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Slice of zebra cake on two stacked plates

Striped Zebra Cake

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The idea of a Striped Zebra Cake came to mind after a few moments of brainstorming on what bucket list recipe to make. I’ve become confident enough to tackle most any dessert, candy or bread so here’s my first attemp!

Unfortunately, my baked zebra cake looks more like a marbled horse cake. Pretty and tasty, yes, but the distinct markings were lacking!

Slice of zebra cake on two stacked plates

Striped Zebra Cake

This striped zebra cake recipe was on my New Year’s Bucket List. I’ve baked nearly everything on my bucket list over the past two years: homemade puff pastry, homemade croissants, brioche, macarons. Through blogging, I’ve become confident enough to tackle most any dessert, candy or bread…so it took a few moments of brainstorming before a zebra cake came to mind. But some things are just not meant to be!

Striped Zebra cake slice on a white dessert plate

How to Make a Zebra Cake

You’ve all seen the images on Pinterest and food porn sites…show stopping striped zebra cakes. Their distinctive stripes of vanilla and chocolate definitely resemble a zebra’s coat, and I wanted to make my own. Reviews of the zebra cake recipes fell short on taste, so that was a priority. I used all butter, upped the flavorings, anything to make this cake’s flavor as impressive as its looks.

Well, all went fine. I made the batter and painstakingly alternated dollops of it in my prepared pan. It cracked a little when baked, this zebra cake smelled delicious. BUT, when I cut into it, the interior was barely marbled, let alone striped. And I tried it TWICE. 

So this zebra cake come horse cake was totally moist and yummy, just not zebra-ish… but perfect for my daughter who does not like the same rich, intensely chocolate desserts as her brothers and dad. So I’m putting this zebra cake recipe aside for now. I can check it off my bucket list, can’t I???? 

Zebra Cake on a cake plate

How to Make a Zebra Cake

You’ve all seen the images on Pinterest and food porn sites…show stopping striped zebra cakes. Their distinctive stripes of vanilla and chocolate definitely resemble a zebra’s coat, and I wanted to make my own. Reviews of the zebra cake recipes fell short on taste, so that was a priority. I used all butter, upped the flavorings, anything to make this cake’s flavor as impressive as its looks.

Well, all went fine. I made the batter and painstakingly alternated dollops of it in my prepared pan. It cracked a little when baked, this zebra cake smelled delicious. BUT, when I cut into it, the interior was barely marbled, let alone striped. And I tried it TWICE. 

So this zebra cake come horse cake was totally moist and yummy, just not zebra-ish… but perfect for my daughter who does not like the same rich, intensely chocolate desserts as her brothers and dad. So I’m putting this zebra cake recipe aside for now. I can check it off my bucket list, can’t I???? 

Update after a success:

The layering of the batter below is spot on. But it ended up the problem with my recipe was easily remedied!

PRO-Tip: Make sure your cake batter is quite thick. That will help prevent the “stripes” from merging together. Here are my Mini Zebra Bundt Cakes to see my eventual success in making a striped zebra cake recipe!

Zebra Cake batter in a cake pan Zebra cake batter in a cake pan

These both look promising, don’t they????

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Slice of zebra cake on two stacked plates

The Recipe: Zebra Cake

A striped chocolate and vanilla cake made to resemble a zebra!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield 8 servings

Ingredients

 

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour plus 3 tablespoons to thicken up vanilla batter
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 cup whole milk

Instructions

  1. Grease 8 or 9 inch cake pan. Line bottom with parchment and grease the top of the paper. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well till incorporated. Add vanilla and almond extracts.
  4. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with the flour. Mix till just incorporated.
  5. Divide batter in half. Add cocoa to one bowl of batter and mix till combined. You may add 3 tablespoons of flour to the plain batter if the consistency is too runny.
  6. Put contents of one bowl into a gallon zip-lock bag, remove excess air and seal. Repeat with other bowl of batter. Snip off one corner of each bag in order to pipe batter.
  7. Starting with white batter, pipe approximately 2 tablespoons in the middle of the pan (the smaller the amount, the thinner the stripes will be). Then pipe the same amount of chocolate batter right onto the middle of the white batter. Repeat with white batter, then chocolate, etc. until all the batter is gone. Or you can just alternate spoonfuls of batter. Work quickly.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes or till toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pan to cooling rack.

Notes

Adapted from a variety of recipes including my friend (Lisa, of Parsley, Sage and Sweet)

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 556Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 547mgCarbohydrates: 71gFiber: 1gSugar: 39gProtein: 8g

HOW MUCH DID YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE?

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54 comments on “Striped Zebra Cake”

  1. Oh wow that’s beautiful! Love the gorgeous swirls (zebra swirls). This recipe looks amazing!

  2. It looks gorgeous! This has been on my to-make list too. I’m so intimidated!

  3. look amazing!! I admire you and your patience to make the draws:))))
    just beautiful!

  4. I agree – your batter looked right before you put it into the oven…I wonder what happened?!?! My mom made me one of those zebra cakes for my birthday last year and it was so cool to see it sliced open!

  5. The second batter looks amazing. But I know how you feel, and no doubt you will try again Liz! I bet it tasted great. Now I want to make it too and see how it turns out. Bakers Royale has a few recipes, one with three colors.

  6. Lizzy…your batter (the bulls eye), in both photos, is perfect…that’s exactly how it should look! I’m puzzled as to what went on in the oven! BUT, I love the vortex swirl you got in some of your slices. It still looks very cool and lovely 🙂

  7. I would have to call it Tiger cake because it looks just like my brindle striped whippet Tiger. I can’t wait to see when you finally get the stripes perfected. Until then I can bake a “Tiger” cake.

  8. Your cake still looks good and I see stripes! And your lines in it look fantastic!! I think your probably just being harder on yourself.

  9. Lizzy , your cake looks pretty delicious and I can some stripes , here and there 😀 Have you seen mine , right ?! No marbling whatsoever 😛 😀

  10. The cakes look amazing pre and post bake, Liz. The same experience with lemon and strawberry swirled cupcakes and mini loaves has happened to yours truly. But as you stated, at least the results are delish…Coconut oil does sound intriguing…See you at #SundaySupper!

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