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Zebra Cake with Strawberry Frosting Recipe

This zebra cake with strawberry frosting recipe is a fun and visually stunning dessert that is perfect for any occasion. The unique zebra pattern is achieved by alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate batter, which gives the cake its distinctive stripes when it's cut. The sweet and tangy strawberry frosting adds a burst of fresh fruit flavor. This cake is sure to impress your guests not only with its looks but also with its delicious taste.

Zebra Cake with Strawberry Frosting Recipe
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This recipe requires some ingredients that you may not commonly find in your pantry. These include buttermilk and sour cream, which add a nice tang to the cake and help to moisten the batter. You will also need natural cocoa powder for the chocolate batter. For the strawberry frosting, you will need freeze-dried strawberries. These are strawberries that have been dehydrated and then frozen, and they provide a concentrated strawberry flavor without adding extra moisture. You can usually find these ingredients in the baking or dairy section of your local supermarket.

Ingredients for the Zebra Cake with Strawberry Frosting

All purpose flour: This is the base of the cake, providing structure.

Salt: It enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.

Baking powder and baking soda: These are leavening agents that help the cake rise.

Unsalted butter: Adds richness and moistness to the cake.

Granulated sugar: Sweetens the cake.

Eggs: Provide structure and bind the ingredients together.

Sour cream: Adds moisture and tanginess to the cake.

Vanilla extract: Gives the cake a warm, sweet aroma and flavor.

Buttermilk: Adds moisture and a slight tang to the cake.

Cocoa powder: Gives the chocolate batter its flavor and color.

Milk: It's used to thin out the chocolate batter.

Strawberries: Used in the frosting for a fresh fruit flavor.

Confectioner’s sugar: Sweetens and thickens the frosting.

Heavy cream: Adds richness to the frosting.

Sprinkles: For decorating the cake.

One reader, Carroll Shea says:

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The zebra cake with strawberry frosting recipe is a delightful treat! The combination of vanilla and chocolate batters creates a stunning visual effect, and the strawberry frosting adds a burst of fruity flavor. The cake turned out moist and delicious, and the frosting was the perfect finishing touch. I highly recommend trying this recipe!

Carroll Shea

Techniques Required for Making Zebra Cake with Strawberry Frosting

How to prepare the vanilla batter: Combine the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then mix them together until smooth and velvety.

How to prepare the chocolate batter: Whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, and milk until combined.

How to assemble the cake layers: After baking and cooling the cakes, slice off the tops to create a flat surface, then layer the vanilla frosting between the first and second cake layers, and the strawberry frosting between the second and third layers.

How to make strawberry powder: Process freeze-dried strawberries in a blender or food processor until they form a powdery crumb.

How to frost the cake: Spread a thick layer of strawberry frosting over the top and sides of the assembled cake, then garnish with sprinkles if desired.

How to test for cake doneness: Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake, and if it comes out clean, the cake is done.

How To Make Zebra Cake with Strawberry Frosting

This 6-inch zebra cake with chocolate batter and strawberry buttercream frosting is so cute and adorable. Perfect for any kid’s birthday party.

Preparation: 35 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Total: 4 hours



  • cupall purpose flour,sifted, spoon & leveled
  • ½tspsalt
  • 1tspbaking powder
  • ¼tspbaking soda
  • ¾cupunsalted butter,softened to room temperature
  • 1cupsgranulated sugar
  • 2large eggs,at room temperature
  • ¼cupsour cream,at room temperature
  • 1tsppure vanilla extract
  • ¾cupbuttermilk,at room temperature

For the Chocolate Batter

  • tbspnatural cocoa powder,unsweetened
  • 1tbspgranulated sugar
  • 1tbspmilk,or buttermilk, at room temperature

For the Strawberry & Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 1cupstrawberries,freeze dried
  • cupsunsalted butter,softened to room temperature
  • 6cupsconfectioner’s sugar
  • ¼cupheavy cream
  • 2tsppure vanilla extract
  • salt,to taste
  • sprinkles for decorating,if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 6-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper.

Vanilla Batter:

  1. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl. Set aside. 

