Friday, 22 March 2013

Two for One Zebra Cakes

Zebra Cake Number One



This vanilla and chocolate zebra cake, decorated with basket weave piping using dark chocolate fudge icing is for a very lovely friend to wish her all the best with a new career, sad as I am for myself that I will be seeing less of her, I am so happy that she is moving a step closer to realising the ambitions she has worked and studied, so many years for. She truly is quite an inspiration.

One of the nice things about being someone that bakes, is that when a special gift is required, for a certain special someone, there is usually a special cake I can conjure up. I couldn't decide, what cake would be special enough for this momentous occasion. My lovely friend, mentioned casually one day (aka as dropping a not very subtle hint) how much she liked this Dark Chocolate fudge icing, so I took the hint and tried to decide what cake should go underneath. I think actually she would have been happy with just a tub of the icing, but, I rather felt it should be carried to her mouth on a delicious and stunning cake.

After much searching, I was finally inspired by a zebra cake in the current issue of sweet magazine (this is a newish magazine from the folks that publish Mollie Makes). The recipe featured is by Lily Vanilly, you can find it here. Underneath this chocolate fudge icing is a three layer six inch zebra cake.


I have never made a zebra cake before, so was quite nervous and a little sceptical embarking on this recipe. The zebra effect is made by splitting the cake mix into two and adding different flavours or colours to each part of the mix. For this cake, chocolate and vanilla.

Then the cake mix is added to the tins, in alternating scoops of each mix, into the centre of the cake pan each time. I used quarter cup measures to scoop the cake mix with. You don't need to be particularly accurate and the zebra effect appears as if my magic during cooking. To see if the zebra effect worked for my cake, you'll have to scroll down to the bottom. (I probably wouldn't be showing you if it hadn't!)

Decoration

By special request, this cake features dark chocolate fudge icing, it is the same icing used for my Dark Chocolate and Banana Rose cake and you can find it here.


The icing is really easy to make, as long as you make sure that all of the chocolate has melted, if not, you can get lumps that get stuck in your icing tip / nozzle when you pipe it. The only difficult thing, with this icing, is trying to work out the exact moment when it has thickened enough, but not too much to be able to pipe. I think, I went a little too soon with this one, hence, my piping became a session of tilt roulette as I had to tilt my turntable to get the icing onto the cake,  without the cake sliding off.

This basket weave effect is piped with a Wilton 1D and the swirl border with a Wilton 2D. To find out how to pipe basket weave, take a look at my Lavender and Coconut Cake.

Zebra Cake Number Two

So, after filling my three six inch pans for the above cake about two thirds full, I still had quite a lot of cake batter left, so I quickly grabbed a seven inch cake pan and carried on scooping. Below is the seven inch cake, as baked. Just look at all those lovely stripes.

This cake had quite a dome on it and trimming it would have made it considerably smaller, I did just trim it a little, little bit and then decided to pipe chocolate roses on the top as this compliments the domed shape beautifully.


After the success of the zebra cake, I was in the mood for experimenting, so decided to try a whipped ganache to top this second cake. I had read about this often, but, have never tried it. I have to tell you that this whipped chocolate ganache tastes like the most luxurious premium chocolate ice cream (except that it is not frozen, obviously!)



I started piping the roses in the centre, working outwards and then over-piping another rose on top of the one in the middle. This cake is piped with an Ateco 887 nozzle and I ran out of whipped ganache before finishing the sides, which is why I have smoothed them off.



And here it is, the cut slice of the zebra cake with all its zebra stripes revealed. I am really rather happy with this cake and busily planning what other combinations of zebra cake I can maybe make



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