For when you want both chocolate and vanilla cake, this vegan zebra cake has a super rich and moist chocolate cake swirled with tender and fluffy vanilla cake in an easy zebra pattern (tutorial included!). Finished with a silky dairy free cream cheese frosting- IRRESISTIBLE!

sliced vegan zebra cake

The ultimate vegan marbled cake

If you love both vegan vanilla cake and vegan chocolate cake, then this version of a vegan marble cake is the recipe for you! With strips of beautiful and fluffy, tender and moist chocolate cake and vanilla cake, swirled in a pattern that’s reminiscent of a zebra, this vegan marble cake is the ultimate vegan cake recipe to wow a crowd. And it’s shockingly easy.

This is a super fun way to make a marbled cake, and perfect for kids’ birthdays and adults’ birthdays alike! Kids will just love the fact that the inside looks like a zebra, and it’s such an elegant looking cake that adults will love it too.

Not to mention, this marble cake is undetectably vegan, dairy free, eggless, soy free, nut free, and can easily be made gluten free.

My entire family sang praises of this cake, and if you know my family personally, then you know that they are people that share their honest opinion ha! If they don’t like the recipe, they have no qualms about letting me know (which is a good thing in my opinion, I don’t want to put out anything that doesn’t taste amazing!).

Trust me, you are just going to love how rich and tender and perfectly blended this vegan zebra cake is, and you’re even going to have a blast making it!

What is a zebra cake?

I’m so excited to show you how to make this vegan zebra cake, but first, let’s go over what a zebra cake is! It’s actually quite similar to a marble cake, and this recipe in particular is not a copycat of the Little Debbie’s Zebra Cake.

A zebra cake is given its name from the marbling pattern of the chocolate and vanilla cakes. I’ve noticed that for some reason, vegan zebra cakes tend to be made in loaf cake form. However, more traditional zebra cakes are made as layer cakes. As you know, I’m a huge fan of the layer cake, so of course that’s what I went with.

Unlike a marble cake, the vanilla cake and chocolate cake batters actually bake in a pattern quite similar to the pattern of an actual zebra, hence the name. It’s such a beautiful and fun way to make a cake, and honestly if you have a hard time deciding between vanilla cake and chocolate cake, this is your recipe!

sliced whole zebra cake

How to make a vegan zebra cake from one batter

As I mentioned above, this vegan zebra cake is shockingly easy so don’t let the pattern intimidate you! In this next section, we’ll go over the basics, especially how to make the zebra pattern. However, the full written instructions and ingredient measurements are listed down below in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

The cool part about this cake, though, is that we only really need one batter. We’re using a base vegan vanilla cake batter based off of my vegan vanilla cake, and transforming half of it into a chocolate cake batter.

Making a zebra cake from one batter

To start, make sure that you’ve started to preheat the oven, and you’ve lined your cake pans. The next steps are essentially making a vegan vanilla cake. We’ll whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

You can use either a stand mixer or a large bowl and a whisk. Either option works. You’ll then whisk together the vegan butter and sugar, and add in the remaining wet ingredients, save for the homemade dairy free buttermilk. Add in the dry ingredients and the vegan buttermilk in increments, mixing the batter between each increment until you get a fluffy vegan vanilla cake batter.

Then we’ll divide the cake batter into two bowls. One will remain the vanilla cake batter, and the other we’ll make into a chocolate cake batter.

vegan zebra cake batters

To make one into a chocolate cake batter, add in the cocoa powder, a bit extra of the dairy free milk (measurements are again in the recipe card) and melted vegan butter. Whisk the ingredients into the vanilla cake batter to turn into a chocolate batter. Now we’re ready to make the zebra cake pattern!

How to make a zebra cake pattern

Trust me, it’s not as complicated as it looks. Much like a traditional vegan marble cake, you’re layering vanilla cake on top of chocolate cake. The only difference is in how much you’re layering and how you’re layering it.

To make a zebra cake pattern in the cakes, we’ll start by using a large spoon to scoop about 1/4 cup each (it DOES NOT have to be exact, this is just about what my large spoon scoops) of the vanilla cake batter into the middle of the two cake pans. Then use a separate large spoon and scoop 1/4 cup each of the chocolate cake batter dolloped on top of the vanilla cake batter in each pan.

Keep repeating this pattern, placing the batter directly in the middle and on top of the last scoop, until you run out of batter. If your cake batter hasn’t quite reached the edges of the pan, you can gently tilt the cake pans to make the batter spread.

But whatever you do, do not tap the cake pans onto the countertop to spread the batter. This will release the air created from the baking powder and soda activating, which means your cakes won’t rise as much.

Then it’s important to get the cakes immediately into the oven to start baking!

To decorate your vegan zebra cake

Once your cakes have baked and cooled completely, you can make the frosting! I used my vegan cream cheese frosting, but in the past I used vegan chocolate buttercream! We’re using my classic vegan chocolate frosting recipe. It’s so easy and perfect for this marbled zebra cake.