  2. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy for about 2 minutes.

  3. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. At medium-high speed, beat in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract.

  4. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

  5. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated.

  6. Do not overmix this batter. The batter will be smooth, velvety, and slightly thick.

Chocolate Batter:

  1. Transfer half of it to another bowl. Whisk in the 3 chocolate batter ingredients until combined.

  2. Drop a large spoonful of 1 batter in the center of the pan. Top with a spoonful of the other batter. Alternate spoonfuls on top of each other.

  3. Give the pan a shake to level it all out. Repeat with each cake pan until all the batter is used.

  4. Bake for around 19 to 22 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done.

  5. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.


  1. Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried strawberries into a powdery crumb.

  2. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy for about 2 minutes.

  3. Add confectioners’ sugar, cream, and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Taste. 

  4. Add a pinch of salt if the frosting is too sweet. Set 1 heaping cup of frosting aside; this will be the vanilla frosting for the inside of the cake. Beat the strawberry powder into the remaining frosting until combined.

To assemble the frost:

  1. First, using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface.

  2. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with ½ of the vanilla frosting. Top with the 2nd layer and evenly cover the top with the rest of the vanilla frosting.

  3. Top with the third cake layer. Spread the strawberry frosting into a thick layer all over the top and sides.

  4. Garnish with sprinkles, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before slicing.


  • Calories: 1105.83kcal
  • Fat: 57.96g
  • Saturated Fat: 36.07g
  • Trans Fat: 2.10g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 15.22g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.51g
  • Carbohydrates: 145.12g
  • Fiber: 1.74g
  • Sugar: 120.85g
  • Protein: 6.52g
  • Cholesterol: 198.80mg
  • Sodium: 665.31mg
  • Calcium: 117.15mg
  • Potassium: 174.35mg
  • Iron: 1.98mg
  • Vitamin A: 504.18µg
  • Vitamin C: 11.51mg

Helpful Technique for Creating Perfect Zebra Stripes

When making the zebra pattern for your cake, it's important to be patient and precise. The key is to alternate between the vanilla and chocolate batter, placing spoonfuls of each on top of the other in the center of the pan. This will naturally spread out, creating the zebra stripe effect. Don't rush this process, as the more careful you are, the more distinct your stripes will be. Also, giving the pan a gentle shake can help level out the batter and enhance the pattern.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Recipe

Prep ahead: Prepare the cake batter and frosting the day before and store them in the refrigerator. This will save time on the day of baking and assembling.

Use store-bought frosting: If you're short on time, consider using store-bought frosting instead of making it from scratch. This can significantly cut down on preparation time.

Organize ingredients: Before you start baking, make sure all your ingredients are measured and organized. This will streamline the baking process and reduce the chances of missing an ingredient.

Bake in advance: Bake the cake layers in advance and freeze them. Thaw the layers when you're ready to assemble the cake, saving time on the day of serving.

Multi-task: While the cake layers are baking, prepare the frosting. This way, you can make the most of your time in the kitchen.

Invest in quality tools: Quality baking tools and equipment can make the process more efficient and enjoyable. Invest in good quality cake pans, mixers, and spatulas for better results and easier baking.

Follow the recipe: It's important to follow the recipe instructions carefully to avoid mistakes that can lead to time-consuming errors. Double-check the measurements and steps before starting.

Clean as you go: Keep your workspace tidy by cleaning as you go. This will prevent clutter and make the baking process more organized and efficient.

Set up a workstation: Designate a specific area for cake assembly and decorating. Having a dedicated workstation will help you work more efficiently and keep everything organized.

Plan ahead: Create a timeline for the baking and decorating process. Planning ahead will help you manage your time effectively and avoid last-minute stress.

Substitute Ingredients For Zebra Cake with Strawberry Frosting Recipe

  • all purpose flour - Substitute with gluten-free all purpose flour: This substitute is suitable for those with gluten sensitivities or allergies. It can be used in a 1:1 ratio as a replacement for regular all-purpose flour.

