It’s week 4 of summer holidays, it’s raining, and the Little Bears are bored. We’ve watched TV. We’ve played trains. We’ve stomped in puddles. We’ve made playdough angry birds. We’ve watched some more TV. We’ve been to soft play. It’s all getting a little bit tedious, and everything is getting steadily louder as the Little Bears get more and more loquacious. But there is always one thing that will let silence descend on the Bear house again, if only for a couple of minutes, and that is cake batter. There is definitely something important about being allowed to lick the spoon (and the bowl) as a child. It’s one of those little things you’ll remember when you grow up.
So this is not only a recipe for a Chocolate and Vanilla Zebra cake, it’s a recipe for 5 minutes peace. The beauty of this cake is you need two bowls, with equal amounts of batter in, which means that the Little Bears get a whole bowl each to lick, and Mummy Bear gets a much needed cup of tea which can be drunk whilst still hot. It’s the simple things in life!
Chocolate and Vanilla Zebra Cake (Recipe taken from Lorraine’s Fast, Fresh and Easy Food)
For the initial batter:
250ml vegetable oil
250g Castor sugar
100ml semi skimmed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
175g Self Raising Flour
For the vanilla batter:
175g Self Raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
For the chocolate batter:
25g cocoa powder (I used Green and Blacks organic cocoa)
125g Self Raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
In a mixing bowl combine the ingredients for the initial batter, using a wooden spoon. An added bonus of this recipe is that because it is such a liquid batter, then it can all be mixed quickly, and by hand.
Split the batter in two by pouring some out into another bowl. I am lucky in that I have two identical mixing bowls, so I used the weighing scales to measure exactly half the batter, but it could easily be split using volumes in a measuring jug because it is such a liquid batter at this stage.
In the first of the two bowls, add the extra ingredients for the vanilla batter, and then combine using a hand whisk. in the second of the two bowls, add the ingredients for the chocolate batter, and again combine with a hand whisk. Fill one piping bag with the vanilla batter, and a second piping bag with the chocolate batter. Pass the empty mixing bowls to your children. Because I didn’t have any piping bags (still) I had to improvise this part with sandwich bags and clips so it became a little bit messy.
Snip a small hole in the point of the piping bags (or sandwich bags in my case) and pipe a small dollop of chocolate batter in the centre of an 8 inch round cake tin. Follow this by piping a dollop of the vanilla batter inside the chocolate batter already in the cake tin. Repeat this by piping another chocolate dollop inside the vanilla one. Each alternate dollop will push out the previous one towards the edge of the tin, resulting in a tin full of concentric chocolate and vanilla batter rings.
Bake in the centre of a preheated oven at 170C for approximately 50 minutes. If you notice the top of the cake becoming golden before the inside is cooked, cover the top of the cake tin with a piece of tin foil to protect it, and pop it back in the oven until fully cooked through. (Use the clean knife test to check). Remove from the oven and leave to cool before removing from the tin. If you’re impatient like me, pop the cake outside to cool as it will cool it faster, especially with this weather!
You can see some of the Zebra stripes on the cake crust, but it is the inside of the cake that is really impressive. If I had more time and less children, it would have been delicious covered in chocolate ganache, but Big Bear and Baby Bear were far too impatient in demanding cake NOW (the batter bowls had been well and truly licked clean buy this point) so I cut up the ‘naked’ cake instead!
In The Great British Bake Off this week they has to bake a cake with a hidden design…. well this isn’t very hidden, but it is pretty awesome looking when you cut into it!
Mummy Bear x