Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Zebra Cake!

It is hard to believe, but it is time to start seriously working on preparations for Lydia's birthday party.  We will be out of town a LOT in early June, so if I don't get details finalized soon, there just won't be time.  I will try to work up the invitations sometime in the next week, because Lydia's pre-school will end the school year soon and I am certain she will want to invite some school friends this year.  I have big bins of pink and black birthday party supplies that I need to revisit and decide exactly how we are using everything and what else we need.  Last week, I needed to bring a cake to church for an auction, so I used it as an excuse to practice the zebra cake directions that I have been seeing on Pinterest.
The basic idea is that you have two different colors of batter.  We used a white cake mix and a chocolate cake mix.  You alternate pouring about a fourth of a cup of each into the center of your cake pan.  So you pour in a small circle of one color batter and then you pour in a small circle of the other color right on top.  As you alternate the batter will spread itself out.  My sister was kind enough to do this for me as I was still sick and did not want to spread my germs.  It took a while and it was hard to keep the batter from getting off center.  It didn't seem to matter too much.  After the cake was cooked and cooled, I had to slice the top off of our layers to make them stack uniformly.  I was so excited to see the zebra pattern from the top of the cake.
I did not get to slice into my cake (because it went to an auction) but I assume it looked similar to this.  Once the cake was baked (Thanks again Jen!) I got to decorate it a day or so later when I was feeling better.  I wanted to do something fancy, but also something that alluded to the zebra pattern hiding inside the cake.  I decided to try my hand at doing a ruffle, but alternating white and chocolate to create a ZEBRA RUFFLE!
I started with a crumb coat and then used a wide flat leaf tip (I had to buy an extra one so I could have two bags of icing with two identical tips going at the same time).  I felt like I got better results when I used the slightly wider end of the leaf tip closer to the cake, so the thinner end became the end of the ruffle. Then I just did an up and down motion to make the ruffle.  If I were doing a "normal" ruffle, I would have needed to  keep it really consistent all the way around the cake and meet up where I started each time.
Because my plan was to have chocolate ruffles tapering in and out to make a zebra pattern, I had the luxury of stopping often and being OK with a little wobble to my ruffle.  I still worked in rows and had to sort of think ahead for making the zebra stripes zig zag across the cake.  Above is a picture of one side when it was finished.
I decided to continue the round rows as I moved from the sides to the top.  I just worked my way toward the center with smaller and smaller ruffle rings.  I can't decide if I will do ruffles for Lydia's party, but we will DEFINITELY do a zebra cake in some form or "FABULOUS" fashion!

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