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Zebra Cake

March 6, 2009

Zebra Cake

Does that look cool or what?  I stumbled onto this recipe for zebra cake and was totally drawn in by its appearance.  I like how the batter looks and I was hoping for a really stripey cake.   Mine didn’t exactly look like I expected after it baked, but you still get the general effect from it.  I’ve never baked a cake like this before – I think a cup of olive oil is really unusual and I kind of hated using so much of it in a cake recipe when I wasn’t even sure we were going to like it.  As it turns out, the kids in my neighborhood liked it plenty, but my two weren’t crazy about it.  I don’t think it offers a lot of flavor, to tell you the truth.  The chocolate isn’t very strong and the overall cake just struck me as a little bland.  Also, I think it overbaked on the outside and was mildly underbaked in the center – perhaps that’s why I didn’t get the strong stripes inside.  I’m really not sure, so if you’ve made this before and can offer some tips, that’s be great.  I’m curious about trying to get this same effect with a regular cake batter – maybe adding different food coloring to small amounts of batter and seeing if the bulls-eye/zebra thing will work.  Wouldn’t a rainbow cake be fun?

Recipe:  Zebra Cake

1 cup Sprite

1 cup olive oil

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

5 eggs

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk eggs with sugar until mixed.  In a separate bowl, sift flour and baking powder and mix together.

Begin adding a quarter each of the flour, olive oil, Sprite all at a time and whisking until combined.  Repeat until all are added and then mix in the vanilla.

Separate the entire mix into two equal bowls.  In one bowl, add two tablespoons extra of flour and mix.  In the second, add the cocoa and mix.  Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of the white mixture into the center of a greased 9″ cake pan, creating a small circle.  Next take 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dark mixture and repeat.  If you’re careful, you should find concentric circles of alternating colors forming in the pan.  Repeat until all the mixture is used.

Bake at 310 degrees for 50 minutes and then check the cake for doneness.

***I found that I couldn’t use all the batter in my 9″ cake pan – it made quite a lot; and that 50 minutes was too long of a baking time.***

26 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2009 1:44 am

    I’ve seen that cake before… is pretty darn cool. Have you seen Monica at lick the spoon good’s rainbow cupcakes? She used the same technique but with her recipe. I don’t know how they tasted but the were VERY cool!

    Btw, I thought that was funny about the word plethora. I’m kinda the same way. I love the sound of certain words or ones not used so often. Even weirder I like to take quizes about any and everything. Yup, I was kinda nerdy, luckily at my school it was cool to be smart.

  2. ardie permalink
    March 7, 2009 2:33 am

    neat! i’ve seen the rainbow cake here:

    I tried it myself and it worked great! The zebra is a much more grown-up version ;)

  3. March 7, 2009 7:10 am

    The picture of the swirly unbaked cake is just mesmerising! :)

  4. oneordinaryday permalink
    March 7, 2009 12:18 pm

    ingrid – I tried to check out the cupcakes, but I’m not sure I found the right site. I didn’t see any rainbow cupcakes though…. Still a fun, fun idea!

    ardie – Thanks for the link! I love it!

    Y – I agree….it’s just cool to look at, isn’t it?

    – Shell

  5. March 7, 2009 12:45 pm

    I can see what you mean about the cocoa flavour. It looks like it was more for colour with 2 tbsps… haha. At least the neighbourhood enjoyed it. Maybe it’s because your kids are used to eating your yummy baked goods all the time.

  6. March 7, 2009 3:12 pm

    Cooooool! My son’s birthday is coming up and he is going to love this!!!!

  7. March 7, 2009 5:27 pm

    What a lovely and nice cake.

    I would love it in my home sweet home.

  8. March 7, 2009 5:58 pm

    What a pretty cake! It sounds really tasty and the texture of the crumb is lovely.

  9. realistic bird permalink
    March 7, 2009 7:18 pm

    Yes the unbaked picture looks really nice! Though reading the ingredients I’m not so excited about it like when I saw the picture. I once did chocolate orange swirl muffins though I had problems making swirls because there was a big amount of chocolate in the recipe to move around easily.

  10. March 7, 2009 10:52 pm

    Your Zebra cake looks great – one of the best I’ve seen. I’ve loved it ever since I made it for the first time – in the article you referenced in your recipe (thanks for that!).

    Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

  11. March 8, 2009 3:24 am

    I love food.
    I definitely will be makin this!

