Chocolate and Vanilla Zebra Stripes Cake
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Cook time: 
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Yield: One 8 or 9-inch round cake
Recipe from my scribble scrabble on a piece of paper. I cannot remember where I found it, but I did make some changes to it at the time. Also, I like to frost the top of the cake with a good chocolate or vanilla frosting, or pour a chocolate ganache on top. Also, you can flavor either batter with orange zest, if you like, or add a teaspoon or two of espresso powder to the chocolate batter to enhance the flavor of the chocolate.*
  • 2¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil.. or butter** I now use ½ cup oil plus 1 stick of butter instead of just 1 cup of oil.
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder or dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream (milk is fine too)
  1. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. * IF using all butter, cream it together with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until each one is fully incorporated. Add vanilla extract. If using oil, beat together the eggs, oil, and sugar until light and fluffy, then add vanilla extract. IF combing 1 stick of butter with ½ cup of oil, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add in the ½ cup of oil after each egg, and beat until combined, then add in the vanilla extract.
  3. Alternate adding the flour mixture with the yogurt or sour cream or milk, starting and ending with the flour. Do not over mix.
  4. Now - This is where it all begins with the batter to make the zebra stripes cake pattern.
  5. Here's a video that shows you the zebra stripes cake method, and another one using a spoon, which is how I do it, AND one more for good measure, since my step-by-step photos weren't recovered. I didn't use pastry bags, (good idea, though), just tablespoons and less batter of each color per drop than what you see in the video, to produce stripes that are closer together. The below instructions explain how I did it.
  6. Divide the batter in half, into two separate bowls, and add about 3-5 T of dark cocoa (I use Dutch Processed) to one half of the batter. If the white batter is too runny, add 3-5 tablespoons of flour to it. You want the white and chocolate batter to be close in viscosity.
  7. To'll be 'layering' 1 heaping tablespoon (not a measuring spoon 'tablespoon', but the large tablespoon you have in your dinnerware drawer) of each batter right on top of one another into a lightly greased 8 or 9-inch cake pan.(I add a parchment circle, and lightly grease that too). I used an 8-inch round cake pan.
  8. Starting with the white batter drop 1 heaping tablespoon on the bottom of the pan, then drop 1 heaping tablespoonsof the chocolate batter right on top of the white batter, in the middle, then another heaping tablespoon of white on top of the chocolate, then repeat with the white batter in the middle of chocolate batter. Keep alternating 1 heaping tablespoon of the batters in the center of each until you've used up both batters. It will look lopsided at several points..spreading more to one side of the pan, but by the time you're close to finished, it'll start to even out. It should look like a bullseye of white and dark batter, as you can see in the photo above.
  9. The less tablespoons of batter you use, the closer together the stripes will be. I used 1 heaping dinnerware tablespoon of batter per drop..but use up to 2 or 3 for thicker stripes that are further apart than mine.
  10. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes. A toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake, should come out clean when it's done.
  11. Try this with other flavors/colors, like matcha powder with the white batter or raspberry syrup or ground, dehydrated raspberries. You can also make this cake a kaleidoscope color of stripes using gel food colors and splitting all the white batter into several bowls, up to 5 or 6 for a rainbow,, then gel color each one, and drop each batter as instructed above. Let your imagination run wild!
- If you have a yellow or white layer cake recipe you love and would prefer to use, add dark cocoa powder to one half of the whole recipe, and proceed with zebra cake batter pattern. If you like using cake mixes, (I don't, personally), or want to use one in a pinch, you will do the same - dark cocoa powder to half the batter, then proceed.
** - I've heard that all butter prevents you from getting a tight zebra pattern like mine. It will still 'zebra', but not like what you see here. UPDATE:I combined one stick of butter, plus ½ cup coconut oil, instead of one whole cup of oil, and it striped perfectly and tasted even better! Try it!!
Recipe by parsley sage sweet at