{fail} This Should Be a Pink Zebra Cake Fit For a Princess (and her Hamster)

When my niece is turned 8 a few weeks ago, I did something no food blogger should EVER do–I started pre-writing a post while a cake was in the oven, because I was so sure it would turn out perfectly, despite never having made it before. Painfully I feel compelled to share that the first line originally asked you, gentle reader, to “enjoy this simple technique for making a show-stopping stunner of a cake.” Ugh.

OK, so the outside looks good–it’s the INSIDE that’s the problem, and that was supposed to employ the aforementioned “simple technique” for the aforementioned “show-stopping stunner”. She requested vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, and noted that her favorite colors are gold, magenta, and black. This is a special girl so I wanted to make her a special cake! But it’s Sunday, so I didn’t want to spend the whole darn day on it. I had seen a chocolate and vanilla zebra cake on AZ Cookbook and loved the simple concept behind this cool-looking cake. To make a zebra cake,  you chocolatize half the batter, and spoon small amounts of alternating batters into the center of the pan, where they fill in and make a stripey pattern. Easy, right? There’s a great tutorial on the AZ Cookbook site with photos. Of course, once you decorate the cake, no one suspects the excitement inside.

I realized that this was even more apropos for this occasion, because for her birthday, my niece got a dwarf hamster named Stripey. Actually, the hamster’s real name is Beatrice but it has been decreed that it will be known colloquially by it’s given nickname, Stripey. STRIPEY! A stripey cake in honor of the new member of the family.

But did I follow the recipe? Nope. I decided to use magenta food coloring in half the batter, instead of chocolatizing it, in an attempt to make a pink and white zebra cake. That would have been awesome, right? Yes. Except that it didn’t work. And simple? Hardly! I had pink and white batter all over my hands, my kitchen floor, my pants (?!) and the countertop, and a slight case of carpal tunnel, and I was just totally annoyed with the whole process. And then when we cut it? Mostly pink with a white center. Nary a zebra stripe in sight, after all that. Sigh.

Luckily, when you’re 8 and/or a dwarf hamster and no one has led you to believe you’re getting a pink zebra cake (thank goodness I had the foresight to “surprise” her with the cake), you are still pretty excited just to merely see that your cake is pink inside, even though there are a few white parts. One of the saving graces is that I made the outside of the cake metallic gold, by frosting it with vanilla icing and spraying it with a fun yet slightly questionable product I got at Williams-Sonoma called Gold Dazzling Delight Decorating Spray. (I’m kind of freaking out right now because this product is not to be found ANYWHERE on the internet! I hope it wasn’t recalled or something. But c’est la vie. It’s basically this.) I finished it off the cake with candy luster pearls as well.

Here’s to the next birthday cake, which hopefully I’ll do a bit better.

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2 Responses

  1. Dana says:

    It looks like your zebra cake batter divisions were perhaps a little too big. When you are alternating batter, pour just about a few tablespoons at a time. It also helps to use glass measuring cups to pour the batter, the pour spout really mitigates mess.


    • Karen says:

      Hi Dana! Thanks for the post, your cake looks great! I actually think the problem was that in the beginning, I used way too small amounts, like mere teaspoons. I tried measuring cups but it was still kinda messy 🙁 I will try again! Thx and kudos on your cake!!