  • unsalted butter - Substitute with coconut oil: Coconut oil can be used as a dairy-free alternative to butter. It adds a subtle coconut flavor and works well in baking recipes. Use it in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for unsalted butter.

  • granulated sugar - Substitute with coconut sugar: Coconut sugar is a natural sweetener with a lower glycemic index than granulated sugar. It adds a rich, caramel-like flavor to baked goods. Use it in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for granulated sugar.

  • sour cream - Substitute with Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt can replace sour cream in baking recipes, providing a similar tangy flavor and moisture. Use it in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for sour cream.

  • buttermilk - Substitute with milk + lemon juice/vinegar: Create a buttermilk substitute by combining 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before using it in the recipe.

  • natural cocoa powder - Substitute with Dutch-processed cocoa powder: Dutch-processed cocoa powder has a smoother, milder flavor compared to natural cocoa powder. It can be used as a 1:1 replacement in recipes that call for natural cocoa powder.

  • strawberries - Substitute with raspberries: Raspberries can be used as a flavorful alternative to strawberries in the frosting, providing a similar tartness and vibrant color to the frosting.

  • unsalted butter - Substitute with vegan butter: Vegan butter can be used as a dairy-free alternative to unsalted butter in the frosting. It provides a creamy texture and can be used in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute.

Best Way to Present This Zebra Cake

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the zebra cake with strawberry frosting, focus on creating a visually stunning presentation. Use clean lines and precise placement of the cake slices to showcase the beautiful zebra pattern.

  2. Incorporate edible flowers: Add a touch of elegance by incorporating delicate, edible flowers into the presentation. Choose flowers that complement the flavors and colors of the zebra cake, such as pansies or micro orchids, to add a sophisticated and luxurious touch.

  3. Utilize negative space: Embrace the concept of negative space on the plate to allow the zebra cake to stand out. By strategically leaving areas of the plate empty, you can draw attention to the intricate layers and vibrant frosting of the cake.

  4. Garnish with fresh strawberries: Enhance the visual appeal of the dessert by artfully garnishing the plate with fresh, ripe strawberries. The vibrant red hue of the strawberries will provide a striking contrast against the zebra cake and add a pop of color to the presentation.

  5. Incorporate chocolate drizzle: Create an artistic and refined presentation by drizzling a luscious chocolate sauce in a decorative pattern on the plate. The addition of the chocolate drizzle will not only elevate the visual appeal but also complement the flavors of the zebra cake.

  6. Use elegant serving ware: Select sophisticated and refined serving ware to present the zebra cake with strawberry frosting. Opt for minimalist, high-quality plates and utensils that will enhance the overall dining experience and showcase the dessert in a luxurious light.

  7. Add a dusting of powdered sugar: For a touch of finesse, delicately dust the plate with a fine layer of powdered sugar. This subtle addition will impart a touch of elegance and refinement to the presentation of the zebra cake.

  8. Incorporate geometric elements: Introduce geometric elements into the plating design to create a visually captivating and modern presentation. Consider using angular or circular motifs to frame the zebra cake and add a contemporary flair to the overall aesthetic.

Essential Tools for Making Zebra Cake with Strawberry Frosting

  • Oven: An essential appliance for baking and roasting dishes.
  • Cake pans: Used to bake cakes and other desserts in various shapes and sizes.
  • Parchment paper: A non-stick paper used to line baking pans and prevent sticking.
  • Whisk: A kitchen tool used for mixing and blending ingredients.
  • Handheld or stand mixer: Used to mix and beat ingredients for cake batter and frosting.
  • Rubber spatula: Ideal for scraping down the sides of bowls and folding ingredients together.
  • Wire rack: Used for cooling baked goods and allowing air to circulate around the food.
  • Blender or food processor: Used to process freeze-dried strawberries into a powdery crumb for the frosting.
  • Serrated knife: A knife with a notched edge, used for slicing cake layers and creating flat surfaces.
  • Cake stand or serving plate: Used to display and serve the finished cake.

