Grey. All that is January is so grey. The cabin fever of winter is starting to take it’s toll on me, as I’m sure it is you.
But don’t fear… boring food’s nowhere near! -20 degrees outside? Crank up some CDZA on YouTube and get baking up a storm in the kitchen. CDZA is a group of highly trained musical talents (mostly) from around New York City’s best musical schools, who pair up for ‘musical experimentation’ videos via their YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/collectivecadenza and their gigs range from modern popular culture beats to old world classical, and everything in between. Best known for their ability to shift from piece to piece mid-song, their talents and humor won’t let you down. They group tunes according to instrument, era, lyrical content, and much more. Some of their most entertaining compilations include ‘epic key changes’, ‘a history of lyrics that aren’t lyrics’, ‘a history of wooing women’ (and men!), and you should also check out ‘city streets, famous musicians’, and ‘a history of whistling’. Truly multifaceted.
Aaaanyways, on to the cake…
Zebra Cake: yields two batters for one 9 inch round cake
-Preheat the oven to 350 F, and prepare a 9 inch cake pan with parchment and non stick spray.
In one bowl:
160 g all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder (don’t use fast acting)
In another bowl:
120 g all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder (don’t use fast acting)
20 g cocoa powder
In a third bowl:
160 g sugar
100 ml milk
1 cup oil
1 TB vanilla
-Whisk each of the ingredients in the first two bowls, but keep separate.
-Whisk together the sugar and eggs in the third bowl until frothy, then whisk in the milk, vanilla and oil.
in a fourth bowl:
50 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 short shot espresso, hot from machine
-Pour the hot espresso over the chocolate to melt together.
To make the batters:
-In the bowl with the cocoa powder add the chocolate/espresso mix and exactly half of the liquid ingredients, whisk until just combined.
-In the other bowl with plain flour add the remaining liquid ingredients with another small splash of vanilla, whisk until just combined.
-Using two separate tablespoons begin blobbing one full spoon of each batter into the cake pan. Place each heaped spoonful of batter directly on top of the previous and don’t stop and wait for the batter spread. It will spread on it’s own. Continue spooning the batters, alternating between flavors, on top of itself until you have none left. Tap the cake pan lightly on the counter if need be to help the batter stay mostly flat across the top with (hopefully) nice even rings of vanilla and chocolate showing.
-Drag the tip of a skewer or paring knife across the top of the batter – from edge to center with one drag, and from center to edge for the next drag, working your way around the cake. (you can do whatever you want really…)
-Place in the oven to bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the center and until cake bounces back slightly when pressed in the center.
Once the cake is baked and out of the oven cooling down, make the salted rum caramel.
The Caramel: makes enough to serve one 9 inch round zebra cake
150 g sugar
150 g heavy/whipping cream
1 TB butter
1-2 TB dark rum
-Place the sugar in a well cleaned and dried pot, run a small spash of water into the sugar (just enough so that the sugar resembles wet sand), and place over highest heat. Do not stir or bump the sugar once it’s over the heat, as this will promote crystallization, and you’ll have to start again.
-The sugar will boil rapidly for several minutes, at this stage the water is evaporating. Once the sugar has lost most of the water content the bubbles will slow down and look more soapy – at this stage you need to watch it carefully, as it will begin to burn very quickly!
-When the sugar begins to color around the edges turn the heat down to medium, swirl it around in the pot a little (carefully) and wait until the sugar turns a uniform medium caramel color and pull it off the heat.
-Add the cream immediately in a slow stream, and then return to very low heat to assist in dissolving the sugar completely into the cream and add the rum.
-Allow the sauce to cool for a minute or two and then stir in the butter. Refrigerate until completely cooled. Sauce will thicken.
-Cut the zebra cake carefully with a serrated knife (for nicest, clean cut!) and drizzle some caramel over each piece before serving.