Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Zebra Trash Cake of Doom

I got this recipe for zebra bundt cake from Bake Me Away. It was one of the cakes featured on The Food Librarian's Big Bundts 2 Round Up. When I saw it, I knew it was going to get bumped up to the top of my to do list. Besides, the recipe was from King Arthur Flour so it's gotta be good. Right? Um no.

It was dreadfully, awfully, horribly, sickeningly disgusting.

I thought that making a red and green version would be super cool and festive to take to a Christmas party. As you can see...the Red and the Green just did not jive well together. I think it would only be festive if one was celebrating the Feast of St. Grossington from Pukingshire. Aside from the atrocious color palate, the cake itself was unpleasant. When I took it out of the oven there was oil bubbling up from the top. Lots of oil. I thought, well maybe it is supposed to be that way. No. No. No.

After letting the cake sit for 20 minutes the darn thing fell. And when I say fell I mean it jumped off of the Willis Building. It was half as tall as what it was when it first came out of the oven. Not a good sign. I mean it's not a good sign unless you like cake so dense it has it's own gravitational pull.

The one good thing about this cake is that it came out of the bundt pan like a dream. Well it should...with all that oil. You can see how shiny the cake is in the picture above. That shine isn't from my camera flash. It's oil.

Once I had resigned myself to the fact that I was indeed not bringing this cake to share with my friends, I decided to at least test a slice. Maybe if I covered it with white chocolate glaze it would be ok for us to eat at home. I cut the smallest sliver and split it with Mrblocko.
After one bite he looked and me and said, "It tastes.."
"Disgusting?" I offered.
"Yes!" He concurred, and we promptly spit our offending mouthfuls into the garbage.

Since I was already throwing this bad boy out, I thought I would cut up the cake to see what the zebra stripes looked like.
Meh. Ugly and undefined. On the upside it was fun to take a slice of cake and mash it in my fist and watch all the oil ooze out onto my hands.

It broke my heart to toss an entire cake into the trash. This was, however, the first time I made something that was completely unsalvageable. I've made a lot of desserts that have turned out just fine. I've also made a lot of mistakes in the kitchen. I think it's pretty sweet odds to say that there was only one thing that I made that I haven't been able to turn into something edible.

One final note to emphasize that this cake was just not meant to be...the next day, when I went to use the heavy cream that I had intended to use for the glaze, the darn cream had curdled. Then, I proceeded to dump said container of chunky cream all over the counter. Talk about the cake of doom!!!!

Zebra Bundt Cake from Bake me Away
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.


  1. I did a blue velvet and white version - I think you need to make sure that one of the colors has extra flour and/or cocoa powder to keep the layers defined. I actually stirred in 3 T extra flour in the blue layer to make that happen. As for the bubbling oil...did your batter have lumps in it? Were your eggs at room temperature when you mixed the batter?

  2. Oh no!! I am so sorry to hear this. :( For me, it was an oily cake, but not at all to a point of excess. I didn't make any adjustments to KAF's recipe other than increasing everything by half. (also, my eggs weren't at room temperature)

    I'm wondering if the amount of food coloring you used had some effect on the rest? That's a good tip from Victoria about the flour. You could try the KAF hotline to see if they have any ideas about what happened. Anyway, sorry again that it didn't work out!

  3. I did have extra dry ingredients in the red layer (cocoa.) I also made sure I had the same amount of red food coloring as green food coloring. maybe I needed more dry ingredients in each color batter to make up for the additional liquid from the food coloring?

    The batter did not have lumps in it, nor did I use the eggs at room temp. Was the batter supposed to be lumpy and the eggs at room temp?

    Maybe I didn't beat the batter enough? I only had a tiny hand held mixer with a weak motor. Maybe that is why the cake fell? (Which is probably why the cake was so super oily.)

  4. I will have you know it's The Sears Tower, not the other name! Willis is a character on Diff'rent strokes, not a building in Chicago! And I said it!

  5. oh and ps cut up, the cake looks like a dissected segmented earthworm

    just sayin ;)

  6. I haven't tried it with food coloring, but am now curious. How much of it did you use?

    My batter didn't have lumps and my eggs were cold. I did use my roommates' nice KitchenAid, but didn't beat the batter to death. I'm thinking it had something to do with the food coloring. Maybe I should experiment! :D

    By the way, at the end of my post, I've linked to those who have made zebra bundts and included yours. Hopefully this will bring more insight to this issue!

  7. Amy- got red and green worms? What will they think of next? ps Willis!!!!

    Bakemeaway-I used half a bottle each of red and green (mccormick). I don't think it was enough though. I was going for a red velvet type thing with the red batter. The red was still more on the brown side than I would have liked. I'm wondering if gel food colorings would be a better way to go.

  8. You should use coloring gel pastes instead of coloring liquids as its more potent and will not effect the chemistry balance or taste. A little goes a long way with the gels as well so it'll be good for your pocket. Hope your next one comes out better! :)

  9. Yeah, looking back the gel coloring might have worked out better. Although, most red velvet cake recipes call for liquid food coloring so I think at the time I figured it would work for this cake too.

    I'm still not sure that using gel would have resulted in a less oily cake. It's not that the cake was overly moist which I would blame on the food coloring. This was gooey with oil.

    The original recipe from King Arthur Flour got a lot of mixed reviews. If I attempt a zebra cake again, I'll use a different recipe.

    Thanks for visiting my blog today!


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