Storing and Freezing Tips for Zebra Cake with Strawberry Frosting

  • Cover the zebra cake and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • For best results, cover the cut ends of the cake with plastic wrap to keep it moist and prevent it from drying out.
  • To freeze the cake:
    • Place the cake in the freezer for 1-2 hours or until the frosting is firm.
    • Remove the cake from the freezer and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, making sure to cover all sides of the cake.
    • Place the wrapped cake in a large freezer bag or container and store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
    • To thaw, remove the cake from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
    • Once thawed, remove the plastic wrap and let the cake come to room temperature before serving.
  • If you have leftover frosting, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let the frosting come to room temperature and beat it with a mixer before using.

How To Reheat Leftover Zebra Cake

  • When reheating leftover zebra cake with strawberry frosting, it's important to use a method that will restore the cake's moisture and texture without compromising the delicate flavors and appearance of the frosting.
  • One of the best ways to reheat this type of cake is to use the oven:
    1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    2. Wrap the cake slice in aluminum foil, making sure it's completely covered to prevent it from drying out.
    3. Place the wrapped cake slice on a baking sheet and put it in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until it's heated through.
    4. Remove the cake from the oven and let it sit in the foil for another 5 minutes to allow the moisture to redistribute.
    5. Carefully unwrap the cake and serve it warm.
  • Another method is to use the microwave, although this may not yield the best results in terms of texture:
    1. Place the cake slice on a microwave-safe plate.
    2. Heat it in the microwave on medium power (50%) for 15-20 second intervals, checking the cake's temperature after each interval to avoid overheating.
    3. Once the cake is heated through, let it sit for a minute or two before serving to allow the temperature to even out.
  • If you have a steamer, you can also use this to reheat your zebra cake slice:
    1. Fill a pot with a few inches of water and bring it to a simmer.
    2. Place the cake slice in a heat-proof dish that fits inside your steamer basket.
    3. Put the steamer basket over the simmering water, making sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the basket.
    4. Cover the steamer and let the cake heat for about 5-7 minutes, or until it's warmed through.
    5. Remove the cake from the steamer and serve it immediately.
  • Regardless of the method you choose, be cautious not to overheat the cake, as this can cause the frosting to melt and the cake to become dry or tough.
  • If possible, remove the strawberry frosting before reheating the cake, and then reapply it once the cake is warmed through to maintain its appearance and texture.

Interesting Fact About Zebra Cakes

The zebra cake with strawberry frosting is a delightful dessert that combines the rich flavors of chocolate and vanilla, creating a visually stunning striped pattern. This cake is not only delicious but also visually appealing, making it a perfect choice for special occasions or celebrations. The combination of fresh strawberries and creamy buttercream frosting adds a burst of fruity flavor to the cake, enhancing its overall taste. This dessert is a great way to impress your guests with a unique and eye-catching treat.

Is Making Zebra Cake at Home Cost-Effective?

The cost-effectiveness of this zebra cake with strawberry frosting recipe largely depends on the availability and cost of ingredients in your area. The use of basic pantry staples like flour, sugar, and butter makes it relatively affordable. However, the inclusion of strawberries and unsalted butter for the frosting may slightly increase the overall cost. Considering the yield and the joy it brings, this dessert scores an 8/10 for its taste and presentation. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $20-$25, making it a reasonable treat for special occasions.

Is This Dessert Healthy or Unhealthy?

This zebra cake with strawberry frosting recipe is a delightful treat, but it's not the healthiest option due to several factors:

  • The cake contains a significant amount of butter and sugar, which are high in calories and can contribute to weight gain and other health issues if consumed in excess.
  • The frosting is made with a large quantity of confectioner's sugar and butter, further increasing the calorie and sugar content of the dessert.
  • The recipe uses all-purpose flour, which is refined and lacks the beneficial nutrients found in whole grain flours.

However, the recipe does include some redeeming ingredients, such as:

  • Buttermilk, which adds moisture and a slight tanginess to the cake while also providing some calcium and protein.
  • Strawberries, which are a natural source of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following modifications:

  • Replace some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour or almond flour to increase the fiber and nutrient content.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in both the cake and frosting, or experiment with natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or date paste.
  • Use Greek yogurt or mashed avocado in place of some of the butter to lower the saturated fat content while maintaining moisture.
  • Incorporate more fresh strawberries into the frosting or as a garnish to increase the fruit content and add a pop of natural color.
  • Serve smaller portions and pair the cake with fresh berries or a fruit salad to balance out the indulgence.

