How to Make a Cake with Zebra Stripes on the Inside!

Hi everyone!

In my last video tutorial, I demonstrated how to decorate a cake with zebra stripes–a very fun look for your safari, fashion or just plain funky themed cakes! Well, today I’ll show you how to continue the theme to the inside of the cake.

By the way, I did not invent the zebra cake. I’m not sure who did–but if you google zebra cakes, you’ll see all kinds of recipes that point to basically the same outcome–very cool looking slices :0) –You’ll see that part in just a second.

First, let’s talk batter– You’ll most often see chocolate and white zebra cakes, but for a fun twist, you can tint your batter with coloring gels!

We went the boxed cake route and bought a box of Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake, and a box of Duncan Hines French Vanilla. We chose these because they don’t have pudding in the mix (like Pillsbury & Betty Crocker, which can be a little thick for this project–although I love them for anything else).

We prepared the batter for each cake mix separately and found the batter to be just right for the project. If the batter is too thick, the effect will be more difficult to achieve. If they batter is very thin, it may spread too quickly.

(*** If you would like to try this cake with a scratch recipe, you can choose your favorite white or yellow cake recipe and then divide it approx. in half– you can stir approx 3 tablespoons or so of dutch processed cocoa powder into one of your bowls of batter to create chocolate batter.

Let’s get started!

Two bowls of batter….

We started by dropping 1/4 cup of vanilla batter into the middle of our 8″ pan.  It will spread a little bit.  Then…

Measure out a 1/4 cup of chocolate batter and pour it in the center of your vanilla batter.


Repeat this process, continuing with 1/4 cup scoops of alternating flavors, each flavor of batter dropped into the center of the previous circle of batter. The batter is thin enough that it does not take long at all for the batter to spread out a little bit.

Continue the process until your pans are approx 2/3 full.  (We had a couple of cups leftover, which we used to make extra cake layers for another time.)

Look how pretty!…

Ready for the oven!

Well…here’s where it would have been nice of me to take a picture of the baked layers.  They look exactly like the above picture, only…baked. :0) —


I assembled my fat two layer cake as I always do…the bottom layer right side up, and the top layer top side down (with buttercream in between).  I’m sure that the zebra effect would look pretty no matter how you stack your layers.

After crumb coating my cake with vanilla buttercream, I used a Wilton star tip 21 (one of my faves) to do a reverse shell pattern with my medium consistency buttercream.  I always love a nice reverse shell border, but I now like them even better when piped vertically!  You can see that I staggered mine a bit so that neighboring lines fit nicely together.   Is it just me or does my cake look like it’s wearing a snuggly buttercream sweater?!  :0)



Zebra Cake Tutorial by

Okay, back on topic again….. it’s time to cut the cake!!! (I said a little prayer after all of that piping that the zebra stripes actually  would be there when we cut into the cake!) —   Whew!


Zebra Cake Tutorial by!



Hooray! It’s always nice to have a hidden surprise within the cake— if you haven’t tried this method already,  write it on your cake “bucket list” –it’s fun–and looks much more complicated than it is, which I love!

*An update~ When this tutorial was first created, the sizes of standard box mixes were larger (around 18.5 oz). Now, they are 16.5 oz. We tested the zebra cake again with the new smaller size and still had great results. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope that you enjoyed the tutorial!

Zebra Print Cake Tutorial by

Category: Animals/Animal Print, Blog Tutorials, Buttercream Techniques, Everything Else, Fashion, Kids, Miscellaneous Kids Themes


  1. Destiny says: #301

    I heart this blog! This is just so awesome and fantastic! Me and my sister are gonna bake a zebra cake soon! Thanks for the tutorials! :)

  2. Josie says: #302

    thanks for making this so easy to do…love it !

  3. Kristi says: #303

    my Daughter will b 22 and i STILL make her cakes. She loves Zebra things Im soooo… excited about this one.

  4. BeBe says: #304

    I think she will love it too, thanks for your post!

  5. Noor says: #305

    I will do this for a birthday celebration at school! Thankyou so MUCH!!!!

  6. Salma says: #306

    Love it…want to try it with my daughter who has just started baking.

  7. kate says: #307

    I made this with a cat shaped tin to make a striped tabby cat! worked a treat

  8. BeBe says: #308

    Hi Kate, what a cute idea. Thanks for posting.

