Tiger Cake

By • March 28, 2014 34 Comments

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Author Notes: This is not the marble cake of your childhood! Even if the cake of memory was delicious, this one is hipper, super simple to make, and gorgeous without your doing anything special to make it so. The batter is made with flavorful extra virgin olive oil, a hint of white pepper, and natural cocoa powder. The tiger stripe marbling happens magically, all by itself, while the cake is baking; all you have to do is layer the batters into the pan. Alice Medrich

Makes 1 cake in a 10-to-12 cup tube pan

  • 1/2 cup (45 grams) natural cocoa powder (non-alkalized, non-Dutch processed)
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 cups (385 grams) all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
  • 5 cold eggs
  • 1 cup cold milk
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 10-to-12 cup tube pan with oil spray and dust it with flour.
  2. In a medium large bowl, whisk the cocoa, 1/2 cup sugar, and water until well blended.
  3. In another medium large bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder thoroughly and sift onto a piece of wax paper. Set aside.
  4. In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the 2 cups sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, and pepper 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 one-third of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended. Stop the mixer and add half of the milk. Beat just until it is blended. Repeat with another third of the flour, the remaining milk, and then the remaining flour.
  5. Add three cups of the batter to the cocoa mixture and stir until blended. Pour one-third of the plain batter into the prepared pan and top with one third of the chocolate batter. Repeat with the remaining batters. Don’t worry about marbling the batters—that happens during the baking.
  6. 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. Slide a skewer around the tube and a thin metal spatula (or knife) around the sides of the pan. Lift the tube and slide the spatula under the cake to detach it from the pan bottom. Transfer the cake to a serving platter. The cake keeps for several days, at room temperature, under a dome or wrapped in plastic.

More Great Recipes: Chocolate|Cakes|Olive Oil

Topics: Cake

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Comments (34) Questions (2)

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3 months ago The Kitchenmaid

This is the most beautiful cake, with a gorgeous crumb and light texture. I upped the amount of white pepper (freshly ground) and it gave it a nice after taste. Fantastic with a glass of gewurztraminer!

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4 months ago Simone

Absolutely loved this recipe - had a tight, moist crumb, sliced v well and reminded me of the kind of Asian style butter cakes I sometimes had as a kid that are steamed, not baked. What was initially a really peppery olive oil I had morphed into a fruity element in this cake. Perfect. Thank you!

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4 months ago LynneT

OMG! This is absolutely DIVINE!! I love it, and I will make it again and again.

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8 months ago cutthecarrot

I wanted to love this cake. It is beautiful and I have had so much success with a number of Alice Medrich's recipes. Followed exactly as written (using eggs from home raised chickens and maybe slightly more vanilla because I do it by eye having once worked as a baker), this cake simply wasn't all that flavorful.

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about 1 year ago adeola

Oh and charlotte was right, it was surprisingly moist. Yummy

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about 1 year ago adeola

So I finally tried the recipe today and it is absolutely perfect, awesome! The white pepper added a tingly tasty sensation. I totally recommend the recipe. FAB!

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about 1 year ago Lisa

Baked beautifully. I increased the amount of cocoa and white pepper (both freshly bought) but could not taste either much, friends agreed - With a name like Tiger Cake you want it to have bolder flavors :) Leftover batter rose like a dream in muffin cups, would like to attempt this recipe again.

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over 1 year ago charlotte

sorry just looked at the recipe again, and I do realise you actually specify in the steps which amount of sugar to use! I must've been too tired last night while baking this!

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over 1 year ago charlotte

Made this last night with half the sugar and one less egg and I couldn't be happier! Great recipe :)
Just a comment on the ingredients - I wasnt sure which amount of sugar to use in which mixture. I guess it doesnt really matter as it all ends up in the cake, but I did get quite confused at first when I saw 'sugar' appear twice but it wasnt specified in the steps how much to use at which point.
Thank you for the fab recipe!!!
@adeola, it was moist! :)

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over 1 year ago adeola

This recipe does not look like the cake will turn out moist. I think I will replace the milk with butter milk or whipped cream....

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over 1 year ago breadwhisperer

I made this last night. The texture is lovely, and the marbling looks pretty, but I wish it had more flavor. Maybe my cocoa powder wasn't up to the task (I used Sharffen Berger) or maybe I was just expecting something as intense as the citrus flavored olive oil cakes. I might try this again using more cocoa powder - or maybe some liqueur. I've never made a marbled cake before and I really enjoyed learning the technique - thanks!

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over 1 year ago Yazoolulu

This is a wonderful cake. I made it last week and my family just gobbled it up. I used a strong fruity olive oil and everyone thought it was delicious. Easy to make and quite impressive.

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over 1 year ago Alice Medrich

The recipe is now correct and the amount of water is indeed 1/3 of a cup. Forgive my typo!

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over 1 year ago essbee

I'm crossing my fingers that this will work since I used a Bundt pan.

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over 1 year ago Karen Terry

Would you half the recipe for a simple loaf pan cake?

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over 1 year ago Karen Terry

Would you make 1/2 of recipe for a simple loaf pan cake?

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over 1 year ago ArtoriusRex

It's nice to see another cake recipe out there that doesn't rely on butter. I imagine this you can use a non-dairy milk, or goat milk, in this recipe successfully to?

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over 1 year ago Sarah

The recipe I've always made from Bittersweet contains 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.

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over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

You are absolutely right -- that went missing too. I've updated the recipe and it should be showing up soon.

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over 1 year ago Alice Medrich

Oops. A step was omitted in this recipe. First whisk the cocoa with the 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar at the beginning and set it aside. That is the cocoa mixture referred to. I will get it fixed!

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over 1 year ago essbee

Oh dear! The recipe still says 1/3 cup of water for the cocoa mixture.

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over 1 year ago Alice Medrich

1/3 cup of water is absolutely correct! 1/2 was my typo. Sorry for the confusion!

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over 1 year ago essbee

It turned out beautifully. Thank you.

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over 1 year ago faizah.ibrahimsa

Omg.. I'm halfway doing it then I read this?!! Now what.. I'm putting all the cocoa mixture with oil and everything..isk please fix that before it happen to anyone else

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over 1 year ago faizah.ibrahimsa

It's supposed to be 'whisk the cocoa, 1/2 cups sugar and 1/3 water.. I was confused at first on the quantity of sugar it called-2 cups, but I went on with it. Now my cake turned into a chocolate cake instead of a marble. Hopefully it'll turn out good.

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over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Faizah, sorry for the trouble -- I just clarified those amounts better in the instructions, which should hopefully help.

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over 1 year ago Ann-Marie D. Nguyen-Shavurova

Yes, it would work in a loaf pan - that's how I learned that in my pastry program. And about adding the batter to the cocoa, in this case. (If you are using alkanized cocoa powder, you have to activate it with warm milk. I wonder if she meant that for another recipe?)

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over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Ann-Marie, I just corrected the recipe to include a step that had been missing -- sorry for the confusion!