Also known as Zebra Cake, Tiger Cake is a marbled olive oil cake from The Queen of Chocolate, Alice Medrich. I found the original version in Bittersweet, a book every chocolate lover should own! What’s strange is how long it took me to finally try this recipe. Maybe I was afraid of the unusual flavors at the time? Who knows, but it’s a beautiful, interesting cake made with flavorful extra virgin olive oil and a dash of white pepper.
Like other Italian cakes, the flavor is delicate. It’s not very salty nor is it terribly sweet, but you probably won’t be disappointed with the flavor unless you skipped using the flavorful olive oil (that is key) and pepper. Again, the appearance is bold, but the flavor is delicate and the texture is out of this world. Be sure not to dry it out by using too much flour! Weigh the flour or fluff it up and aerate it before measuring if you don’t have a scale.
Also, the above photo shows what my batter looked like before I put it in the oven. I started by dropping alternating colors in a bullseye pattern which did not look like a bullseye when I was done. Still, the cake batter somehow shifted itself into a really interesting pattern.
Marbled Olive Oil Cake
- 1/4 cup 25 grams natural cocoa powder (do not use Dutch processed)
- 1/4 cup 50 grams sugar
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water
- 1 1/2 cups 190 grams all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup 200 grams sugar, I used ultra-fine
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil I used “Paesano Unfiltered” from Sicily
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt I recommend adding an extra pinch
- 1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper or use black pepper
- 2 cold eggs plus 2 tablespoons lightly beaten egg
- 1/2 cup cold whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 6 cup capacity loaf pan and line lengthwise with a 12x3 inch strip of parchment. Dust with flour.
- In a 2 cup measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk the cocoa, sugar, and water until well blended.
- In large bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder thoroughly and sift onto a piece of wax paper.
- In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, and pepper (if using black pepper, don’t add it yet) until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until the mixture is thick and pale, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Stop the mixer and add the flour and milk alternately beating on low speed or by hand just until blended.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of the white batter to the cocoa mixture and stir until blended. If using black pepper, go ahead and add it to the cocoa batter.
- Pour some of the plain batter into the center of the loaf pan and let it flow out a bit. Pour some of the cocoa batter into the center of the white batter and let it flow out into a bullseye pattern. Continue adding the batters alternately this way without stirring. Alternatively, just pour the batter into the pan alternately however you want.
- Bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool.
- Allow the cake to cool for about 20 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and let cool completely. The cake keeps for several days, at room temperature, under a dome or wrapped in plastic. I cut mine in half and froze the two halves (after taking a few slices for the family).