Tiger Cake

March 28, 2014

Test Kitchen-Approved

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

Ingredients

  • 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
In This Recipe

Directions

  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.

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Reviews (39) Questions (3)

39 Reviews

chez_mere August 10, 2018
Made this cake and added a little orange blossom water + orange zest to the plain batter. Also was able to get it out of a well-buttered and floured bundt cake pan. Finished with a little chocolate glaze :)
 
Raquelita November 12, 2017
Made this in a 10" springform cake pan for a kid's birthday cake. With this pan, I did some dragging through the batter to get the marbled effect. It worked out great, and I was able to split it into two thick layers. If you're better at that than I am, you can probably get 3. If you have a cake nail to heat the core of the cake, I'd use it with the large solid (non-tube) pan. If I made it again, I'd add more salt and more flavor--the texture was great but for grown-up palates it needs a little extra something.
 
Lisa L. March 11, 2017
Can someone explain why this recipe uses cold eggs as opposed to warm eggs?
 
ChefJune October 10, 2016
Making this for dessert on Wednesday night!
 
Kaite September 11, 2016
I've never been one to like cake. Usually they are too sweet and slathered in tons of frosting. This cake right here is my type of cake! The texture is divine and the flavor is delicious. I didn't have white pepper, nor do I care for white pepper, so I just used black. The flavor is barely detectable but I would still add it in again. I also used plain ole Hershey's cocoa. This one is a favorite for sure.
 
The K. June 7, 2015
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!
 
Simone May 4, 2015
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!
 
LynneT May 3, 2015
OMG! This is absolutely DIVINE!! I love it, and I will make it again and again.
 
cutthecarrot January 12, 2015
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.
 
adeola July 20, 2014
Oh and charlotte was right, it was surprisingly moist. Yummy
 
adeola July 20, 2014
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!
 
Lisa June 18, 2014
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.
 
charlotte April 19, 2014
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!
 
charlotte April 19, 2014
Made this last night with half the sugar and one less egg and I couldn't be happier! Great recipe :) <br />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. <br />Thank you for the fab recipe!!!<br />@adeola, it was moist! :)
 
adeola April 16, 2014
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....
 
breadwhisperer April 9, 2014
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!
 
Yazoolulu April 8, 2014
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.
 
Author Comment
Alice M. April 1, 2014
The recipe is now correct and the amount of water is indeed 1/3 of a cup. Forgive my typo! <br />
 
essbee March 31, 2014
I'm crossing my fingers that this will work since I used a Bundt pan.
 
Karen T. March 31, 2014
Would you half the recipe for a simple loaf pan cake?