frozen). To make strawberry puree, I gently simmered a punnet of washed and hulled strawberries (about 250g) until the juices were released and the fruit had gone all mushy. I squished the fruit with a fork and kept a slow heat on until the juices reduced. The resulting mixture was pushed through a sieve to get a thick, highly flavoured puree. (I think better results can be probably achieved if frozen fruit is used – it releases more juice)
  • Purple – 2 tablespoons blueberry puree. I started with half a cup of blueberries and simmered and sieved as above.

Then I layered the mix in greased and lined large muffin pans. As I was doing this, I realised that the batter really needed to be a bit more “runny” so I added milk to each of the separate batters until I achieved a slightly “wetter” consistency. How much milk to add depends on the original “wetness” of the batter – eg the lemon juice one was “wetter” than the strawberry one for me.

Start with a dollop of one colour, then layer each colour on top of the first layer, alternating as you go. The Food Librarian has better step by step photos so do have a look at the technique to see how it’s done.

I think I put too much batter in the pans and managed to get ultra peaked cakes.

After a bit of judicious “trimming” and some glace icing flavoured with lemon juice, they didn’t look too bad at all.

Flavourwise, it tasted lemony with a hint of “something” but the “something” wasn’t well defined. I’d definitely do this one again with more fruit puree instead of milk and hopefully be able to get a really fruity flavoured cake.


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

They look so cute! I get like that and sometimes I just have to rush to the store to make something that day lol

Anh said...

Very cute!! :) The kids would love it I bet?

shaz said...

Thanks Lorraine - I've had those days too :)

Thanks Anh - they did. I'm itching to try your Zebra bread too by the way - might be a school holiday project

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love that pretty marbling!

For a foodie, there are so many things to try that you'll need 10 lives in order to cook and bake everything that you've bookmarked!!!



Liz said...

Super cool! I bet they looked awesome when you bit into them, too.

And I know just what you mean--my to-bake list is getting dangerously long, with no relief in sight...

Hungry Dog said...

Very cute! You're so good at going the distance with these complicated recipes. You did a great job!

shaz said...

Thanks Rosa! I think I need two ovens!
Thanks Liz - I can't see the bottom of my list.
Thanks Hungry Dog - but it's actually not as compilcated as it looks, it's just a different way of "marbling"

dessert girl said...

So pretty! I love striped cake!

shaz said...

Thanks dessett girl :)