Easy Zebra Cake

We all know this chocolate and vanilla cake, made in zebra or marbled style. It brings back childhood memories for many of us. When it’s still a little warm and paired with a cold glass of milk, this zebra cake is always a tasty 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 seem 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.

How to make a zebra cake

Start by greasing and lining a 24 cm (9 inches) round cake pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

In a big bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, a pinch of salt, and baking powder. In another bowl, mix cocoa powder, 1/4 cup of milk, and 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Blend butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition. Pour in vanilla extract. Gradually add milk and flour mixture, alternating, and mix on low speed.

Now, take 2 cups of batter and combine it with the chocolate mixture. Time to layer! With a tablespoon, alternate spoonfuls of white and chocolate batter in the prepared pan, starting from the center. Create a beautiful pattern of flavors.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Serve this delightful cake as is or add a chocolate glaze on top. Your Marbled Chocolate and Vanilla Cake is ready to enjoy – a masterpiece of flavors and textures!

If you like vanilla and chocolate combination you may also like this Marble Bundt Cake. This Chocolate Swirl Bread is also a treat that kids love.

Hope you will try this amazing Zebra Cake. Let me know if you try it out and share the photos with me on Instagram if you do. Enjoy!

Chocolate stripes cake
Zebra Cake

Zebra Cake

5 from 2 votes
Everybody is familiar with this zebra cake with chocolate and vanilla. Still a bit warm, along a cold cup of milk, zebra cake always makes a delicious treat.
Servings 10 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 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


  • Grease and line with parchment paper, a 24 cm (9 in) round cake pan.  Preheat oven at 180 (350 F).
  • Whisk together in a large bowl the dry ingredients, flour salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In another bowl mix the cocoa powder with 1/4 cup milk and 1 tbsp of sugar.
  • Mix butter with sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated. Add vanilla extract.  
  • With the mixer on low, alternate adding gradually milk and flour mixture until all is well incorporated.
  • Remove two cups of the batter and mix them with the chocolate mixture.
  • 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)
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the pan.
  • Serve as it is or top with chocolate glaze.



Serving: 1gCalories: 430kcalCarbohydrates: 52.8gProtein: 7.6gFat: 21.7gSaturated Fat: 12.9gCholesterol: 117mgSugar: 23.2g
Calories: 430kcal
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: breakfast zebra cake, chocolate vanilla cake, marbled cake, zebra cake, zebra chocolate cake

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @homecookingadventure on Instagram and hashtag it #homecookingadventure.

Join the Conversation

  1. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) Author says:

    sooooo pretty!!!! You did an awesome job!

  2. shanthikumar Author says:

    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.

  3. Amy Author says:

    This is the most beautiful and perfect looking zebra cake I’ve ever seen!!! Amazing 🙂

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

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

  4. Tewshooz Author says:

    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.

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      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. 

  5. Jill Author says:

    What a cute recipe – cannot wait to make – now I’m really craving it!!

  6. Rosie Author says:

    This looks SO good! I really love the zebra pattern!

  7. Rosa Author says:

    A splendid cake! Perfect zebra pattern.



  8. Liz Author says:

    Whoa, yours is PERFECT! Such a beautiful cake!

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      Thank you Liz, means a lot coming from you. 

  9. tewshooz Author says:

    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.

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      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.  

  10. Nami | Just One Cookbook Author says:

    SUPER impressive! I’m always curious how you make beautiful zebra/swirl shape, and now I know how!!

  11. Abbey Author says:

    Are you supposed to put icing on it? Is is too dry without it?

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      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. 

  12. Princess Author says:

    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

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      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.

  13. jandy Author says:

    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..

  14. Sahar Author says:

    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 😉

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      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. 


  15. Precioux Pearl Author says:

    can I add more sugar in this reciepe.. Because I always use 2cups of sugar…. It seems the sugar is less… isn’t ?

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      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.

  16. JKLMomof3 Author says:

    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. 😀

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

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

  17. Angelo Infante Author says:

    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.

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      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.

  18. Urska Author says:

    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!

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      yes.. send me a photo on [email protected].. 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?

  19. Julia Author says:

    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! 🙂

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

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

  20. Urska Author says:

    Which type of flour should we use? Thanks.

  21. Urska Author says:

    Which type of flour should we use? Thanks.

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      All purpose flour or cake flour will be fine. 

  22. Julia Author says:

    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!

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

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

  23. Chathu Author says:

    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.

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      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:)

  24. yumi Author says:

    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???

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      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.

  25. Sharanya Author says:


    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!

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

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

  26. Sharanya Author says:


    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!

  27. Nida Author says:

    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.

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      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

  28. Irum Author says:

    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.

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      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. 

  29. Janet Author says:

    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!

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

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

  30. Kavitha Author says:

    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 🙂

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      so glad to hear that Kavitha –thank you for such a great and rewarding comment 🙂

  31. Brenda Author says:

    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!

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      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.

  32. Meriam al balooshi Author says:

    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

  33. Ela Author says:

    What type of sugar do l use granulated or castor sugar

  34. taraneh Author says:

    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.

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      Is it possible you added more flour or less milk? 

    2. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      Is it possible you added more flour or less milk? 

  35. Vardhini Author says:

    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 hardtight…what might have gone wrong.?

  36. Jehad Author says:

    I loved cooking because of you <3 your are great :*

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      Thank you:) glad to hear that

  37. Awesome! I am yet to make one Author says:

    Awesome!! Am yet to make one

  38. Smitcool Author says:

    Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes? If so, how long do I have to bake it?

    1. Ella-HomeCookingAdventure Author says:

      Hello .

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

  39. Newman Author says:

    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?

  40. MasterCakes Author says:

    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.

  41. Katie Author says:

    I am wanting to bake this cake but I can’t eat gluten. How do you think it will think it will turn out if I use gluten free flour?

  42. Sumera Beg Author says:

    Mine did not rise??

  43. Zela Author says:

    Mine didn’t raise up, I did everything right, did I mess up?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

© Copyright 2023. Home Cooking Adventure