Zebra cupcakes recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Cake
  • Mini cakes
  • Cupcakes
  • Chocolate cupcakes

These zebra cupcakes are called so because of the fun marbled effect created by adding chocolate and plain cake mixture to the paper cases before baking. Ideal cupcakes for kids and lovely for a picnic or party.

4 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 235ml buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:25min ›Ready in:35min

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. In a bowl, combine the buttermilk with the baking powder then mix well and set aside for a few minutes until foamy.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy then beat in the eggs, one at a time, until creamy. Stir in the vanilla followed by the buttermilk, which should be foamy by now. Then finally, sift in the flour and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Divide the cake mixture into two bowls and add the cocoa powder to one bowl and mix well. Into each paper case, spoon in a little of the chocolate mixture and then a little of the plain mixture and repeat this until the cases are filled to half way (this allows for a good rise).
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
  6. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or in a pan over barely simmering water. Drizzle or spoon the melted chocolate over the cupcakes. Leave to set then serve and enjoy.

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Copycat Zebra Cakes®

Indulge in a little nostalgia with this Copycat Zebra Cakes® recipe. Two layers of vanilla cake with a marshmallow cream filling and coated in white and dark chocolate.

Zebra Cake

You’re looking at chocolate and vanilla cakes baked together in a striking striped pattern. Pretty, right? Much easier than you think to pull off, too. Like marble cake but a little more flashy. Zebra cake is often baked as a single layer cake or a bundt cake, but I needed a fun and towering cake for our friend’s birthday. And an excuse to make chocolate cream cheese frosting.

And if you came here looking for a Little Debbie zebra cake, so sorry! Man those little things are good.

Let me walk you through my mindset as I was preparing and testing this zebra layer cake. Beware: my mind is a very jumbled space.

Recipe Testing

I started with a basic vanilla cake/yellow cake hybrid recipe: my checkerboard cake. I ADORE this cake. Somewhere between a mega buttery yellow cake and light vanilla cake, I’m really proud to have a base cake recipe that’s as moist as box mix cakes. And you can make it 3 layer or 4 layer, just adjust the baking time slightly. But if I’m not careful, I can over-cream the butter + sugar or over-mix the batter (since there’s so much of it). This can leave me with a denser tasting cake. I wanted to avoid all that, so I slightly reduced the flour and added a little more baking powder for lift + airiness. Does this make sense? To see if I could get away with it, I added some sour cream too. Just for a little extra moisture. Totally worked. This cake is so moist!

Made From 1 Batter

So now I have a solid starting point for my zebra cake, let’s figure out how to make the chocolate portion.

The chocolate cake is made from the vanilla batter, so you don’t have to prepare two completely separate batters. YAY! I wanted a suuuuuper dark chocolate stripe for contrast. I was going to use chopped chocolate, like in my marble cake, but that never gives me a very dark chocolate batter. And if I added *more* chocolate to darken the shade, the texture of the chocolate batter would be compromised. So let’s use cocoa powder. How about a dark cocoa powder like Hershey’s special dark? Gorgeous! But since we’re adding a dry and bitter ingredient to the chocolate batter, it will dry out the cake. A little sugar and milk solved that problem. Both the vanilla cake and chocolate cake are so moist. We did it!

Oh and one more thing! I added a little espresso powder to the chocolate batter. Just to help bring out the chocolate flavor. This is an optional ingredient.

You’ll end up with about 8 cups of vanilla batter. Pour 4 cups of it into a separate bowl for the chocolate batter. Add the cocoa, sugar, milk, and espresso powder. You’ll have some little lumps– that’s ok.

Now here’s where the zebra shows up! We create a zebra stripe pattern by layering the batters on top of each other. Start with a spoonful of 1 batter in the center, place a spoonful of the other batter on top, then alternate until you’ve filled the pans. I did a horrible job explaining this, so here’s a fancy iPhone video to show you.

Give the pans a shake every now and then to level the batter off. And, after the cakes are baked, level them off with a knife to create flatter tops. Why? So your layer cake isn’t all topsy turvy! You want nice flat-topped surfaces.

Moving onto the frosting. Let me show off my latest obsession: chocolate cream cheese frosting. Regular cream cheese frosting is one of my favorites because it’s not as cloyingly sweet as buttercream. It’s the creamiest of frostings with a silky smooth and velvet-y mouthfeel. With carrot cake, red velvet cake, hummingbird, banana, spice cake, and pumpkin cake… it’s just the best.

