Zebra Cake

Zebra Cake

Watch the video for this recipe:

Everybody is familiar with this chocolate and vanilla cake, either made in zebra or marbled style, the taste of it reminds of childhood probably for many of us. Still a bit warm, along a cold cup of milk, zebra cake always makes a delicious treat. 

Trying to recreate the taste I was familiar with I gathered more recipes and finally decided to this list of ingredients and changed some of the quantities. I chose to use butter instead of oil, didn't melt it and mix it as it with sugar. I have also reduced the sugar that other recipes seems to use. The batter is so creamy and delicious that you could just eat it as it is.
You can serve this zebra cake as it is with milk or coffee or can also make a chocolate glaze on top for a more sophisticated look. 
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  • Makes about 10 servings
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1 cup butter (200 g), at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375g) flour
  • 2 tsp (10 g) baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • For the chocolate batter
  • 3 tbsp (25g) cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (50ml) milk
  • 1 tbsp (15g) sugar


  1. Grease and line with parchment paper, a 24 cm (9 in) round cake pan.  Preheat oven at 180 (350 F).
  2. Whisk together in a large bowl the dry ingredients, flour salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl mix the cocoa powder with 1/4 cup milk and 1 tbsp of sugar.
  4. Mix butter with sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated. Add vanilla extract.  
  5. With the mixer on low, alternate adding gradually milk and flour mixture until all is well incorporated.
  6. Remove two cups of the batter and mix them with the chocolate mixture.
  7. Use one tablespoon for each batter to create the layers of batter on the prepared pan. Begin from the middle of the pan, take one spoon of white batter then over it add a spoon of chocolate batter and repeat this steps until all batter has been used. (If you don't have the patience to make these layers just add one batter on top of the other and create swirls with a knife or fork to create the marbled effect)
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the pan.
  10. Serve as it is or top with chocolate glaze.
Zebra Cake-1
Zebra Cake-2
Nutrition facts 1 Serving - Calories:430, Fat:21.7g, Saturated Fat:12.9 g, Carbohydrates:52.8 g, Sugar:23.2 g, Fiber:1.5 g, Protein:7.6 g, Cholesterol:117mg, Calories from Fat 195, Sodium 228mg , Vitamin A 14%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 9%,Iron 13%, Nutrition Grade D+, Daily Percent Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
On May 17, 2013 at 10:51 am, Kayle (The Cooking Actress) said...
sooooo pretty!!!! You did an awesome job!
On May 17, 2013 at 02:50 pm, Amy said...
This is the most beautiful and perfect looking zebra cake I've ever seen!!! Amazing :)

Thank you so much Amy, really appreciate your comment. Hope you will try this recipe:)

On May 17, 2013 at 06:24 pm, Tewshooz said...
My mother used to bake this cake from the Settlement Cookbook (Circa 1940) when I was a little girl. The chocolate batter called for 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves and a teaspoon of cinnamon. I always loved it and totally forgot about it until I read your recipe. The cake is baking in the oven right now and it smells heavenly! I used a springform pan. Thank you for this.

What a good idea to add cloves and cinnamon, I was thinking too to add cinnamon but finally decided not to, as I didn't't want to cover the classic taste of vanilla and chocolate. But will surely try next time. 

On May 18, 2013 at 01:50 pm, Jill said...
What a cute recipe - cannot wait to make - now I'm really craving it!!
On May 20, 2013 at 04:14 pm, Rosie said...
This looks SO good! I really love the zebra pattern!
On May 21, 2013 at 03:15 am, Rosa said...
A splendid cake! Perfect zebra pattern. Cheers, Rosa
On May 22, 2013 at 07:42 am, Liz said...
Whoa, yours is PERFECT! Such a beautiful cake!

Thank you Liz, means a lot coming from you. 

On May 23, 2013 at 11:00 am, tewshooz said...
Well, this is an update. I baked this cake the other day and it is the most yummy, moist cake I have ever made (and I have made a lot). I cut it into slices, wrapped and froze them. Now when we have coffee in the afternoons, we each have a slice and are not tempted to eat the whole thing at one sitting, which would be soooooo easy to do. Thanks for this recipe.