Editor's Opinion on This Zebra Cake Recipe

The zebra cake with strawberry frosting recipe is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The vanilla and chocolate batters create a visually stunning zebra pattern, while the strawberry frosting adds a burst of fruity sweetness. The moist and tender cake layers are perfectly complemented by the rich and creamy frosting. The use of natural cocoa powder and fresh strawberries enhances the overall taste and quality of the dessert. This recipe is a wonderful choice for special occasions or simply to indulge in a delicious homemade treat.

Enhance Your Zebra Cake with Strawberry Frosting Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with garlic and chives, topped with a dollop of butter.
Grilled Asparagus: Tender asparagus spears grilled to perfection and drizzled with a balsamic glaze.
Fruit Salad: A refreshing mix of seasonal fruits, tossed in a light honey-lime dressing.
Tomato Basil Soup: A comforting and velvety tomato soup, infused with the flavors of fresh basil.

Alternative Recipes Similar to Zebra Cake with Strawberry Frosting

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: This creamy tomato basil soup is a comforting and flavorful dish that is perfect for a cozy night in. The combination of ripe tomatoes, aromatic basil, and creamy texture makes this soup a must-try for any soup lover.
Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken: Grilled lemon herb chicken is a delicious and healthy dish that is perfect for a summer barbecue. The zesty lemon and fragrant herbs create a flavorful marinade that takes grilled chicken to the next level.
Mango Coconut Panna Cotta: Mango coconut panna cotta is a tropical twist on the classic Italian dessert. The creamy coconut milk and sweet mango puree create a luscious and refreshing treat that is perfect for any summer gathering.

Appetizer and Main Course Pairings for This Unique Cake Recipe

Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. Bake until golden and serve hot for a crowd-pleasing starter.
Caprese Skewers: Elevate the classic Caprese salad by threading cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil onto skewers. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for a colorful and refreshing appetizer option.
Main Courses:
Chicken Alfredo: Create a creamy and indulgent pasta dish with tender pieces of chicken and a rich, cheesy Alfredo sauce. Serve it over fettuccine for a classic and comforting meal.
Beef Stroganoff: Whip up a hearty and flavorful dish with tender strips of beef, savory mushrooms, and a creamy sauce. Serve it over egg noodles for a satisfying and comforting dinner.

Why trust this Zebra Cake with Strawberry Frosting Recipe:

This recipe is a delightful combination of vanilla and chocolate batters, creating a visually stunning zebra pattern. The use of fresh strawberries in the frosting ensures a burst of natural flavor. The step-by-step instructions and precise measurements guarantee a successful outcome. With a balance of sweetness and tanginess, this zebra cake with strawberry frosting promises to be a delectable treat for any occasion.

Want to share your experience making this Zebra Cake with Strawberry Frosting or discuss baking tips and techniques with fellow bakers? Join the conversation in the Baking and Desserts forum!
How can I make the zebra pattern in the cake?
To create the zebra pattern in the cake, you will alternate spoonfuls of the vanilla and chocolate batters on top of each other in the cake pans. This will create the distinctive zebra stripes when the cake is baked.
Can I use frozen strawberries for the frosting?
It's best to use fresh strawberries for the frosting to achieve the best flavor and texture. Frozen strawberries can release excess moisture, affecting the consistency of the frosting.
Can I make the cake in a different size pan?
Yes, you can adjust the recipe to fit different pan sizes. Just keep in mind that the baking time may vary, so it's important to keep an eye on the cakes and use a toothpick to test for doneness.
How should I store the zebra cake with strawberry frosting?
The zebra cake with strawberry frosting should be stored in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness. It's best to cover it with a cake dome or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
Can I use a different type of frosting for the zebra cake?
Absolutely! While the recipe calls for strawberry and vanilla buttercream frosting, you can get creative and use your favorite frosting flavors to suit your preferences.

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