Zebra Cake

Annie and I were back in the kitchen together this week, and she chose an amazing cake for us to bake up – a Zebra Cake! The special part of this yellow and chocolate cake is the way the batter is added to the pan, and thus makes a zebra pattern when it is cut into. The recipe for this cake didn’t include a frosting, but let’s be honest – the frosting makes the cake and I just couldn’t imagine eating a naked cake! I added Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate frosting to the cake, and a half recipe was perfect for the size of this cake. I thought that the flavor of the cake was just alright, but the technique is really very neat. I may try to play around with this using different cake recipes.

The zebra stripe effect is achieved by dropping alternating spoonfuls of batter into the pan. The weight of each additional dollop of batter forces the ones below it to spread out, creating rings of alternating color. Here is what the batter looked like going into the pan:

Making baked goods is always more fun when you have the ability to share them with people, so I was happy to be able to bring this cake home with me for the weekend and enjoyed it with my mom and sister and two of our good friends (I’m second from left):

Zebra Cake

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 38-42 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes


4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk (low fat is fine)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2½ tbsp cocoa powder


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with a circle of parchment paper and lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pan.

2. In a large bowl, mix together eggs and sugar until mixture is light and creamy and the sugar has mostly been dissolved. Stir in milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and almond extracts.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Pour into wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Measure out just over two cups of vanilla batter and place it back in the medium bowl. Sift cocoa powder over the bowl and whisk until fully incorporated.

4. Put 3 tbsp of vanilla batter into the center of the pan and let it spread slightly on its own. Put 3 tbsp of chocolate batter in the center of the vanilla. It will push out the other batter and, as it sits for a moment, will also spread itself. Alternating spoonfuls of the two batters, repeat the technique until all the batter has been used up.

5. Bake for 38-42 minutes, until the cake is light gold and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

6. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out the cake and remove the parchment paper. Reinvert on to a wire rack and let cool before slicing.

(Source: Baking Bites)


27 Responses to “Zebra Cake”

  1. Sherri on August 16, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Wow! This is so cool! Thanks for showing how to do it 🙂 I’ll be trying this soon.


  2. Ally on August 16, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    I love the pics of the layers, it looks very yummy. Cute pic of you and your sis and friends, you all seem to be enjoying it. I’m jealous!


  3. Annie on August 16, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Looks awesome! I had so much fun baking this with you. I love the pic of you all enjoying it, too cute 🙂


  4. Megan on August 16, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    I saw this the other day, and it looks too cool! And I totally agree with you about frosting – let’s face it, cake just isn’t the same without it! I must remember to add this to my “to-do” list!


  5. Jaime on August 16, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    wow, what a neat method! the stripes really turned out great


  6. giz on August 17, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    My first visit to your blog – great job!!! I think this cake is a fun thing to do – wonder what would happen if you tried it with two pans and made a double layer with a chocolate buttercream in the middle or even a raspberry centre.


  7. Lauren on August 17, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    I love making cameos in your blog 🙂


  8. Kate on August 18, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    You and my husband would get along fantastically with your “cake should have frosting” mentality.


  9. Amber on August 19, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Wow, your cake looks amazing! I need to give this a try sometime.


  10. Scott at Realepicurean on September 9, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Zebra cake is so popular right now and this looks fantastic!


  11. Lauren Norris on March 24, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Aw I forgot about this photo on here! What a good throwback 🙂


  12. Pingback: Salted Caramel Brownies | Brown Eyed Baker

  13. Susan Smith on May 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Hi! A couple friends and I are making this as one of our cakes for a baby shower we are doing (zoo animal theme). We thought the cake tasted better the next day, but we were wanting to try this with different cake recipes and wondered if you have tried this.


    • Michelle on May 31st, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      Hi Susan, I haven’t tried it with any other cake recipes, but I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try! Let me know how it works for you!


  14. Lyn on September 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Wow wow wow. I made this for my brother’s b-day and it was great! Soo tasty and very fun-looking. I didn’t make any frosting for it (my family is sort of neutral on frosting – sometimes I just whip up a small batch for anyone who wants to spread some on their cake).
    This recipe is definitely a winner and I’m sure I’ll be making it again soon, with variations (Zebra muffins, anyone? ;D).


  15. Pingback: Zebra Cake « Tales of an Overtime Cook

  16. Amy on May 2, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I just pulled this cake out of the oven, and it looks fantastic. It cracked a little around one of the layers, but I plan on frosting it so that should be allright. I have a friend who wanted a marble cake for her birthday, and was thinking about using this recipe…is there a way to prevent the cracking the next time I bake this cake?


  17. Pingback: I made a Zebra Cake | Mademoiselle

  18. Pingback: Цветни великденски вкусотии | Vip Bebe

  19. nikki on October 25, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    will this work with cupcakes?


    • Michelle on October 26th, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      Hi Nikki, I believe it would, however it would be quite time consuming!


  20. soni on June 11, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I made it a couple of times and it was delicious. The amount of sugar is just right and the recipe really fast. This is not the first recipe I try from this website and all of them are delicious. Thanks for your great work.


  21. Heidelind on September 30, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    I made this cake with a friend of mine, she was very impressed:) I was a big hit-thank you!


  22. Keja Kula on October 6, 2015 at 4:25 am

    I am going to try this recipe, can you please advise if i use butter instead of oil ,
    and buttermilk instead of milk


    • Michelle on October 6th, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Keja, I would not use butter instead of oil, as it will completely change the texture of the cake. I wouldn’t recommend the substitution of buttermilk, either, as it could affect how the cake raises.


    • KejaKula on October 12th, 2015 at 4:30 am

      Thank you, Miichelle, for your advise.Noted.


  23. Sonibess on January 10, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    This is the 4th or 5th time I make this recipe. Always a hit. Normally I usually follow your recipe to the dot but today I wanted it a little bit more chocolatey. So to the cocoa powder I added 2tbsp of melted dark chocolate chuncks. I also couldn’t find my almond extract, so I used coconut extract instead. Oh my, oh my, oh my… Heavenly!!! The chocolate flavor was intense Thanks again for this fantastic recipe.


Leave a Comment

(Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for your patience! If it is your first time commenting you may want to review the Comment Guidelines.)