Sunday, February 8, 2009


The zebra cake is achieved through such simple means that the fascination lies not in its complexity of design but in its simplicity of method. It is truly an achievement of maximum effect through minimum means.

Add a moist deliciousness to that and you will have a cake that will awe, surprise and satisfy many. I stumbled upon the zebra cake on a lovely blog by Farida called and since then I have made it twice with the most pleasing and gratifying results that never fails to humour and entertain me no end with its uncanny resemblance to zebras. Thank you Farida!

But this time around I had replaced milk with cream and that alone had added on an extra dose of delectable moistness. The level of sweetness I have to say was just perfect in the sense that I did not have to grapple with my conscience each time I sunk my teeth into it. Of course the cream was a terribly sneaky move but I went ahead anyway because there's no butter in this recipe. It uses vegetable oil instead.

For all you zebra lovers out there here's the recipe.....

4 large eggs
1 cup castor sugar
1 cup milk (I used cream)
1 cup vegetable oil ( Iused canola oil)
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder, sifted

Grease and flour a 9 inch baking pan well. Turn the oven on to 170 C.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and keep aside. Beat eggs and sugar together with a balloon whisk or the whisk attachment of your mixer until pale and creamy. Add the oil, milk/cream and vanilla essence and beat until well mixed. Turn down the speed to low and add the sifted flour and baking powder mixture and beat until just incorporated. Do not over whisk as you do not want to work up the gluten which will toughen the cake nor do we want too much air bubbles in the final mixture.

Take out just over 2 cups of the mixture and put it in another bowl and add the sifted cocoa powder to it and mix until the cocoa is well incorporated.

Scoop 3 tablespoons of the vanilla batter into the prepared cake pan, followed immediately by 3 tablespoons of the chocolate batter right in the centre of the vanilla batter and continue alternating the batters like so until they are finished.

There is no need to wait for each blob of batter to spread, there's no need to tilt or tap the pan at all. The batter will spread itself out naturally and as you add more batter the lines will become finer.

As soon as the process is completed place the pan in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Invert, slice and enjoy your zebra cake!


terri@adailyobsession said...

wow, this is beautiful! do u mean u just add alternative scoops one on top of the other, each time in the center?

btw, about the seaweed crackers, pls go to my water chestnut gao poat n click on 'nee'. if u need further details, pls shout!

Denise ^ ChickyEGG said...

so beautiful! u know what, U can start writing up a recipe book oredI!

Denise ^ ChickyEGG said...

hey, ya I like smitten kitchen blog as much as I like yours.

by the way, what's the difference between butter squash & pumpkin ??? do they taste the same?

zurin said...

Terri, yes just 3 tablespoons of each batter alternately one on top of the other smack in the centre...and let the batter do the rest of the work. no tapping, no tilting nothing. Hope u try it!

Ok ill check it out n il surely shout if I need anything :D

Denise , ehhh even my blog im geting lazy oredi....lolol

oh yes i like smitten ...i love ur blog too!

as far as I know pumpkn is coarser in texture than squash ..other than that they are fromthe same family and can be replaced with each other...Ive not tried butternut squash tho...but I believ their taste depends on the colour....hope that helps...:)

Shuk Yee said...

This would definitley impress my son ! Am not familiar with cup measurements though. Would you be kind enough to provide metric measurement ? Tx tx tx for sharing this lovely recipe

zurin said...

Shuk Yee , Hi! thanks for visiting and very happy to know that u'll be attempting this recipe. here are the measurements ..

200 gm sugar
250 ml milk
250 ml vege oil
200 gm flour

I am using the conversion from 'the cake bible' by rose levy beranbaum. happy baking! n ur most welcome. PS : The ratio of sugar to flour is correct here altho in the cup measurements it appears as if there is more of flour.

Juli Herman said...

ahh why didn't i check here?? LOL ohh so that's how!...

zurin said...

xactly! Iwas wondering why! LOLOL..

Shuk Yee said...

Tks for the metric measurements. I've already made the first attempt last nite. I made it in a bread maker. As I used 225g of flour, it was slightly dry but still ok. I could only get "whipping cream" so that's what I used - is it the correct one ? Or should I have used fresh dairy cream?? If I used fresh milk instead of cream, what difference would it make ?

zurin said...

Shuk Yee, glad u tried it! I used cream for whipping (not Whipped cream). I think u used the same...Cream has more fat content than milk so it makes the cake more moist.Hope that helps. Did the stripes come out nicely?

Shuk Yee said...

The stripes did come out quite nicely overall altho it looks better in some part and less in other parts (cos I didnt use a round tin). I am now going to get a measuring cup to make my life (and life of others like youself) easier. ( I hope there is no such things as a US or UK measuring cup; if there is I will just both !!).

zurin said...