Thank you for your comment. I have one question, regarding freezing.. I am not too used to this and seems that we actually eat the whole thing in one day :) How much time it needs to defrost? I would like to try freezing them too, it's a good idea.  

On June 07, 2013 at 01:01 am, Nami | Just One Cookbook said...
SUPER impressive! I'm always curious how you make beautiful zebra/swirl shape, and now I know how!!
On August 19, 2013 at 10:50 pm, Abbey said...
Are you supposed to put icing on it? Is is too dry without it?

I usually like to serve it with coffee or milk, so in this case no icing is needed. Is like sweet bread, as banana bread so a little of chocolate topping or icing definitely won't hurt :) if served simple. 

On May 17, 2013 at 10:51 am, shanthikumar said...
Hi, just came across your Zebra cake on the web.Its very pretty and truly look very pleasing to the eye! I have taken a diploma in baking and during my training, I saw one of my colleagues did the same design like yours. The instructor was pleased with the results and asked her how she created the "Tiger" stripes and she refused to disclose. I too have tried numerous time creating these designs but not the results I expected it to be!! Finally Today my prayer are answered after a long ten years!! Thanks a ton for your generosity for sharing your ideas and beautiful recipes to many cake enthusiasts like me. God bless you and from today onwards I am you fan.
On February 10, 2014 at 03:03 pm, Princess said...
Hi, I am a big fan of baking and recently my grandad has died so I wanted to make something for my grandmother to make her feel better! Although I have made her things they have never been to her liking so when I came across this it was a true inspiration. I made this cake and served it to her and she adored it! Thanks again my Hrandad would be so happy to see my progress since he was into baking himself xoxo

I am really sorry for your loss. I am glad you used my recipe to make your grandmother feel better. Hope you will try some other recipes too. Keep in touch.

On May 07, 2014 at 01:54 am, jandy said...
wow,nice cake... ,now,i have only flour :) this evening,my husband going to buy, this your recipe ingradients... My hubby,like very much.... Now,My mom was cancer, she like's cake... I wanted to bake as my own..but i don't no how to made Now i know....I am very happy...for seeing your recipe.. Now,ican made for my mom.. Thanks.thanks..
On May 28, 2014 at 10:12 am, Sahar said...
I was searching for a recipe to make with my 6 year old girl and we came across your Zebra cake! It looked amazing so we made it instantly and it turned out just Yummmy! Thanks for sharing Next time I make it I'm going to increase the sugar though, I guess I have a super sweet tooth ;-)

So glad you loved the recipe. You can also add various spices like cinnamon, or almond extract or rum.... whatever you love best. As for the sugar, if you like it sweeter you can add more.  Hope you will try some other of my recipes with your daughter. Thanks for letting me know. 


On January 12, 2015 at 03:31 pm, Precioux Pearl said...
can I add more sugar in this reciepe.. Because I always use 2cups of sugar.... It seems the sugar is less... isn't ?

You can use more sugar if you like it more sweet. I do have a tendency of using less sugar as I don't like desserts  too sweet. But feel free to use more sugar, it will work good.

On February 27, 2015 at 04:01 pm, JKLMomof3 said...
Do you have a recipe for a nice chocolate glaze to go on top of this. I'm thinking of making this for my daughter's first birthday (mostly adults, and my 3 kids) But I feel like I should ice it. :D

What about if you simply use a chocolate fudge sauce like this? http://www.homecookingadventure.com/recipes/hot-chocolate-fudge-sauce  or a Nutella topping like here: http://www.homecookingadventure.com/recipes/nutella-cheesecake, or a darker glaze like here: http://www.homecookingadventure.com/recipes/walnut-lemon-cake .

On March 12, 2015 at 01:11 pm, Angelo Infante said...
Buenas tardes, Tengo una duda, para la preparación del pastel de cebra, que seria mejor para obtener una buena esponjosidad.? la harina con levadura incorporada ó harina y levadura por separados. Para permitir una buena esponjosidad en un pastel es necesario batir por cuanto tiempo la mezcla o cual seria el truco.

Buenas tardes :) Yo uso harina y levadura en polvo separados. Esta receta es fácil,  hay truco, sólo batir lo suficiente hasta que todo los ingredientes estén bien incorporados.Eso es todo. Espero que intenta esta receta.

