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

Hi everyone! Happy Friday! Okay, it is just about 15 minutes until Saturday here, but I’m still going to call this a Friday blog -:0) — Let’s celebrate by making a zebra cake!

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 (although it would be fun to try a hot pink and white zebra cake sometime!) –

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 made slight changes to the box directions:

French Vanilla Cake– We used 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons Water rather than the 1 cup that it calls for.
Devil’s Food- We used the box directions, no changes

That’s it!

(*** As a side note, 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)

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!

Hooray!  Another tutorial is complete, and I hope that you enjoyed this one!  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!  Have a great weekend!


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


  1. Samia Hafeez says: #301

    wow thats a good idea

  2. donna says: #302

    my daughter loves zebras .when I was talking to my sister in Ontario she told me about this cake.This weekend we are having a girls night and will be baking this fabulous cake. Thanks for this fun and hopefully delicious idea!!!!

  3. gloria says: #303

    just saw this and absolutely love it. i will be doing this tomorrow. thanks so much.

  4. Destiny says: #304

    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! :)

  5. Josie says: #305

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

  6. Kristi says: #306

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

  7. BeBe says: #307

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

  8. Noor says: #308

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

  9. Salma says: #309

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

  10. kate says: #310

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

  11. BeBe says: #311

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

  12. dawn says: #312

    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.

  13. dawn says: #313

    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!

  14. BeBe says: #314

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

  15. Andrea Frantin says: #315

    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!

  16. BeBe says: #316

    That will be so cute!!

  17. MoM2 says: #317

    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!

  18. Beth says: #318

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

  19. BeBe says: #319

    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.

  20. mai says: #320

    Thank you for the wonderful idea!

  21. Catherine says: #321

    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.

  22. Sarah says: #322

    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. :)

  23. Masni says: #323

    cool! will try this later

  24. jennifer says: #324

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

  25. BeBe says: #325

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

  26. BeBe says: #326

    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.

  27. Nancy says: #327

    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.

  28. Melissa Diamond says: #328

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

  29. Paula M. says: #329

    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.

  30. Krista says: #330

    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?

  31. Melissa Diamond says: #331

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

  32. diane bukovinsky says: #332

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

  33. BeBe says: #333

    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.

  34. BeBe says: #334

    Hi Kristen, That will be so very cute!

  35. Lori says: #335

    will this cake be ok to cover with fondant?

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