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.