On June 22, 2015 at 12:18 pm, Urska said...
This recipe is very nice, but I'm having trouble with baking - my cake cracks not just on top, but on almost every cocoa layer... What could be wrong? I can send you a picture... Thanks for helping me out!

yes.. send me a photo on info@homecookingadventure.com.. not sure where the problem is.. did you use the right amount of cocoa.. combined with milk before adding the 2 cups (500g) of white batter?

On June 23, 2015 at 06:46 am, Julia said...
That looks amazing! Really look forward to making it - good plan for the weekend :) Just a quick question, can I replace the flour with self rising flour and skip the baking powder? Thanks! :)

I think this should work well:) You might need to skip the salt too if self raising flour is used

On June 26, 2015 at 12:51 am, Urska said...
Which type of flour should we use? Thanks.
On June 26, 2015 at 01:53 am, Urska said...
Which type of flour should we use? Thanks.

All purpose flour or cake flour will be fine. 

On June 28, 2015 at 03:43 pm, Julia said...
Ella, thanks a lot for sharing the recipe! I made the cake today (I used self rising flour) and it turned out very tasty. It's a bit crumbly, I think next time I will use more milk, but it's still really good :) Thank you again!

So glad it turned great for you:) Julia, it makes me really happy when I receive positive feedback :)

On August 11, 2015 at 03:45 am, Chathu said...
Hi, yesterday I made this cake and it was a hit. Outside of it is crispy and soft inside. I should add little bit of sugar next time. I have a small question. Why it cracks on the top of the cake. I tried your upside down apple cake also. It also very yummy. Hope you will share more cake recipes. Thank you.

Zebra Cake always cracks, at least in my case:), some say that if you bake it at a lower temperature it won't crack, like baking it on 325 F (165C) instead of 350F (180C), as lower temperature prevents the cake from rising rapidly and cracking. Haven't tried yet but it is possible.  Glad you enjoyed the recipes:) I will try making some more cakes as soon as possible:)

On August 31, 2015 at 02:03 pm, yumi said...
This sounds very yummy and I love your style of posting with images! That's an awesome idea! \(^O^)/ Thank you!!! I want to modify somewhat to make this as ""TIGER CAKE" instead of Zebra... We are born in the year of Tiger, so we always love anything with Tiger! My fiancee's birthday coming in a few days, I've been looking for a recipe for a Tiger Cake... Your recipe is very simple, which I love, and other Tiger Cake-Like ones I found are measured by weight and metric... I'm from Japan, but living in US over 20 years, I no longer use Metric system, but US standard measuring, especially with cooking... Does anyone have any suggestion to adjust maybe design somehow to make this as a Tiger Cake???

I am really glad you like my posting style. I am not sure how you can make this in tiger syle, maybe adding the mixtures from place to place over the withe mixture.. not necessarily in the center. This is what I would do to see what it turns out.

On October 07, 2015 at 10:12 am, Sharanya said...
Hi, Just wondering how do you top up this cake with a chocolate fudge sauce? Do you just pour it over/swirl it over? Sorry if it's silly, am a beginner at baking and am thinking of making this cake for my daughter's birthday!

yes.. just pour it over before serving.. it will be awesome:) hope you will wnjoy it

On October 07, 2015 at 10:12 am, Sharanya said...
Hi, Just wondering how do you top up this cake with a chocolate fudge sauce? Do you just pour it over/swirl it over? Sorry if it's silly, am a beginner at baking and am thinking of making this cake for my daughter's birthday!
On October 07, 2015 at 02:53 pm, Nida said...
I baked this cake today, and it looks soo pretty, it was a little lacking in taste . Maybe because I only used 3 eggs and vanilla essence not extract. Next time I'll increase the sugar by half cup more and use more vanilla. Also a query- why do most zebra cake recipes use oil and not butter? I read quite a few and then used half of each because I was confused.

hehe.. i like to use butter as it makes it more rich and flavorful.. if oil is used I prefer canola oil as it tasteless...You can add more sugar if desired or simply serve it drizzled with a chocolate fudge sauce.. Vanilla extract does make a difference and also a good quality cocoa powder.. If you want you can also add almond extract or rum or orange zest, espresso, for extra flavor.. whatever you like best

On October 28, 2015 at 11:05 am, Irum said...
I baked zebra cake it was rubisj because 3 cups of flour is too much .it should be 2 cups are milk should be 2 cups.please,check ingredients when posting.

