Zebra Cake is moist, delicious and comes together so effortlessly. It is the perfect cake for kids, but let’s be real — adults love it too!
Zebra Cake makes a great addition to a kid’s birthday party, especially if you’re are doing animal-themed decorations. Once you slice into the cake, be prepared to have your young guests gasp with excitement over the cool swirls!
The flavors of this cake are incredible — a delicate sponge cake is elevated with a nice balance of chocolate flavor peaking in.
What is a Zebra Cake?
If you grew up eating Little Debbie treats, you are probably familiar with the famous Zebra Cakes. These little packaged cakes have been showing up in lunch boxes for decades.
However, Zebra Cake really references any cake that swirls chocolate with sponge cake. In this homemade version, we ice the cake with a rich, ganache frosting.
How To Make Those Signature Zebra Cake Stripes
Pour the cake batter into the baking dish at two-spoon increments, while switching out between the two colors — two spoons of vanilla cake batter, two spoons of chocolate cake batter, two spoons of vanilla cake batter again, etc. Repeat the process until you run out of batter. This will create those beautiful stripes!
Tips For The Best Zebra Cake
- Use a 7-inch baking pan — any bigger and your batter will be spread too thin to give you stripes.
- Use the toothpick test to check cake for doneness. If it comes out clean, it’s ready!
- Level the top of the cake using a sharp knife to cut the bump off that forms during baking. This will make it easier for you to stack the layers.
- Make the cake decorations fun, fun, fun! Add some pops of color with your lettering or through on some animal-themed cake toppers.
How to Make a Ganache
- Bring whipping cream to a boil
- Pour it over chocolate chips and stir until there are no lumps left
- Allow it to sit for a bit to cool it down and only then use it to decorate the cake
Making Zebra Cake In Advance
The Zebra Cake can be made several days in advance. Store the finished cake refrigerated. It is best to keep it in a sealed container. This will give the cake several day to soak up all the flavors.
Other Cake Recipes to Try:
- Cake Prague – Let’s just say this cake doesn’t skimp on the chocolate.
- Ferrero Rocher Cake Recipe – If you love these candies, you’re going to flip out over this cake.
- Kiev Cake – From buttercream to jam to hazelnuts, Kiev cake has it all.
- Sharlotka Cake – With just five ingredients, this apple cake comes together beautifully.
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Zebra Sponge Cake
Soaking Zebra Cake
- 1/2 cup Whipping cream
- 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup whipping cream
Zebra Sponge Cake
- In a medium bowl, mix the softened butter with 3/4 cup of sugar.
- Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs with 1 cup of sugar.
- Add the butter mixture into the egg mixture.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the sour cream mixture into the egg and butter mixture.
- Working slowly, add the flour into the batter until well-combined. Next, split the batter in half in two separate bowls. Add cacao powder to one of the bowls to create the chocolate cake and whisk until well-combined.
- Spray a 7-inch cake pan with cooking spray. Alternating the different colors of batter, place two tablespoon of batter at a time into the cake pan until you run out. This will create the zebra stripe effect.
- Bake the cake at 350°F for 40 minutes. To check if the cake is done, stick a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, it's ready. Once the cake completely cools at room temperature, slice it into 2-3 equal sized layers with a serrated knife.
Soaking Zebra Cake
- Soak each cake layer with about 1/2 cup of whipping cream (use a squirt bottle if you have one).
- Using an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar together just until it reaches stiff peaks.
- Apply the cream between each layer and use the remaining cream to frost the outside of the cake.
- In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Next, pour it over the chocolate chips in a medium size bowl and stir the mixture until smooth. Give the ganache a couple of minutes to cool.
- Apply the ganache all over the top of the cake. If you wish, decorate the top with chocolate shavings, sprinkles, or whatever else you'd like. Eat immediately or let the cake set overnight in the refrigerator for best results. Enjoy!