  12. bakingforthecure permalink
    March 8, 2009 4:39 pm

    What a good-looking cake! I must say that this is the first time that I see a recipe with sprite, sounds very interesting!

  13. oneordinaryday permalink
    March 8, 2009 6:23 pm

    Steph – yes, I think it would definitely need more than 2 Tbsp. of cocoa powder to get a good chocolate flavor in there. And thanks – I’d like to think my kids were used to my great baking too!

    Zoe – this would be a fun look for a birthday cake, but I’d have to tweak it a lot before I’d make this particular recipe. It’d be fun to try it with a tried and true favorite batter though.

    Tanveer and Kelly – thank you!

    realistic bird – I love the pic of the batter too. It just draws you right in, but it’s too bad the flavor of the cake doesn’t measure up to it.

    Scott – thank you!

    Colby and bakingforthecure – Please stop back and leave a post if you decide to bake this. I’d like to hear how it turns out.

    – Shell

  14. March 10, 2009 2:51 am

    Funny, I stumbled across your blog today through a friend’s blog and saw this entry. Just a few days ago I stumbled across this blog…

    Hope that is what you were thinking of with a rainbow cake! :o)

    Happy baking!

  15. March 11, 2009 9:44 pm

    thanks for the comment on my blog (the decorated cookie), and I love your blog! I posted on this zebra cake today for my edible crafts column (part of craft gossip). You can see your post at
    thanks for sharing! meaghan

  16. March 12, 2009 10:10 am

    Olive oil, I agree sounds like it might taste a bit ‘off’. Could you sub it out for milk, or even sour cream??
    Looks great tho :)

  17. March 15, 2009 5:19 pm

    That does really look cool! Yumm , I am glad to have found your blog, for you have wonderful cooking talent! Thank You

  18. oneordinaryday permalink
    March 19, 2009 2:25 pm

    Dawn – Thanks! That is exactly what I had in mind.

    Meaghan – Thank you for the link to our blog. That’s great!

    Jo in NZ – I don’t know about subbing it out. I wondered if the olive oil was the reason it gets such a perfect target appearance.

    Chuck Aflitto – Thank you very much!

    – Shell

  19. oneordinaryday permalink
    March 19, 2009 2:26 pm

    Thanks so much, Meaghan! We actually had quite a few visitors thanks to you linking back to us. (I enjoy your blog too!)
    – Shell

  20. June 2, 2010 1:13 pm

    wooow cool

    I love your recipes

    Thanks alot ,,

  21. Nate permalink
    July 7, 2010 4:51 pm

    I have made this cake using vegetable oil I did not like the heavy olive oil flavor.
    To the Vanilla portion I ad almond flavoring this goes very well with the chocolate flavor
    Or in a sauce pan melt two tablespoons of butter , 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of Amaretto
    Pour this mixture over the cake slowly , when you remove the hot cake from the oven.
    Adds amazing flavor
    More for Adults.

  22. oneordinaryday permalink
    July 9, 2010 7:10 am

    Nate – Thanks for sharing your ideas on the zebra cake. It sounds much more flavorful than the original version.
    ~ Michelle

  23. Jade permalink
    March 7, 2011 1:40 pm

    I have seen this cake on other sites but have alwys been scared to try it because of te sprite. However, seeing it here on your site made me want to try it. I love the look of it. I did read the comments of other people and made some adjustments off the top o my head.
    First I used vegetable oil rather then olive oil, second I added lime zest to the vanilla portion and third I added 3 tbsp of sugar to th chocolate portion and increaded the coco powder to 3 heaping tbsp. I also baked it in a 13″ metal stove top, oven prove pot hoping this would help ook more evenly.
    About 40 minutes into baking I did check and was scared because the top of the cake looked very wet still, so I turned down the oven to 300 and baked another 20 minutes.
    The cake turned out great, baked evenly and tasted good….. but not great. It just needed a bit of sweetness so I added a light chocolate glaze. I could still see the pattern on the top of the cake and that seemed to do the trick, because the whole family loved it, even my son who does not like a lot of cake. The zebra print turned out better then I expected and I was thrilled with the finally results.

  24. May 3, 2012 5:07 pm

    this cake must taste good when i make it, it looks really good i never heard of this cake b4 but i know about it now

  25. May 3, 2012 5:40 pm

    i got the recipe but i have 2 buy the stuff i need i think i have 2 buy most of them or maybe all of them i can borrow cacoa powder 4rom my teacher if she lets me and i hope she does bye now peoples write more comments this cake looks so good i never tasted it


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