First things first - this blog has undergone some growing pains lately and with the exception of a few tweaks, I think we're in good shape. My little home on the web, formerly known as Fleur d'Elise, is now If You Give a Girl a Cookie. (You can read all about the reasons behind the big switch here.) All the previous postings and links will automatically be redirected so you won't miss a beat!
Now, let's chat about that adorable banner up there at the top - it was dreamed up and created by Jen Silard of Selah Design. After I handed her a mediocre idea that had been floating around inside my head, she created something even better than what I'd imagined. She's so much fun to work with, a super talented artist, and her rates are better than reasonable. She's open for business and will sketch out a beginning idea for free, so you should drop her a little love note.
On to the cake!
My godson, Ethan, is obsessed with animals. I've made a fool out of myself in the past six years of his little life making ridiculous cow sounds and wearing out the lever on the farm edition of See n' Say. Although at some point his Dad taught him that a shark sound was, "Dun-uh, dun-uh, dun-uh-dun-uh..." and that was the cutest thing I've ever heard. When I found this cake recipe, I immediately thought of him and how much he might like it, you know, assuming it turned out the way it was supposed to.
Unfortunately, it did not. It was certainly a delicious combination of chocolate and vanilla for those times when you're absolutely split in two over which one you'd like to have, but it didn't swivel and stripe the way it showed in the photo, the layers all smooshed together into one chocolate with vanilla speckles sort of cake. I waited for my token meltdown to come, but it never did. Curious. Just last night I botched a double batch of salted caramel cupcake batter - every last one had a sinkhole smack in the center of it and it didn't move me at all, I just tipped them all into the trash can and carried on. Soooo unlike me...
If anything, this cake looks more like a hyena than a zebra. Or maybe that's just because I've been spending a lot of time with creatures who really do look like hyenas.
Not sure what went awry with the genetics that this zebra cake never got its stripes, but it was still a perfect after-work/after-school snack cake with a little dusting of powdered sugar over the top. Yes.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup milk (whole, 2% or 1%)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9" x 2" round baking pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment, and spray again. Set the pan aside.
In the bowl of your mixer, blend the sugar and eggs until creamy and fluffy, about 2 minutes. On low speed blend in the oil, milk and vanilla until smooth.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients all at once and combine on medium speed 1-2 minutes or until the batter is smooth and lump free. Don’t forget to scrape down the bowl or there will be irreversible consequences. Well, not really, not scrape it down anyway.
Remove 2 cups the batter into a medium mixing bowl and sift the cocoa over this batter, and stir well to combine.
Pour about 3 tablespoons of vanilla batter into the center of the cake pan. Next, spoon 3 tablespoons of the chocolate batter into the center of the vanilla batter. This causes the vanilla batter to spread out. Continue to alternate batters, in bulls-eye fashion until all batter is used. You will now have thin rings of each batter on the outer edges of the pan, thicker rings towards the center.
Bake the cake in the center of the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost as desired or dust with powdered sugar.