Zebra Cake!

I recently bought Lorraine Pascale’s new recipe book. I have her other 2 and the recipes are really yummy, both savoury and sweet. Her Oreo cookie brownie is a particular favourite in our household! So when I bought the new one I was excited to try some of her new baked goodies!

The ‘Crouching tiger, hidden zebra cake, stood out to me, as I have been hooked on this year’s Great British Bake Off, and the hidden design episode was brilliant and sparked a desire for me to try something with a cheeky surprise inside.

The finished cake looks so impressive, and while it take a little time to do the step which creates the zebra stripes, it’s actually a pretty simple recipe!

The recipe makes 12 slices and requires a 23cm springform sandwich tin.

Ingredients:

  • 250ml sunflower (or other flavourless) oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 100ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 4 medium eggs (at room temperature)
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1 orange

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (fan 160 in a fan oven), 350 degrees F, gas mark 4. Grease the bottom of the sandwich tin with a little oil, line with baking parchment and oil again. Set aside on a large baking sheet.
  2. Put the oil, sugar, milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat everything together well. It is best not to use an electric whisk as it will introduce too many bubbles, which are not needed for this cake.
  3. Pour out 400ml of this mixture (or 400g as it is the same weight) into a medium bowl
  4. Sift 175g of the self-raising flour into one bowl along with 1/2 teaspoon of the baking powder. Mix well and set aside. This is your vanilla mix.
  5. Sift the remaining 125g of self-raising flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder into the other bowl along with the cocoa powder. Finely grate the orange zest in. mix everything together well and set aside. This is your chocolate mix.
  6. Now, put a tablespoon of the vanilla mix in the middle of the tin. Then, using a clean tablespoon, put a blob of the chocolate mix in the middle of the vanilla one. Keep doing this, alternating between vanilla and chocolate, so you form a type of ‘bulls eye’   look.

7. Each time you dollop a blob in, the whole mix will spread out on the base. By the time you have used up both of the cake mixes, they should have just reached the edge of the tin.

8. Bake in the oven for 35 minute

9. Check the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre. It should come out clean. If not, then return to the oven for another 5 minutes or so until cooked. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin. Then carefully remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

It’s a really yummy cake, and the slight orange zesty taste is lovely! It’s particularly good when it’s still slightly warm from the oven! It’s really moist & perfect with a brew!

Black & White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars


This recipe is one that immediately stood out for me from the Hummingbird Cake Days recipe book, so has been on my ‘to bake’ list for a while! However, it was seeing a post on one of the blogs I read by Little Miss Hungry (http://littlemisshungryuk.blogspot.co.uk/) that prompted me to finally get baking it.

It’s a really simple, but pretty impressive brownie/cheesecake combo. Lovely for either a treat with a cuppa or as a dessert, it would be gorgeous with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, although, in my opinion, most things are great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

I would say, that while it’s a simple recipe, it is quite time consuming as it needs chilling time between a lot of the steps, so it’s not one that you can quickly pull together, so ensure you leave yourself plenty of time.

The recipe makes 12-15 bars and uses one 23x30cm (9x12in) baking tray.

Ingredients – For the base:

  • 250g (90z) unsalted butter
  • 420g (15oz) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 380g (13oz) plain flour
  • 60g (2oz) cocoa powder
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients – For the topping:

  • 80g (3oz) white chocolate chips
  • 300g (10.5oz) full-fat cream cheese (e.g. Philadelphia)
  • 60g (2oz) icing sugar
  • 1 large egg

Instructions:

  1. Using a hand-held electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the effs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure every bit of the mixture is incorporated.
  2. Sift together the remaining ingredients, then tip these into the batter into two batches, mixing in the freestanding mixer or folding in by hand.
  3. Cut off approximately one-quarter of the dough, cover with cling film and place in the fridge. Line the baking tray with baking parchment, then press the remaining dough into the tray, it’s useful if you create a bit of a raised lip around the edge of the tin to hold in the cheesecake mixture when this is poured in later. Allow it to set in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (325F), gas mark 3.
  5. Remove the base from the fridge and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely in the tin before adding the topping, but keep the oven on for cooking the finished cheesecake.
  6. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Using the electric whisk or freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and mix thoroughly, then stir the melted chocolate into the cheesecake mixture by hand.
  7. Spread the mixture on to the cooled base, then remove the reserved dough from the fridge and crumble in large pieces over the cheesecake.
  8. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the cheesecake has set, then allow to cool completely before placing in the fridge for a few hours to set. Once set, cut the cheesecake into squares or rectangles to serve.

This is best served when it’s been removed from the fridge and been able to come up to room temperature a bit. It’s quite hard when it comes straight from the fridge so I would take out at least half an hour before you intend to serve.