Stripy Birthday Cake

It’s Soph’s birthday this weekend, so of course I need to make a cake!

I joined the library last week and took out Lorraine Pascale’s book, which reminded me about her Crouching Tiger Hidden Zebra cake. So I’d doing this, with ganache icing, as a birthday cake!

You start off with a very wet mix, as it uses oil not butter:

  • 250ml rapeseed oil (canola oil)
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 4 medium eggs

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This all gets mixed together with a balloon whisk, then split into two 400g portions. One portion gets 175g self-raising flour plus 1/2 tsp of baking powder, the other gets 125g self-raising flour, 1/2 tsp of baking powder plus 25g of sifted cocoa powder. These then get mixed into cake batters.

CameraZOOM-20130927103430890These then go into piping bags. This is tricky… and I ended up hanging them up on utensil hooks!

CameraZOOM-20130927104551538Then it’s into a greased and lined cake tin. I’m using one with a spring side because it was the first 20cm tin I came across.

CameraZOOM-20130927103741052Then the mixtures are piped into the middle of the tin, one after the other, about a tablespoon amount per time… and amazingly it starts to form rings!

CameraZOOM-20130927105125603After a long time of alternate piping, a lot of mess, and a few mistakes… all the mixture if used up and the cake is ready to bake.

CameraZOOM-20130927110704179This goes into a 160c fan over for 35mins. However after 35mins it was clearly not cooked in the middle… nor after 40 minutes… but eventually after an extra 10 minutes it seemed done. Shame about the annoying crack that’s going to make ganaching it harder…

CameraZOOM-20130927115958795The ganache is basically equal parts dark chocolate and double cream. Heat the cream until it’s about to boil and pour over chopped up chocolate and stir in. This then gets poured and smoothed over the cake.

CameraZOOM-20130927145701918Finally I rolled out some fondant icing and used letter cutters to spell out happy birthday, and popped a candle on top.

CameraZOOM-20130927153013533Unfortunately once you cut into it… the striping isn’t so good in some places: more marbled than stripy. Plus it was a bit dry. Maybe that was the extra cooking time?

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Some of the stripes were better than this, but I didn’t get a picture of them :(

If I did it again I’d do bigger stripes (which would also make it quicker to make!) and try cooking it less… but I’m not sure how to judge that. Even after the extra 15mins the skewer was coming out with crumbs on it.

It would also benefit from a jam or cream layer in the middle… but that would ruin the stripy effect. Maybe a tealoaf- or muffin-style, made with oil not butter, would work better? Some research is needed here…

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