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!

hand slicing 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. And I really do mean it is UNDETECTABLE. 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!).

sliced vegan zebra cake

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!

vegan 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 hand mixer. Either option works. You’ll then cream together the vegan butter and sugar until fluffy. Then 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.

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 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.

sliced vegan marble cake

More vegan cake tips & FAQs

Before you begin making your vegan zebra cake, I highly recommend checking out the below tips and rounded up frequently asked questions about vegan cake baking! This will help you more successfully bake this cake.

  • Weighing your ingredients will be a more accurate way of baking this cake. As with all baking, using cup measurements doesn’t yield the same results every time. Some people will scoop the flour, which will give you way more flour than you need. Other times, it will be off by just a few grams if you use the spoon & level method. Using the spoon & level method won’t yield terrible results in the slightest, but the most accurate way to bake this cake will be by using a kitchen scale. Mine was so inexpensive (about $7 on Amazon) and so handy for every recipe!
  • Line and grease your cake pans before beginning the batter. This is a crucial step in all vegan cake baking and will save you so much time down the line. Simply prepare your cake pans after you’ve started to preheat the oven. I definitely recommend placing a piece of parchment paper down at the bottom of the pan. It helps tremendously with baking cakes. You can purchase precut 8″ and 6″ round parchment paper pieces with tabs to pan the layers out. But I usually will just make about 20 cut outs from parchment paper I get at the store after tracing one.
  • 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.
  • Work quickly with getting vegan vanilla cake batter and the chocolate batter layered. Because we’re taking extra time to make the zebra pattern in the cake, and the baking powder and soda are already activated, we need to get those cakes into the oven as soon as possible. This will help your cakes rise more evenly.
  • 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!

sliced vegan zebra cake

Can I make this zebra cake gluten free?

Absolutely! To make this vegan zebra cake gluten free, simply use a gluten free 1:1 baking flour. I recommend using Bob’s Red Mill in the blue bag. That’s the one I’ve tested this recipe with, and it works so well.

Do I have to make this a two layer cake?

Not at all! If you want to make this a three layer zebra cake, you’ll just need to prepare another pan. Keep in mind that the layers won’t be as thick. The baking time will also be reduced a little (they’ll bake faster).

Alternatively, if you want to bake this zebra cake into a 6″ cake, you absolutely can. Either a two layer or a three layer.

Is there a difference between a zebra cake and a marble cake?

Zebra cakes and marble cakes are very similar but not QUITE the same (even though the title suggests it!). Both cakes actually taste the same. They use both vanilla cake batter and chocolate cake batter that ripples throughout. However, the pattern is quite different and the method to achieve the pattern is different.

With a zebra cake, as we just discussed above, we layer the vanilla and chocolate cake batters in small increments one after the other and do not swirl. With a marble cake, we still layer the vanilla and chocolate cake batters, but in larger increments, and then we take a toothpick or a clean knife and swirl the batters lightly.

You can absolutely use this recipe to achieve a vegan marble cake. Or just stick with the vegan zebra cake!

sliced vegan zebra 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!

More vegan cake recipes you’ll love:

Amazing vegan vanilla cake

Easy vegan chocolate cake

Super fluffy vegan coconut cake

Amazing vegan lemon blueberry cake

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

Amazing Vegan Zebra Cake (Marble Cake)
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sliced vegan marble cake

Easy Vegan Zebra Cake (Vegan Marble Cake)

  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


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!



Base vanilla cake batter:

  • 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) unsweetened dairy free milk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (to be mixed with dairy free milk milk)
  • 3 2/3 cups (460 grams) organic flour or gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour, sifted (do NOT skip- add in 1 tsp arrowroot powder for cake flour texture, see Note)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup (220 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) salted vegan butter (I recommend Flora Plant butter), room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (190 grams) unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate cake batter:

  • 1/3 cup (33 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) dairy free milk
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 batch vegan chocolate buttercream


  1. 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. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. Make the vanilla batter: In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or a large bowl with hand mixer, cream together the vegan butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed. Then add in the applesauce and vanilla extract. Mix again on medium speed 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 mix on medium speed until just combined. Add in the remaining dry mixture and vegan buttermilk, and mix on medium speed until there are just no more dry streaks. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as well as the sides.
  5. Make the chocolate batter: divide half of the vanilla cake batter into a separate bowl. Add in the cacao powder, remaining dairy free milk and melted vegan butter into one of the bowls. Use a whisk and stir the ingredients gently into the batter until it becomes a chocolate cake batter.
  6. 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.
  7. Bake the cakes immediately after creating the zebra pattern. Bake for 35 minutes in 8″ cake pans, or until the toothpick comes out clean. (for two 6″ cake pans, bake for 37-40)
  8. 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.
  9. When ready to frost: make the vegan chocolate buttercream according to the instructions in the post. Frost the cake as desired, slice and enjoy!

Keywords: vegan zebra cake, vegan marble cake, zebra cake, marble cake