Thursday, 3 June 2010

150th post and a Zebra Cake in my Kitchen too!

Finally Shab’s Cuisine hits another milestone! It’s been more than two years that I have been blogging my recipes and thoughts and in here and I very much enjoyed every moment of it. I never ever thought I could go so far because I am not the kind of person who is so much dedicated to any hobby apart from blogging. I get all bored after a while and stop it and then forgot about it. But this blog which once was just started to save my recipes and a mere time pass has become a passion and more than that a place to virtually pour my thoughts! I never knew I even had love for cooking until I started this little space of mine! I guess it was hidden in me until I started a blog.

I have never bothered to learn cooking until I settled down completely with my husband, and I guess there are plenty out there like me. During my college days, all I used to do was carrying some dictated recipes of my mom to UK whenever I paid him a visit during my holidays. I thought cooking was so easy, that I could easily cook whatever is written in my book taken from my mom who always gave me approximated measurements. I never bothered to peek into kitchen those days when my mom used to cook for us. When I started cooking from the notes, I realised that it was not an easy thing to start with and I didn’t even know the very basic of cooking like know how much salt to add, how long onions to be sautéed for a simple curry and even how to boil rice! Even then, I turned my back on cooking and din’t bother to learn a bit. That was how much I hated cooking once! Later when I completed my studies and settled with my hubby, I felt that I need to learn at least basic cooking to survive. Started collecting recipes on bits and pieces of paper, and little books, diaries etc . I lost many of my precious recipes because those were scribbled on bits and pieces of paper which I left somewhere carelessly and got lost. I used to see so many blogs around and try many recipes with successful results and that was when I thought I also should start saving my recipes online after perfecting them to suit our taste! Started a blog for fun and here it is now! I still am not sure how far I will be going on with this, but as long as I have support from my readers and friends.

Initially I dint even know something like measuring spoons and cups existed, so all the measurements used to be taken down using regular spoons in my kitchen. I tried the same recipes with measuring spoons and it gave me different results. So I am trying to edit all the recipes using standard measuring spoons and cups.I have learnt so much from blogging, I am introduced to wide range of foods from around the world and fantastic foodies. I also prepare loads of them at home and try to perfect them as it goes. After the blog was started, I did watch too much of cookery programs which ate up so much of time once which I have reduced almost to none due to lack of time. But I still search loads of recipes, peek on many blogs, comment on as much as time allows me. The number of cook books on my shelves is also on tremendous increase and too are the vessels! My camera was upgraded from a simple but a high end point and shoot camera to a Digital SLR. I also believe that my photography (at least for the macro pictures) has become much better than before. Hasn’t it? I also try to collect anything and everything that looks good on pictures be it a shell, a ribbon, flowers, leaves or a piece of paper to make a better background for my pictures, but sometimes I take pictures in a hurry not giving importance for anything. I have also gained loads of wonderful friends and readers who are so inspiring without whom this blog would have far been dead. Thanks to all for the wonderful comments and inspiration. That really kept me going and still keeps me going.

Now, coming to the recipe, Zebra cake is one of the prettiest cakes on its own. It looks pretty as it is, without any frosting done. The cake is similar to the marble cake, but the patterns is zebra striped which make it look stunning. I have seen this cake baked on so many blogs, so this might not be new to many of you. I had prepared this quite a while back with half the amount mentioned in the original recipe and using a 6 inch pan. The result was perfect except for the sweetness part which was really low for our taste. For that reason, I added more sugar and a pinch of salt when I made it the second time. Last weekend we had a get together with our friends and I baked this cake and took along. I also made a simple icing to go with it that I prepared for Celebration chocolate cake. It tasted fantastic with the icing on and everyone absolutely loved it. I first spotted this cake on Farida Azerbaijani's Blog. Have a peek at her wonderful blog to get the original recipe. Here is my tweeked version of it to suit our taste.


4 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/3 cup castor sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups+ 2 Tbsp plain flour
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup milk at room temperature
2 pinch salt

For icing,:

1.Grease and line a 9 inch deep cake pan. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius 10 minutes before baking.

2. Combine sugar and eggs and beat on high speed around 8 minutes until it becomes thick and pale yellow in colour.

3. Add in milk and oil and beat for 30 seconds until thoroughly combined. Add in vanilla essence and beat again.

4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder and mix well.

5. Add this flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat just until combined and no dry flour is visible. Don’t overbeat the mixture after adding the flour since it will knock out the airy bubbles and result in a heavy cake.

6. Divide the batter into half. In one half of batter add sifted cocoa powder and mix well. Leave the other half plain.

7. Now pour 3 Tablespoons of plain batter in the centre of the pan. Pour 3 Tablespoons of cocoa batter in the centre of the white batter. Don’t spread the batter or wait to spread. It will spread by itself as it goes. Pour Another 3 tablespoon of white batter in the centre of cocoa batter and then cocoa batter. Continue pouring until all the batter is used up. I used separate spoons for both batter to make it easier. If you have a ladle that holds 3 tablespoons of batter, you can use that. Here, I used heaped tablespoon of cocoa batter and scant tablespoon plain batter, hence more prominent cocoa stripes and less white straps.

8. Place the pan in the centre of the oven and bake till done or when the skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. The original recipe mentions 45 minutes, but mine took 1 hour 5 minutes.

Once the cake is completely cooled, serve as required, plain or with whipped cream frosting or any icing. I did the same frosting that I did for celebration chocolate cake and it tasted just divine.
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