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Zebra Bundt Cake

Several months ago, I found out about zebra cakes and they’ve been on my to-bake list ever since.  I mean, how awesome do they look?  If you haven’t seen them before, do a google image search and you’ll see what I mean.

Rachel, one of my best friends, just had a birthday a couple weeks ago.  I thought she’d really like a zebra cake since she also likes to bake fun things, and besides, who wouldn’t?  Since she teaches 1st grade, she was inundated with all sorts of sweets on her big day, so it’s actually a good thing that she got her cake belatedly from me. :)

so pretty
red pan!

Now being the person that I am, I just couldn’t make a plain ol’ zebra cake (and gosh, aren’t they boring?).  Since they have so much eye-appeal, I thought they’d make a great bundt!  I searched through the comments of King Arthur Flour’s zebra cake recipe (link below) and found that one person had made a bundt and suggested increasing the ingredients by half.  Worked like a charm!

And guess what??  Yesterday was National Bundt Day!  What a coincidence!  Okay, I was actually well aware, thanks to Mary the Food Librarian.  She just completed 30 days of bundts, and she did this last year, too!  This woman is passionate about cakes with holes in them.  Be sure to check out her awesome logo by JustJenn.  Last night, I got Rachel singing I like big bundts!

Zebra Bundt Cake
Zebra Bundt Cake
(These two profesh photos were taken by Josh, Rachel’s husband. See? :))

Anyway, this cake is quite easy to make, but with the amount of time it involves, it really is a labor of love.  Rachel and I have known each other for 23 years now (we were in the same 1st grade class!), so I would say that she is well worth it. :)

By the way, this was my first bundt success!  Woo!  Three past bundt disasters kept me on my toes for this one.

Zebra Bundt Cake

Zebra Bundt Cake
adapted from King Arthur Flour

The KAF folks say that you must use Dutch-process cocoa for this recipe (their mnemonic device for when to use it is: baking Powder, Dutch-Process :)).  If you have a 4 cup liquid measuring cup, use it for the step where you separate the batter, otherwise use 1 cup scoops for separating so you can keep track of the amount.

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (whole, 2% or 1%)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted to remove lumps

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar until light, about 2 minutes.  On low speed, blend in the milk, oil, and vanilla until combined.

mixing the eggs and sugar dry and wet ingredients

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on medium speed until the lumps are gone.  (I first added about half, did a few mixes on low, then added the rest and went up to medium when the dry ingredients weren’t going to fly out.)

batter adding sifted cocoa powder to half the batter

Remove 3 cups of the batter and pour into a 4 cup measuring cup (see note above).  Add the sifted cocoa powder and mix very thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lube your bundt pan generously with Pam with flour or Baker’s Joy.

making the stripes! six stripes in...

At the base of the bundt (point closest to you), spoon about 3 tablespoons of the vanilla batter in one spot (it will spread).  Then spoon about 3 tablespoons of the chocolate batter in the center of the vanilla batter.  Continue alternating batters like this until you run out of batter.  It will spread and fill out the rest of the pan while keeping this pattern.

striped batter up close hot off the press!

Bake the bundt for about 45 – 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let the bundt cool for about 20 minutes in the pan, then invert it onto a cooling rack.  Let cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache

I used a 2 cup measuring cup to measure the cream, then used it as my heatproof bowl so I could pour the ganache easily.

3/4 cup heavy cream
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium-low heat.  Roughly chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl.  When the cream just begins to boil, remove from heat and pour over the chocolate.  Let the cream melt the chocolate for about a minute, then whisk until all the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth.  Pour immediately over bundt, or let cool a little if you want the ganache to be thicker.

bundt butt

This is a good cake, but it is definitely more visually impressive than it is taste-wise.  Still, it definitely solves the chocolate vs. vanilla debate!  I added a tiny splash of almond extract to the vanilla batter as suggested by some KAF commenters, but should have added a little more as it doesn’t come through.  It’s a very moist cake with a tight crumb, and I think it tastes better the next day.

bundt bite

If you want to be really fancy, you could make dark and white chocolate ganache and let your creativity go wild!

Update: as if this post needs another photo, I feel compelled to show you my slice of cake today (Day 3):

another slice, day 3

As you can imagine, no two slices are the same!  We’re getting closer to the bigger rings.  Oh, and it’s still moist!

Update #2: Check out Zebra Bundt Follow-Up.  :)

Update #3: Here is a continually evolving list of people who have made this cake:

These are the only ones that I’m aware of so far.  If you’ve made one, let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the list! :)