Have you ever seen a Zebra Cake? Those pretty swirled chocolate and vanilla cake layers might look kind of complicated, but they’re easier to make than you might think. This recipe is the one my kids chose to make from my friend Lisa’s new cookbook, Kid Chef Bakes: The Kids Cookbook for Aspiring Bakers. This is also the first Zebra Cake I’ve made and it won’t be the last.
My kids thought the Zebra Cake was incredibly cool and it was delicious too. Oh, and let’s not confuse this recipe for Zebra Cake with those Little Debbie Zebra Cakes that you may have eaten through childhood. That’s a completely different treat. Tasty, but not the same at all.
Zebra Cakes look trickier than they are. I can promise you that this is an easy cake to make, because you already know I’m not a fancy baker. Most of my cakes are sheet cakes topped with a glaze or a sprinkling of powdered sugar. This simple Brown Sugar Pound Cake is a basic bundt cake with a simple Caramel Glaze. The Cold Chocolate Snacking Cake is a simple cake that everyone raves about. This pretty Rose Cake? It comes together in about 5 minutes time. (And truthfully, I wouldn’t believe that either, if I hadn’t made it myself.)
How To Make A Zebra Cake
To make the stripes in a Zebra Cake all you need to do is divide your batter in half and add cocoa powder to one bowl. Then spoon the batter into the pan, layering alternating colors over each other, one spoonful at a time. It really is that easy. As you add the batter to the pan, it will spread out across the pan. Don’t shake the pan as you set it in the oven and you’ll have a pretty striped cake ready to eat in no time.
I chose to top the cake with lightly sweetened whipped cream, but it would also be great with Fluffy Chocolate Frosting or even this Fresh Strawberry Frosting. For more fun cakes to make with kids, try this Easy Birthday Cake from Scratch or this Rainbow Birthday Cake. Want something a little different for your next party? How about Cake Batter Truffles or a Birthday Cake Martini? Do you have a four-legged friend who wants to celebrate too? This Spoiled Dog Cake is the cutest idea ever for the dog in your life.
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup light flavored olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- Topping Ingredients:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Thoroughly grease and flour a 9-inch round pan. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the oil, milk, and vanilla, beating again until well blended. Add the flour mixture to the liquids, beating again until blended.
Spoon half the batter into the empty bowl that held the flours. Whisk the cocoa powder into one of the bowls.
To make the stripes, alternate adding the two different colors to the well-greased and floured pan. Scoop a small amount of batter (see cook's note) into the center of the pan and then alternate with a scoop of the other batter directly on top of the first. Repeat until all the batter is in the pan. The cake batter will spread to the edge of the pan as you add more.
Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool slightly in the pan, then remove from the pan and place on a wire rack to finish cooling.
When the cake has cooled completely, make the topping. Pour the heavy cream into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer (with the whisk attachment) until stiff peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat again to mix throughout.
Scoop the whipped cream topping onto the cake and smooth across. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Add the batter to the pan in small amounts. It doesn't matter whether you add it 2 tablespoons or 1/4 cup at a time, as long as you add the SAME AMOUNT each time. If you vary the amounts each time you scoop more batter into the pan, you won't see the defined layers and they may bleed together. Keeping the amounts equal each time you add to the pan helps create more defined stripes.