zebra cake

IMG_8733IMG_8700*No zebras were harmed in the making of this cake

This is my virtual entry to this year’s Canberra show, where the special category was a zebra cake {although I read the rules after I baked it, and it was supposed to be just one layer and undecorated #rebelwithoutacause 🤘}IMG_8726IMG_8711I come from a line of show bakers and so Mum tasked me with giving this a go pre-show so that I could report back to The Fam. It’s a riff on a marble cake with a delish chocolate buttercream icing. I unashamedly ate the icing at work during a Monday morning slump in productivity and the resulting sugar high was glorious. Both recipes are courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction.IMG_8727The zebra pattern is surprisingly easy to do! You just have to spoon the mixture into the centre of the tin in alternating blobs. I’d mentally bookmarked this cake after seeing it on Sally’s blog a little while ago so {as with most new recipes} all I needed was the impetus to make it, and the show certainly provided that! IMG_8737Congrats to Aunty C on her successes – she won first prize in the sponge cake, second in the orange and poppyseed cake, first in the marble cake and third in the chocolate sponge 😀IMG_8693IMG_8721I hope all my UK readers are keeping warm! We’re in the midst of an especially cold snap here that the news is catchily calling ‘The Beast From The East’ as it’s all coming over from Russia. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much snow in the space of a week! Spring technically starts tomorrow but it’s -5*C with more snow forecast at the moment so I’m not holding my breath! 🌨

Zebra Cake

  • Servings: 12 - 16 slices, depending of course on how big you cut them!
  • Print

Recipe Notes

  • I’ve altered Sally’s original recipe so that it would make a cake with two, 8″ {20cm} layers, and swapped the cream-cheese icing for a chocolate buttercream
  • If you weigh your mixing bowl empty before you start, you can ensure you’ve got equal quantities of chocolate and vanilla cake batter and that your layers are even. Take the weight of the full bowl of cake batter away from the empty weight and divide by two, allowing for a little to get stuck on the inside of the bowl. For me this resulted in approx. 700g of chocolate batter and 700g of vanilla batter, and around 700g going into each cake tin.


Zebra Cake: 
  • 300g plain flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarb. soda
  • 260g soft, unsalted butter
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs {room temp.}
  • 55g sour cream {room temp.}
  • ¾ tbsp vanilla extract
  • 315ml buttermilk {room temp.}
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 1½ tbsp sugar
  • 1½ tbsp milk
Chocolate buttercream + decoration: 
  • 285g soft, unsalted butter
  • 420g icing sugar
  • 65g cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60ml milk
  • 1 tbsp espresso coffee {optional}
  • sprinkles


Zebra cake: 

Preheat your oven to 180*C and line two 8″ {20cm} circular cake tins with greaseproof paper.

Measure out the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt into a bowl, whisk together and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the 300g caster sugar for 3 minutes or so, until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one, followed by the sour cream and vanilla.

Add a third of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold through. Next, add around half of the buttermilk and mix through. Repeat: a third dry, fold, the rest of the buttermilk, fold, the rest of the dry, and a final mix through.

In a small bowl or jug, stir together the cocoa powder, milk, and sugar to form a smooth paste.

Pour half of the cake mix into a separate bowl and add the chocolate paste. Stir through until it’s all incorporated.

Now it’s time to put the batter into the tins: dollop a spoonful of cake mix into the centre of one of your tins. Take a spoonful of the other flavour and put it on top of the first. Repeat this process, alternating between chocolate and vanilla, and give the tins a bit of a shimmy to spread the mix out if necessary. Check out Sally’s video for a visual guide to this process. Do half of one tin and then start on the other, to ensure that you don’t run out of cake mix halfway through!

Once you’ve used up all of the mixture, put the tins in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, testing with a skewer or a toothpick to see if they’re done. Leave to cool completely.

Chocolate buttercream + decoration: 

Put all the ingredients for the buttercream {minus the sprinkles!} into a large mixing bowl and mix on slow to begin with {until the icing sugar has been mostly incorporated}. Scrape down the bowl, turn the speed up to high and beat for a couple of minutes until the buttercream is smooth and fluffy.

Arrange your first layer on whatever you’re going to serve the cake on, top with some of the buttercream and spread it out to the edges. Put the other layer on top and cover the cake in the remaining buttercream.

Decorate with sprinkles and serve.

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