This visually striking cake is not tricky to make at all, I promise!
But do you know what is tricky? Being a non-football fan (“footy” or AFL) here in Australia, during a Grand Final. The footy fan’s insatiable appetite for football is much like a zombie’s appetite for brains. Mrehhhh….. BRAINZZZ.
The Footy virus, Footballus Terribulus, infects the masses and spreads, seizing control. Citizens shed their exoskeletons for gaudy team jerseys, main roads are barricaded and streets burst with mental screaming one-eyed fans. It’s the apocalypse.
Seasoned footy-noobs such as myself usually hide indoors during the infestation.
Feeling brave, however, I strayed from the safe confines of my room to a homely community market filled with crocheted cardigans, pot-plants, and baked goods. There I was, innocently eyeing off the jams and preserves at a cake stall when the unassuming elderly provedore cornered me:
“Who ya goin for this weekend luv? Saints or Pies? Carn the Pies!!!!”
Aagh!!!! The plague had spread beyond my safety-zone, to the humble Cake Stall. My final footy refuge was violated! I care for Caramels, not Collingwood. Sweet pies, not Magpies. Rawr.
But I accept I’m in a minority, and as a peace-offering I thought it best to build a bridge between the footy lovers and haters. A bridge made of cake. Tasty, tasty, cake. Rendered in the hues of St Kilda, because really, who wants to shame themselves by being a Pies supporter? (See, I’ve learnt a few things).
And it looks like I have another week to brush up on how this football thing works. You see, last week’s Grand Final ended in a draw. Unlike every other commonsense sport on the planet, there is no overtime to decide a winner on the day. Instead, both teams return the following week and do it all over again. Amazeballs.
Anyhoo, back to important things: CAKE. The uber-cool stripe effect is achieved by dropping tablespoons of coloured batter on top of each other. As you continue, the batter naturally spreads itself out to the edges of the pan.
While this cake is definitely a winner in the looks department, it’s a little lacklustre in the taste department without a wallop of extra flavour. The texture is delightful on account of all the oil and milk needed to achieve the spreading consistency, but it needs a hearty whack of flavour added. I suggest a few drops of peppermint or orange oil would be excellent. Definitely don’t change the liquid content or increase the dry ingredients too much, or the batter becomes too heavy for the effect to happen.
Zebra Marble Cake
2 large Eggs
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Almond extract (or other flavouring)
1 cup Plain flour
1 tablespoon Cornflour
1/2 tablespoon Baking powder
Pinch of Salt
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Black gel food colouring
Red gel food colouring
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a 20cm cake tin with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, mix the egg and sugar until mixture is pale yellow and creamy. Stir in milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and almond extracts. Pour sifted flour, baking powder and salt into the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined.
Split the batter into three separate bowls. To one bowl, whisk in sifted cocoa powder and enough black food colouring to achieve a dark black colour. To the second bowl add red food colouring and stir until the colour is mixed evenly through the batter. Leave the last bowl plain vanilla.
To make the rings, you will need a different tablespoon for each colour. Put 2 tablespoons of vanilla batter into the center of the pan and let it spread slightly on its own. Put 2 tablespoons of chocolate batter in the center of the vanilla. It will push out the other batter and, as it sits for a moment, will also start to spread. Then put 2 tablespoons of red batter in the center of the black. Alternating spoonfuls of the three colours, keep repeating the technique. The batter will slowly spread to the edges of the pan on its own. As you reach the last few dollops (the batter will stop spreading) reduce the batter quantity to one tablespoon.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cake is light gold and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out the cake on to a wire rack, leaving it to cool the right-way up.
(Recipe adapted from Baking Bites)