  9. dawn says: #309

    My chocolate batter was much thicker, didn’t spread much. I’d thin out the chocolate batter more if I make again. Mine didn’t look like this.
    In the oven now, so we’ll see how they look.

  10. dawn says: #310

    It worked! Had nice zebra stripes which was quite a surprise to everyone as I didn’t tell them what kind of cake I had made.
    How fun!

  11. BeBe says: #311

    Wonderful, I’m happy it was a success!! Thank you for letting us know!

  12. Andrea Frantin says: #312

    Doing this today! We made the white cake mix pink to match my daughters pink zebra halter for her horse. She thinks she is the coolest kid in town!

  13. BeBe says: #313

    That will be so cute!!

  14. MoM2 says: #314

    If you dye the white batter orange, and then add a little black food coloring to the chocolate–you make a TIGER cake (for my little boy!). :) Thanks!

  15. Beth says: #315

    If you are making a larger cake (16″) round do you still use 1/4 scoops or should they be larger

  16. BeBe says: #316

    Hi Beth, we used 8″ round pans, so I think you would be fine to increase to 1/2 cup scoops if you are making a 16″ cake round. It would take a long time to fill the pan if using the 1/4 cup scoops.

  17. mai says: #317

    Thank you for the wonderful idea!

  18. Catherine says: #318

    I tried this for my sister’s birthday cake, she loves zebra and purple so i dyed the white cake purple and i also had to add a little more water to the chocolate as it was very thick, it turned out well and i also used the leftover batter to make matching zebra print cupcakes to go with the cake. My sister loved it so thank you.

  19. Sarah says: #319

    This is like what was called a marbled cake when I was young. It was my favourite cake. I wanted all the time for my birthday. Now I am into carrot cake. :)

  20. Masni says: #320

    cool! will try this later

  21. jennifer says: #321

    Ha just made the cake (vanilla and hazulnut) and it worked! I’m so proud thank you for showing us :-)

  22. BeBe says: #322

    That’s great!! Thank you for your post!

  23. BeBe says: #323

    Hi Elizabeth, We used 2 boxes of cake mix, one white and one chocolate, to make the two layer zebra cake. We did have some cake batter remaining that we used to make cake layers for another use.

  24. Nancy says: #324

    I’ve been saving this tutorial for a while now, and finally I have a reason to use the zebra stripe cake batter…my 6 year old granddaughter wants a Rock Star Hello Kitty cake. So I colored the batters hot pink and black and following your directions I made it and it’s in the oven now. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial I have all the confidence in the world that it will be wonderful.

  25. Melissa Diamond says: #325

    Thanks Nancy! I’m so happy that you made it, pink & black sounds fabulous!

  26. Paula M. says: #326

    I really want to give this a try. In your opinion, would melted chocolate in the batter taste better than cocoa, and how much chocolate would you add in place of cocoa if I wanted to go this route…a few ounces? Thank you.

  27. Krista says: #327

    Is there some reason you have to use the chocolate? Could I do 2 boxes of the french vanilla and dye one a color? I was hoping to do a gender reveal cake out of this and have it be either white and pink or white and blue. But I wasn’t sure if maybe the batter would blend together too much since it’s the same type?? what do you think?

  28. Melissa Diamond says: #328

    Hi Krista– No, it doesn’t have to be chocolate and white– colorful zebra stripes will work too!

  29. diane bukovinsky says: #329

    So u just keep dropping the cake batter into the center ? (I confuse easily whinh is normal lol )

  30. BeBe says: #330

    Hi Diane, Yes, keep dropping the batter into the center. It is a bit time consuming as you wait for each color to spread out, but worth it for the end result.

  31. BeBe says: #331

    Hi Kristen, That will be so very cute!

  32. Lori says: #332

    will this cake be ok to cover with fondant?

  33. Connie Cherry says: #333

    I am planning on making this cake in school colors for a football stadium cake and in a rectangle sheet pan. I will have 3 layers. Do I still put the batter in the center of the pan or should I do put it in 2 or 3 areas of the pan? thanks for a great site. Love it.

  34. BeBe says: #334

    Hi Connie, I’m sorry we missed your question. We have never tried doing the zebra cake in a rectangle shaped pan. I think I would try putting the 2 colors of batter in the center of the pan and after that has spread I would fill in the end sections in the same way. You would not have the same uniformity as a circular pan. This is just my best guess…..wish I could have been more helpful. If you give it a try, we would love to hear from you.