But if we think regular cream cheese frosting is the best, we’re definitely backwards. Because this chocolate cream cheese frosting is, in fact, the best in the biz.

Now the moment of truth. Let’s cut into the cake to see how our zebra stripes look!!

Zebra Cake

Everybody is familiar with this chocolate and vanilla cake, either made in zebra or marbled style, the taste of it reminds of childhood probably for many of us. Still a bit warm, along a cold cup of milk, zebra cake always makes a delicious treat.

  • Makes about 10 servings
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1 cup butter (200 g), at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375g) flour
  • 2 tsp (10 g) baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • For the chocolate batter
  • 3 tbsp (25g) cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (50ml) milk
  • 1 tbsp (15g) sugar
  1. Grease and line with parchment paper, a 24 cm (9 in) round cake pan. Preheat oven at 180 (350 F).
  2. Whisk together in a large bowl the dry ingredients, flour salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl mix the cocoa powder with 1/4 cup milk and 1 tbsp of sugar.
  4. Mix butter with sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated. Add vanilla extract.
  5. With the mixer on low, alternate adding gradually milk and flour mixture until all is well incorporated.
  6. Remove two cups of the batter and mix them with the chocolate mixture.
  7. Use one tablespoon for each batter to create the layers of batter on the prepared pan. Begin from the middle of the pan, take one spoon of white batter then over it add a spoon of chocolate batter and repeat this steps until all batter has been used. (If you don't have the patience to make these layers just add one batter on top of the other and create swirls with a knife or fork to create the marbled effect)
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the pan.
  10. Serve as it is or top with chocolate glaze.

Thank you so much Amy, really appreciate your comment. Hope you will try this recipe:)

What a good idea to add cloves and cinnamon, I was thinking too to add cinnamon but finally decided not to, as I didn't't want to cover the classic taste of vanilla and chocolate. But will surely try next time.

Thank you Liz, means a lot coming from you.

Thank you for your comment. I have one question, regarding freezing.. I am not too used to this and seems that we actually eat the whole thing in one day :) How much time it needs to defrost? I would like to try freezing them too, it's a good idea.

I usually like to serve it with coffee or milk, so in this case no icing is needed. Is like sweet bread, as banana bread so a little of chocolate topping or icing definitely won't hurt :) if served simple.

I am really sorry for your loss. I am glad you used my recipe to make your grandmother feel better. Hope you will try some other recipes too. Keep in touch.

So glad you loved the recipe. You can also add various spices like cinnamon, or almond extract or rum. whatever you love best. As for the sugar, if you like it sweeter you can add more. Hope you will try some other of my recipes with your daughter. Thanks for letting me know.

You can use more sugar if you like it more sweet. I do have a tendency of using less sugar as I don't like desserts too sweet. But feel free to use more sugar, it will work good.

What about if you simply use a chocolate fudge sauce like this? http://www.homecookingadventure.com/recipes/hot-chocolate-fudge-sauce or a Nutella topping like here: http://www.homecookingadventure.com/recipes/nutella-cheesecake, or a darker glaze like here: http://www.homecookingadventure.com/recipes/walnut-lemon-cake .

Buenas tardes :) Yo uso harina y levadura en polvo separados. Esta receta es fácil, hay truco, sólo batir lo suficiente hasta que todo los ingredientes estén bien incorporados.Eso es todo. Espero que intenta esta receta.

yes.. send me a photo on [email protected] not sure where the problem is.. did you use the right amount of cocoa.. combined with milk before adding the 2 cups (500g) of white batter?

I think this should work well:) You might need to skip the salt too if self raising flour is used

All purpose flour or cake flour will be fine.

So glad it turned great for you:) Julia, it makes me really happy when I receive positive feedback :)

Zebra Cake always cracks, at least in my case:), some say that if you bake it at a lower temperature it won't crack, like baking it on 325 F (165C) instead of 350F (180C), as lower temperature prevents the cake from rising rapidly and cracking. Haven't tried yet but it is possible. Glad you enjoyed the recipes:) I will try making some more cakes as soon as possible:)

I am really glad you like my posting style. I am not sure how you can make this in tiger syle, maybe adding the mixtures from place to place over the withe mixture.. not necessarily in the center. This is what I would do to see what it turns out.

yes.. just pour it over before serving.. it will be awesome:) hope you will wnjoy it

hehe.. i like to use butter as it makes it more rich and flavorful.. if oil is used I prefer canola oil as it tasteless. You can add more sugar if desired or simply serve it drizzled with a chocolate fudge sauce.. Vanilla extract does make a difference and also a good quality cocoa powder.. If you want you can also add almond extract or rum or orange zest, espresso, for extra flavor.. whatever you like best

I am sorry it didn't turn good for you .. you must have done something wrong.. maybe you used too much flour.. make sure those 3 cups to not measure more than 375g. also did you use the butter and the eggs as written in the recipe? It's the first time to hear this recipe doesn't work.. all who have tried this were really pleased. Hope you will try this again more carefully.

