I’ve always really wanted to do a zebra cake. Actually this cake almost failed completely but I persevered and I think it turned out pretty well! I had my second batch of successful swiss meringue buttercream (you’re only hearing about this now because my first failed and first successful batches are part of my Macaron Week so you’ll see it then) and I was SO EXCITED. Swiss meringue buttercream (from here on it known as SMB) is the ultimate diva of icings, but boy is it tasty. It’s light, buttery, and BEAUTIFUL. It goes on stuff so smoothly! And the inside of this cake is just so darn pretty!
So what did I learn from all this?
- When you put all the batter into one 8″ springform pan instead of two 8″ round pans, you need to bake it for longer at a lower temp.
- You need a cake leveller or you need to be really good at cutting things in half.
- Don’t stir your sugar too much or it’ll start to crystallize.
- Let your caramel cool before you add it to SMB or else it’ll turn it into soup.
- Don’t start baking a cake like this at 11 pm. Sleep is important.
- Make double the recipe for buttercream for decorating purposes.
- Use more batter at a time when creating the ripples. Takes less time, and it looks better than the smaller ripples.
- Use butter to make cake, not oil. Butter tastes way better.
- Crinkling the parchment paper makes it easier to put into round cake pans.
So lets just get started aha. I have nothing else to say.
- 250 g unsalted butter (I used canola oil like in the recipe but I didn’t like the taste.)
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp clear butter flavour (if you used oil instead of butter)
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour + 2 tbsp
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 cup Sprite/other lemon/lime-flavoured pop
- 1/3 cup sugar + 175g sugar
- 225g heavy cream (35%)
- 3 egg whites (if you have the egg whites in a carton, 2 egg whites = 1/4 cup, so use 3/8 cup)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 175g salted butter, room temperature and cubed
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (only if you use unsalted butter for the SMB)
Optional: Chocolate whipped cream
- 3/4 cup heavy cream (35%)
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350F if you’re baking two 8″ rounds or 300F if you’re baking it all in one springform pan.
- Make the caramel by melting 175g of sugar in a heavy-bottomed pot until a dark amber colour. Add the heavy cream and sea salt and mix until incorporated. Set aside to let cool.
- Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one by one until incorporated
- Add vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Add to the butter/egg mixture gradually, alternating with the Sprite until everything is combined.
- Divide the batter into two bowls, adding 2 tbsp cocoa to one, and 2 tbsp flour in the other.
- In lined pans, alternate spooning 3 tbsp of batter from each mixture into the middle, creating a bull’s eye pattern. Repeat until all batter is gone.
- Bake in oven for 30 minutes (if you have two rounds) or for about 75 minutes if you have it all in one. (Give or take. Best way to do it is to use a cake tester and poke the middle. If it comes out clean, you’re done, if there is still batter on it, keep baking)
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, prepare the SMB by whisking the egg whites and 1/3 cup sugar until stiff peak.
- Switch to the paddle attachement, and add the butter, chunk by chunk, until it’s incorporated. It’ll be a bit lumpy, but that’s okay.
- Stream the cooled caramel into the mixture and beat until you get a nice, light buttercream.
- Cut and stack cake rounds, and cover with a crumb coat. Then ice as desired.
- For the whipping cream, whip sugar, heavy cream and cocoa powder until stiff peak. Transfer to a piping bag and decorate as desired.
One of the things I liked about baking it all in one pan, was that the ripples in the cake were the same in the whole cake. It looked really cool, I’m not sure how could it would be if the two layers had different effects, but I’m sure it’d be awesome nonetheless.