Zebra Cake: a lesson in the consequences of cocky baking


I knew I wanted to make this cake as soon as I saw it.  I was feeling rather cocky and thought I could do it – no problem. I was too lazy to research or create my own recipe for the chocolate/vanilla cake, so I used one that went with the picture I found on the Pinterest.

To say I was disappointed was understatement. The cake was surprisingly hard for me to put together, even though I was following the illustrations. My cake looked like a marble cake at best. And you might notice from the cover photo that I went a little overboard with the buttering and flouring of the bundt pan.

I was also very underwhelmed by the recipe. Admittedly, I didn’t read the full blog post (that was before I started my own blog and now I read everything, just as I hope that you’re ready this!) and saw that the original poster wasn’t very happy with the recipe either. She also substituted melted butter for softened butter. I’m definitely going to remake this cake soon. I may use this recipe posted below again, but I would definitely use solid butter, buttermilk instead of regular milk, and I might use strong coffee instead of water. Please take a peek of the original post for this recipe for the illustrations of obtaining the “zebra” effect. Good luck!

Zebra Cake

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  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ cup natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ cup whole milk


  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream


To make cake:

Sift flour baking powder and salt into a bowl; set aside.

In a separate medium size bowl add in ½ cup of sugar, the cocoa powder, and water then whisk until mixture is smooth; set aside.

Place melted butter and sugar in a stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium high until mixture is blended, about 1 minute. Add in vanilla and beat until combined. Add and beat eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition. Once all eggs are added, beat mixture until it becomes light and fluffy (it will resemble pancake batter, but slightly thinner).

Turn mixer speed down to low and add the flour in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions and mixing just until blended.

Add 2 cups of the batter to the cocoa mixture and stir until blended.

Using an ice cream scoop, pour two scoops of vanilla mixture into pan. Now alternate and pour one scoop of chocolate mixture on top of vanilla mixture. Continue to alternate between vanilla and chocolate layers until bundt pan is filled.

Bake zebra pound cake for 50-60 minutes at 350° F or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely.

To make glaze:

Place chocolate and cream in a pan over low heat and stir until chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes before using.


Pour the glaze on top and let glaze set, about 30 minutes. Slice and serve.