The Nutcrackers and Zebras

Around this time of year Kristian and I make our annual sojourn to Clowes Hall for a dose of the Nutcracker.  We started going to the ballet when she was two years old and it is something that we both look forward to getting dressed up and having our mommy-daughter outing.  This year Stan decided that he would like to attend with us.  It seems like every year the production changes just a little in how it is presented.  This years production was probably one of my favorites. Check us out in our red.

In addition to my fondness for the Nutcracker ballet, I have great love for nutcrackers as decorations in my home.  Last year I picked up three new nutcrackers at the end of the season to add on to the many that I already own.  I decided to leave a few of them at Stan’s for decoration but kept five of them with me.  Here is a few shots of them hanging around the house.

guarding the mansion

On another note…Kristian asked for a strawberry/chocolate marble cake for her birthday next year.  I have tried a couple of times to successfully marble the two cakes, but have not been able to actually marble it like I wanted.  It would usually turn out with the chocolate taking over the strawberry or getting a layer of chocolate on the top and strawberry on the bottom (or vice versa).  Well folks I finally got it right!  Thanks to Jessica at Bake Me Away I learned about a Zebra Cake.  I had never heard of it until I was blog surfing and found this wonderful blog.  I looked at the pictures and checked out the recipe and was like “OMG!…this is what I’ve been looking for.”  Even though I’ve been battling a cold; I was determined to make my standard Sunday dinner (this week we had my favorite: fried pork chops, rice & gravy, homemade biscuits and a green salad) with this Strawberry/Chocolate Zebra Pound cake. 

I started off with my traditional cream cheese pound cake recipe that I split in half and then made one half strawberry and the other chocolate (it seemed as if it would be easy to just make the batter then make strawberry and chocolate; but I didn’t feel comfortable adding cocoa powder to a batter.  So I actually made two separate batters in their prospective flavors.)

I decided to make in a bundt and loaf pan so that I could see how it translated in different pans AND my pound cakes tend to want to be too big for my pan and I didn’t want to chance it on this cake.  I began spooning three tablespoons of strawberry batter in the pan then three tablespoons of the chocolate.  I alternated with this until I finished with all of the batter.  I placed them in the oven at 325 degrees for about 85 minutes and take a look at the final product.  Later that evening when I cut into it, the angels sang and the light from heaven shined down on my and my cake.  Kristians reaction was one of pure joy.  I have to say thank you, thank you, thank you Jessica at Bake Me Away.  I stated before that my camera is not the best thing out there, so please excuse the quality of the pictures…maybe “Stanta”  “Santa” will get me something better for Christmas this year. 

 This was what it looked like after all of the three tablespoon alternations.  I ended up with more chocolate than strawberry batter.

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