I hate to tell u this but there is a difference between US an UK cups BUT just get any measuring cups around that are for sale. Thats what i use.Oh Do try the banana choc chip cake...heaven.. I dont dare make it too often cos I ll finish off the whole loaf myself within the day! let me know how it turns out ok.

cyndi said...

Hi, I tried your zebra cake recipe today and it was unsuccessful :( I look thru you recipe many times but I could not find out what's wrong until I check the recipe at The flour used should be 300gm instead of 200gm.

Zurin said...

Hi Cyndi,

Im so sorry ur cake did not turn out well.

The recipe I published says 2 cups of flour not 200 grams. I checked an online recipe ingredient convertor and it says that 2 cups of plain flour is 9 ounces or about 250-260 gms.

I also went back to the blog that I got the recipe from ..

and it says 2 cups of flour and in brackets she wrote 300 gm.

WHen I made it I did not weigh my ingredients but used a measuring cup and so I measured out 2 cups of flour as per the recipe. And the cake is what is shown in the photo.

So sorry for the confusion.

I hope you will be successful next time and will try again. Thank you for alerting me. :)

cyndi said...

Hi Zurin,
Thank you so much for replying on my comment..Sorry, I did not make it clear to you. In one of your reply to Shuk Yee, you mentioned that the conversion of flour from cup to gram was 200gm. That's why I used 200gm on my 1st attempt. Today I made another attempt using AZ Cookbook recipe. It turned out that the batter was too thin and I had to add another 2tbsp of flour on top of the 300gm. The result was rather successful except that the cake texture is dense and it dome with big cracks in the centre. Any idea what could have caused this? I am contemplating should I use melted butter instead of corn oil on my next attempt :)

cyndi said...

Hi Zurin,
Sorry, I got one more thing to check with you...I noticed you had added salt in your recipe. May I know the effect of adding salt for this recipe?

Zurin said...


oh dear. One of the reasons cakes dome high and crack in the centre is because the oven could be too hot or the cake tin too small or both.Perhaps you shd use a slightly larger tin. How big was your tin? Too much baking powder cld also be one of the causes. Im not sure if using melted butter wld improve the texture of the cake but it will affect teh taste. It will taste buttery.

Yes I do see now that i mentioned 200 gm to Shuk Yee. I remember now that I used the Cake Bible conversion. But it seems that she used 225 gm of flour instead and was relatively successful.

Perhaps you shd just use measuring cups instead of weighing the ingredients next time and see how it turns out.

Hope I was of some help :) Do let me know the results of your next attempt.

Zurin said...


Salt in sweet cakes balances out the sweetness. I find it quite important to use salt even in sweet cakes. The cakes tastes much better and 'rounder ' instead of simply being sweet. I use salt even in sweet malay cakes.

cyndi said...

Hi Zurin,
Thanks for your explanation. Now I understand why there is salt added in some cakes recipe :) Back to the Zebra cake. I used a 8 inch round tin. Is it too small? When baking,I used an oven thermometer to ensure that the temperature is between 170C to 180C. During the last 10mins of baking, I even reduce it to 160C. However, I still get a layer of hard crust on this cake. Did your zebra cake had a layer of thick crust on it?

cyndi said...

And yes...I was thinking that maybe I should use the 'cup' measurement instead of 'grams'on my next attempt. Will update you again :)

Zurin said...


I used a 9 inch pan.So try using a 9 inch pan. It cld make a difference. It cld also be that the heat in your oven is not even. Next time try covering the cake with a piece of aluminium foil halfway thru baking. It helps the top of the cake from browning too quickly. And are u using proper measuring spoons for your baking powder?

Yes do try with measuring cups nxt time. Let me know how it turns out k. :)

cyndi said...

Thanks Zurin for your precious advice, I will try them the next time I bake :) and yes I did use a measuring spoon for the baking soda. I substitute baking powder with 1 tsp of baking soda as mentioned in AZ Cookbook recipe. I wonder if that makes a difference too? I was told by a baking shop assistant that double-acting baking powder is the same as baking powder except that the former rises slowly. What's your opinion on this?

Zurin said...


I wld strongly suggest that you use baking powder instead of baking soda. Baking soda tends to brown the cakes more than baking powder.

ANd yes teh shop assistant is right about double action baking powder.

let me know about your next try :)

Strezzy said...

Hi Zurin, may I ask whether can I use Paul's thickened cream for this recipe please? Not sure what kind of whipping cream you used for this cake, I mean like anchor or rich topping cream?

Thank you ;)

Zurin said...

Hi Strezzy, So sorry for the delay in replying..Ive been off the computer for the past few days.
In answer to your question : yes you can use Pauls thickened cream or any other as long as its not whipped.

In other words do not use the ready whipped cream form the can. It wouldnt be disastrous but i cannot garuntee you how the cake would turn out if you do :)

tq for your interestn hope the cake turns out well :)...Zurin


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