You can also use a mix of vegan vanilla buttercream as well!

Can I make this zebra cake in a loaf pan or bundt cake?

You can absolutely make this vegan zebra cake (or if you’d like, a vegan marble cake!) in a loaf pan or in a bundt cake pan!

For the loaf pan: the measurements below in the recipe care will actually yield two loaf cakes. If you’d just like one, you can easily cut this recipe in half. For help with that, I sometimes use this online recipe calculator to easily scale up or down a recipe by fractions. This calculator doesn’t calculate nutrition, but conversions.

For the bundt cake: you can use the recipe as is! However, it will need a longer time in the oven to bake.

slice of vegan zebra cake on cake stand

Britt’s Best Tips:

Before you begin making your vegan zebra cake, I highly recommend checking out the below tips- especially for beginner bakers. This will help you more successfully bake this cake.

  • Measure and weigh all ingredients before beginning. It’s also a good habit to read through the recipe fully before beginning. This helps prevent any mishaps down the line.
  • Use room temperature wet ingredients. If you don’t want a gummy cake, PLEASE take the time to bring your ingredients to room temperature. Trust me, learn from my experience. A few years ago, I didn’t really think it mattered ALL that much even though I did it. So I decided to see what would happen if I used cold ingredients straight from the fridge. NEVER. AGAIN. It was a complete disaster and one of the worst TASTING cakes I’ve ever had, even though it was a recipe I had made all the time and loved. The gumminess was really awful!

Now that we’ve discussed some crucial baking tips, let’s go over some questions you might have while baking your first vegan marble cake!

I just know you’re going to absolutely adore this vegan zebra cake! Everyone so far has just loved this recipe and couldn’t even tell it was vegan, eggless, and dairy free!

This zebra cake is just so tender, moist, and lovely, you can’t help but take spoonful after spoonful. If you make this cake, please leave a comment down below as well as a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. This helps others find this recipe!

As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest so be sure to tag me there!

Happy baking!

slice of vegan zebra cake

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

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sliced vegan zebra cake

Easy MOIST Vegan Zebra Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Britt Berlin
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

You won’t believe this vegan zebra cake is entirely eggless, dairy free and easily made gluten free! With a super rich and moist chocolate cake swirled with tender and fluffy vanilla cake in an easy zebra pattern (tutorial included!), this incredible marbled zebra cake is an absolute showstopper and overall crowd pleaser!


Ingredients

Scale

Base vanilla cake batter:

  • 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) vegan buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup (250 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (170 g) salted vegan butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (190 g) unsweetened dairy free yogurt or applesauce, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 2/3 cups (460 g) all purpose flour*

Chocolate cake batter:


Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease two 8″ cake pans with cooking oil, and line them with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the vegan buttermilk: Combine the dairy free milk with the apple cider vinegar, and set aside to sit for 5-6 minutes. You can weigh and measure the remaining ingredients during this time. 
  3. Make the vanilla batter: In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or a large bowl with whisk, whisk together the vegan butter and sugar. Then add in the dairy free yogurt, vanilla extract, and sea salt, followed by the baking powder and baking soda. Whisk again until combined, scraping down the sides and at the bottom of the bowl as needed. Add in about half of the dry mixture, along with half of the vegan buttermilk, and whisk until just combined. Add in the remaining dry mixture and vegan buttermilk, and whisk until there are just no more dry streaks. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as well as the sides.
  4. Make the chocolate batter: divide half of the vanilla cake batter into a separate bowl. Add in the cocoa powder and additional dairy free milk into one of the bowls. Use a whisk and stir the ingredients gently into the batter until it becomes a chocolate cake batter.
  5. How to make a zebra pattern in the batter: now we’ll divide the batter into the cake pans in a zebra pattern. Be sure to read the above post to see the visuals. Take a large spoon and spoon about 1/4 cup of vanilla batter into the middle of both cake pans. Then take another large spoon and spoon about 1/4 cup of chocolate batter directly on top of the vanilla cake batter. Repeat, alternating between vanilla and chocolate cake batter until the batters are finished. Gently tilt the cake pans to get the batter to touch the edges of the pan if they aren’t already. Do not tap the cake pans onto countertop. This will release any air bubbles that will help the cake rise.
  6. Bake the cakes immediately after creating the zebra pattern. Bake for 30-33 minutes in 8″ cake pans, or until the toothpick comes out clean. (for two 6″ cake pans, bake for 37-40)
  7. Cool: Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled completely (there is absolutely no warmth to the touch!), then you can prepare your buttercream.
  8. When ready to frost: make the frosting according to the instructions in the post. Frost the cake as desired, slice and enjoy!

Notes

Gluten free: I recommend using King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten-Free Baking Flour.