by Kathy Przywara
Makes an 8 or 9" cake
1 1/2 cups flour**
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk alternative
1/3 cup oil
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
**For gluten free:
1 1/4 cups Kathy P's brown rice flour mix
1/4 cup cornstarch or tapioca starch
Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Prepare an 8" or 9" cake pan. I use Cake Release* (recipe below) and parchment, but you can also grease well and flour your pan.
Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. In a smaller bowl, combine the milk alternative, vinegar, oil, and vanilla. Pour the wet works over the dry works. Whisk gently until you have a smooth batter. Do not beat or overmix.
Pour half of the batter into another bowl - I use the bowl I had the wet works in. Add the cocoa powder to one-half of the batter and mix well.
Here is where the zebra stripes get formed and technique is important. I use a #16 disher (like an ice cream scoop with a sweeper). You can use a 1/4 cup measure. When using a disher, I was able to use the same one for both batters, but I don't recommend that if using a measuring cup unless you scrape it each time. Otherwise, it will just mix the batters by the end.
Starting with the white batter, put one disher of batter into the center of the prepared pan. Let the batter spread naturally, don't try to move the pan around to get it to flow. Put one disher of chocolate batter in the middle of the white batter. Again, just let it flow naturally. Don't wait a long time between each addition - just keep going with an even rhythm. Continue in this manner until all of the batter is used.
Bake at 350 °F for 25-30 min or until it tests done. All ovens are a little different, so go by doneness check and not time. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a rack. Transfer to a serving plate.
You can frost this if you wish, but it's pretty and delicious all on its own.
Kandi, a KFA member, used this zebra technique to make a rainbow-colored cake:
Just separate your batter and color it differently using natural food dyes, pureed fruit, or artificial food dyes.
1 cup shortening
1 cup flour
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Mix together thoroughly. I dump everything in my stand mixer and let it go for a minute or two. Store in an airtight container. Do not refrigerate.
To use for preparing a pan, apply with a paper towel or pastry brush to the surface of the pan. A paper towel works fine for regular pans, but a pastry brush works much better on shaped and intricate pans. Be sure to get in all of the nooks and crannies.
- This will work with non-wheat flours or flour mixes.
- Be sure to pick a flour that has a long shelf life. Do not use a flour high in oils that will go rancid easily.
- I wouldn't recommend brown rice flour alone since it tends to be gritty.
- Use any solid shortening that is safe for you.
Kathy Przywara is the Senior Community Director for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) is the food allergy division of AAFA. She is known as “KathyP” on our forums and has contributed dozens of recipes to our Safe Eats® recipe collection.