I am sorry it didn't turn good for you .. you must  have done something wrong.. maybe you used too much flour.. make sure those 3 cups to not measure more than 375g...also did you use the butter and the eggs as written in the recipe? It's the first time to hear this recipe doesn't work.. all who have tried this were really pleased. Hope you will try this again more carefully. 

On October 30, 2015 at 11:46 pm, Janet said...
Hi, please advise if you are using salted or unsalted butter for this zebra cake?? As seen in the recipe, 1/4 salt is added. Thanks!

I am always using unsalted butter and add salt accordingly for each recipe. Hope you will try it out.

On November 02, 2015 at 04:15 am, Kavitha said...
Hi..loved the zebra cake..I tried and it turned out good. It looks yummy and tastes yummy too :) everyone is excited about yahoo way I looks. Thanku :)

so glad to hear that Kavitha --thank you for such a great and rewarding comment :)

On January 06, 2016 at 09:21 am, Brenda said...
Hi, I have some questions regarding this recipe. 1. Can I use a 22 cm round cake tin as well? 2. Can I use self-raising flour instead of the flour and baking soda? If yes, how many grams of self-raising flour do I need to use? 3. What type of oven are you using? Is it a fan-forced oven? I have a fan-forced oven. On what temperature (in Celsius) should I bake the zebra cake in a fan-forced oven? Thanks in advance! Love your videos!

22 cm round pan might be a bit small... there is a lot of batter..but it might work.. will get even taller than mine.. Never tried with self raising flour.. I never used it actually..it would be probably same amount of flour, 3 cups and leave out baking soda. I have a fan forced oven but I usually bake my cakes without fan... it might take less time if you bake it in a fan forced oven..Usually you need to reduce the oven temperature by 20C (about 50F) as the constant heat and force of the fan causes cakes to bake more quickly.

On January 25, 2016 at 04:41 am, Meriam al balooshi said...
Hi , i am from dubai i made ur recipe it turned out really good as for sugar yes needs to be added extra for sweetness.. i love ur recipes i dont know if i can post the pic here of my zebra cake ..i want to know as u have not mentioned in each stage like creaming the butter and the time adding eggs how long i shud keep mixing i believe there is mixing time to build up cake texture.. thank you
On July 15, 2016 at 02:19 am, Ela said...
What type of sugar do l use granulated or castor sugar
On August 26, 2016 at 03:56 pm, taraneh said...
Hi,i from iran and i made this cake and was good .but the not too fluffy cake.i will be grateful if you tell me where is the problem!!!!?thank you.

Is it possible you added more flour or less milk? 


Is it possible you added more flour or less milk? 

On September 16, 2016 at 04:47 am, Vardhini said...
Hi, i am from India. I tried this and the cake looked exactly like the one you made. Thanks for the lovely recipe. Though the taste was good, it didnt have the sponge type consistency. It was pretty hard\tight...what might have gone wrong.?
On September 22, 2016 at 09:05 am, Jehad said...
I loved cooking because of you <3 your are great :*

Thank you:) glad to hear that

On January 12, 2017 at 07:43 am, Awesome! I am yet to make one said...
Awesome!! Am yet to make one
On August 05, 2017 at 04:28 am, Smitcool said...
Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes? If so, how long do I have to bake it?

Hello .

You can try reducing the bake time jn half and test the cupcakes with a toothpick.

On June 02, 2018 at 08:17 am, Newman said...
I baked this cakes two times but they falled down, I don't know why? Is there somebody who came across with problem like this?
On December 18, 2018 at 02:23 am, MasterCakes said...
Made this for a birthday. Easy to make, delicious moist cake, easy to work with icing. Made a great impression when the cake was cut and the layers revealed. A hit all around. MasterCakes
On May 31, 2021 at 08:29 pm, Zela said...
Mine didn’t raise up, I did everything right, did I mess up?

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