  35. NKR says: #335

    What is vanilla batter? Are you talking pudding, cake mix, or something else? Thanks and will try when I get the answer.

  36. BeBe says: #336

    Hi NKR, vanilla batter refers to the cake mix batter, it is vanilla flavor.

  37. Bonnie says: #337

    Thank you. This cake looks perfect when a ‘different’ cake is needed.

  38. Bonnie says: #338

    Wouldn’t any leftover batter make adorable cupcakes?.

  39. BeBe says: #339

    Yes, very cute !

  40. Mom2three says: #340

    I will definitely be trying this out soon!! I’ve been asked to make a cake for a small class reunion. The school mascot is a tiger, so I can’t wait for them to cut into the cake and reveal this surprise! So grateful for this blog entry!

  41. BeBe says: #341

    They will love it!!

  42. Stefanie says: #342

    This is the perfect cake I need for a baby shower. The mother has chosen baby pink and dark brown zebra print for the theme. Hard to find decorations but anyway, plan on making the shower cake and what a surprise she will have when she cuts into the cake!!! Thank you, I’m gonna be loved forever for this trick!!! Can’t wait!

  43. BeBe says: #343

    It will be perfect for the baby shower!

  44. Bree says: #344

    Hi! Do you think this will work ok for cupcakes?! :)

  45. BeBe says: #345

    I think it would work, but it will take a very long time to fill the cupcake liners.

  46. Annie says: #346

    my daughters softball team had zebra stripes along the side, so I just made this cake for their end-of-season party…a big hit!

  47. Teresa says: #347

    This cake looks amazing. I love zebra and I hope mine comes out as good as yours did.thank you for sharing

  48. Charmaine says: #348

    Hi there!!…also going to try this for a wedding cake.
    Have never done this before, so can’t wait to see how this is going to turn out.

  49. Julie B says: #349

    My husbands birthday is Saturday and I’m not an avid baker. Going to try this out. Fingers crossed!!!

  50. BeBe says: #350

    Hi Julie, I think he will love it. Let us know.

  51. Sara says: #351

    Today I’m doing a chocolate and raspberry zebra cake for my birthday party on Saturday. Will the cake keep for two days?

  52. Melissa Diamond says: #352

    Hi Sara- If you are using a raspberry filling/anything perishable, you’ll want to refrigerate. I refrigerate anything with fruit fillings. No problem to refrigerate for a couple of days, it will be fine!

  53. Raven says: #353

    omg i love it i’m going to make t as soon as possible because i love baking and this would be amazingly fun:)

  54. paintmycake says: #354

    Hi Melissa, I would like to do this cake from scratch and my FAVORITE chocolate cake recipe is your Classic Chocolate Scratch recipe. I don’t have a favorite vanilla but was thinking of trying the Classic White Cake in your recipes section too. Would these recipes work or would they be too thick?
    Another question – I would love to do this print inside the purse cake and make a brown and white zebra stripe flap on the outside of the purse.
    Would these hold up to that too? Ill either cover in white chocolate ganache or fondant. Thank you.

  55. BeBe says: #355

    Hi paintmycake, we have not tried using those recipes for the zebra stripe cake so I can’t say for sure, but I think they will work. We have had many people try this with scratch recipes and have success, I just don’t know what recipe they used. The two recipes will hold up to fondant….and the zebra stripe flap on the outside of the purse would not add too much weight. I am assuming that you are using the “purse cake” on the site. It only has a small amount of carving so I think the recipes will be fine, and you will be chilling the cake before you carve.

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  57. Destiny says: #357

    Can’t wait until june 28 for my cake

  58. Mini says: #358

    Wonderful, I’ve just been asked for an Africa cake from my nephew for his birthday, since we are going to South Africa a few days after. I have more or less got the outside decoration sorted, but this will just blow their minds when they cut it! Great tutorial and thanks!

  59. BeBe says: #359

    Yes, this is perfect for his birthday!! Thank you for the nice comments!

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  61. Chichi says: #361

    … I tried it .. :) ..
    all I can say is PERFECT… Turned out just th way i wanted it to 😀

  62. Melissa Diamond says: #362

    I’m so glad, ChiChi! ;0)

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