I am always using unsalted butter and add salt accordingly for each recipe. Hope you will try it out.

so glad to hear that Kavitha --thank you for such a great and rewarding comment :)

22 cm round pan might be a bit small. there is a lot of batter..but it might work.. will get even taller than mine.. Never tried with self raising flour.. I never used it actually..it would be probably same amount of flour, 3 cups and leave out baking soda. I have a fan forced oven but I usually bake my cakes without fan. it might take less time if you bake it in a fan forced oven..Usually you need to reduce the oven temperature by 20C (about 50F) as the constant heat and force of the fan causes cakes to bake more quickly.

Is it possible you added more flour or less milk?

Is it possible you added more flour or less milk?

You can try reducing the bake time jn half and test the cupcakes with a toothpick.

I used my favorite vanilla buttercream (using vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean paste so it would be pure white) and topped it with a circle of zebra print sugar sheet. I used a small biscuit cutter and scissors to cut the sheets. They aren’t the most delicious cupcake topping (it’s kind of like eating sweet paper) but they add that perfect zebra print with very little effort.

Is it difficult?

Nope, not at all. I'm not kidding.

The process of preparing the batter for this cake is super simple. As you can see in the video above, it's just a basic mixing method. Nothing fancy. I'm using coconut oil and coconut milk for a change.

If you want to go vegan, you can switch the butter and use additional amount of coconut oil. I'm using butter to add some buttery flavour to the cake.

Matcha Zebra Cupcakes Recipe 抹茶班马纹蛋糕 新手必学

Don’t they look like real Zebra stripes? Zebra cake as pretty as it is delicious, not overly sweet, soft, light, fluffy and unique looking cupcakes.

Makes 12 cupcakes


• 2 tsp, 4g matcha green tea powder
• 2 tbsp, 20g hot water

• 4 egg yolks
• 70g milk
• 20g corn oil
• 45g plain flour, sieved
• 15g corn flour, sieved
• 1 tsp, 5g vanilla extract

• 4 egg whites
• 1/2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
• 60g sugar

1) In a small bowl, add matcha green tea powder and hot water, stir combine and set aside until ready to use,

2) In a bowl, mix (B) egg yolks, milk, corn oil, and vanilla extract. combine with plain flour and corn flour, stir until well combined.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk (C) egg whites until foamy then add a few drops of white vinegar and sugar a little bit at a time until, firm to stiff peaks, the peak stands straight up when the beaters are lifted from the mixture, about 5 minutes.

3) Using spatula to fold until incorporated. Pour half of the batter into a separate bowl, and add the matcha mixture, fold until well combined. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag, use scissor to cut a hole in the bottom of the bag.

4) Squeeze about 3 times of the plain batter into the centre of the cake pan, then another 3 times of the green batter on top and repeat until all batter has been used. Bang the cake pan onto the work surface to remove any air bubbles.

5) Bake in no preheated oven, no water bath, middle rack, up and bottom fan, (p) 120°C/ 100°C for 35 minutes. After baking, rest in the oven for 5 minutes. Baking time it will depend on the size of your cake pan. To make sure your cake to succeed even better. It is best to use an oven thermometer and you'll always have the exact temperature of your oven in mind.

Helpful Tips:
1)It's important to follow exactly this recipe and baking at the right temperature.
2) Do not bake the cake quickly at a high temperature and don't remove hot cake out of a baking pan. otherwise the cake could fall apart and crack on top. Baking cake at a lower temperature will help the cake rise much higher and bake more evenly.
3) Please understand that everyone's oven work differently. You should also check the temperature of your oven. if not, your cake won't rise well.
4) You can test the cake by poking it with a skewer, if it's cooked the skewer will come out clean. if not pop it back in the oven and bake until it's ready.
5) Folding is very important to created in the cake batter it rises as high as possible, don't use electric whisk to do this, and try not to be heavy-handed, otherwise you'll knock the air out. If you're too vigorous, you'll also make the texture of your cake tough, instead use a spatula in a gentle, slow and deliberate figure of eight motion, up and down finishing with scrape around the edge of the bowl. repeat this action, but don't be tempted to over-mix.
6) Use a clean, dry bowl, free of yolk and any other oil or grease while beating egg whites. Do not over or under-beat the egg whites.
7) Don't open the oven door until the cake is almost cooked.
8) Follow the exact weights given in this recipe and don't use cheap analogue scales that are hard to read. Use digital scales that weight in 1g increments are your best friend when baking.


Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment butter parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt until combined.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together all egg whites and granulated sugar until foamy, about 2 minutes. Whisk in 1½ cups milk, the butter, oil and vanilla until smooth. Add flour mixture whisk until smooth. In another large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1/3 cup milk and the cocoa. Add 3¼ cups of vanilla batter to cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth. Whisk remaining milk into remaining vanilla batter.

Spoon 1/4 cup vanilla batter into center of each prepared pan. Spoon 1/4 cup chocolate batter into each center, directly on top of vanilla batter. Repeat, always spooning batter into center of pan and occasionally tapping pan firmly on counter, until all batter is used (batters should appear as concentric rings).

Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are puffed slightly and a cake tester comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cakes onto rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting: Whisk together cocoa, espresso powder, salt, 1/2 cup hot water and the vanilla until a smooth paste forms. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter with confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in chocolate and then cocoa mixture and corn syrup until smooth.

With a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to level. Transfer a cake layer, trimmed-side up, to a cake plate or stand lined with parchment strips. Spread 3/4 cup frosting evenly over top. Place remaining cake layer on top, trimmed-side down. Spread a thin layer of frosting over cake to form a crumb coat refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Remove parchment strips and serve.

Reprinted from Martha Stewart's Cake Perfection. Copyright © 2020 by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Zebra Cake

Chocolate or vanilla, chocolate or vanilla? It's an eternal debate for bakers trying to please a crowd. This fun and festive recipe combines chocolate and vanilla batter in the pan to create "zebra" stripes satisfying everyone, especially those who love a touch of whimsy. This cake also bakes up light and tender, ready to accept your favorite icing, and is the perfect size for a small gathering or after school snacking.


  • 1 1/2 cups (298g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup (227g) milk (whole, 2% or 1%)
  • 3/4 cup (149g) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional for enhanced flavor
  • 2 cups (241g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons (16g) Dutch-process cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional for enhanced flavor


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9" x 2" round baking pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment, and spritz again. Set the pan aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until lightened, about 2 minutes. On low speed beat in the oil, milk, vanilla extract, and almond extract until smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to remove any lumps. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients. Combine on medium speed 1-2 minutes or until the batter is smooth and lump free. Be sure to scrape down the bowl halfway through mixing.

Remove 2 cups of the vanilla batter and place it in the measure you used for the liquid ingredients. Sift the cocoa and espresso powder over this batter, and stir well to combine. Be sure to use a sifter to avoid cocoa lumps in the batter.

Perfect your technique

How to make a zebra cake

Now for the stripes. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of vanilla batter into the center of the cake pan. Next, spoon 3 tablespoons of the chocolate batter into the center of the vanilla batter. This causes the vanilla batter to spread out. Continue to alternate batters, in bulls-eye fashion until all batter is used. You will now have thin rings of each batter on the outer edges of the pan, thicker rings towards the center.

Bake the cake in the center of the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost as desired we're partial to the frosting paired with our Vanilla Cake Pan Cake recipe.

Steamed Zebra Cupcakes (Bolu Kukus Zebra)

Bianca is always excited every time I made these cupcakes (sorry for the old picture, back dated 2y ago..oh my..). She just loves them.. How bout the rest of our family? Of course they love them too. Normally I made them not too sweet, so that we can eat it more and more. The recipe source is: here.

450g granulated sugar (decrease the quantity for less sweetness)
500g all purpose flour
1tsp baking powder
4 eggs
300mL water/light milk/coconut milk (the cupcakes on the picture were made with coconut milk)
1Tbsp emulsifier
1tsp choco/pandan/mocha essence (I used orange and choco for the above picture)

Mix flour and baking powder all together in a bowl, keep it aside. Whisk sugar, egg, emulsifier until fluffy and thick, then add the flour mixture and coconut milk alternately while keep mixing it. Separate the batter into two and add the essence into one of them and mix it well. Pour into the mould alternately (plain and colored batter) until 2/3 high. Steam for 20min.