Orange-Chocolate Zebra Cake

Growing up, marble cakes were my favorite cakes. A special treat, reserved for special events, vacations, and the like. Recently I wanted to eat some marble cake, but wanted to take my childhood favorite to the next level. Using an orange scented white cake base and layering with a rich chocolaty batter to make a zebra stripe pattern, then topping it with some orange buttercream frosting, made for the perfect citrusy and rich dessert.

The cake is not your typical fluffy textured cake. It has a moist but dense, almost flourless-like texture (though it is definitely not a flourless cake). It’s perfect served with coffee or tea. As a morning treat or for dessert. I just can’t get over how pretty this cake is!

Orange-Chocolate Zebra Cake
1 9″ round cake

1 1/2 cups soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup earth balance buttery stick
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour (or substitute out up to 1 cup for whole wheat pastry flour)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh orange zest
1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa

Preheat oven to 350 ºF
1. Combine the vinegar and soy milk. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to curdle.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat with a hand or stand mixer the butter, oil, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, soy milk and orange juice.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, starch, baking powder, and salt.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until mixed with few to no lumps.
5. Separate out 2 cups of the batter, fold in the orange zest.
6. To the remaining batter mix in the 1/4 cup cocoa powder.

To make the stripes:
To a greased 9″ round pan, add 1/4 cup of the orange batter to the pan. Next put a 1/4 cup of the chocolate batter directly in the center of the orange batter. Continue alternating between the two colors, always using 1/4 cup measure (for thinner layers use less–3 tbsp–for thicker layers use a little more). If the batter is a bit thicker it might not spread out as easily and you can shake or tap it back and forth gently so that the layers spread.

Bake at 350 ºF for 35-45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Orange Buttercream Frosting

1/4 cup earth balance buttery stick
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp fresh orange zest
1 tsp vanilla

1. Beat shortening and earth balance until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2. Add powdered sugar, and beat an additional 3 minutes.
3. Add orange juice, orange zest and vanilla. Beat 5-7 minutes until fluffy.


13 thoughts on “Orange-Chocolate Zebra Cake

  1. What a fun cake! when I saw the first picture, I was so amazed by it !I can’t believe how easy it is to make. I’m goign to make this and impress my friends. Thanks 🙂

  2. I’m so glad I found your blog and this cake!!! I suffer from a severe dairy allergy, so vegan recipes are a treat. Thank you for sharing, I will definitely make this very soon.

  3. What kind of sugar do you use? Organic white? I don’t eat refined sugar because of the animal bone char obviously…Is powdered sugar vegan? Off to find out I guess…Either way I am making this – even without the frosting if I have to. Can almond milk be used instead? I would think so – I am a new vegan – also stay away from soy as much as I can. Thanks for posting!

    • Hi Angela,

      I used white sugar, but I do believe you could substitute turbinado or some more natural sugar. This might change the texture of this dish, my experience of these substitutions is limited so I can’t give much advice on this matter. You could also just use unbleached sugar, if you can find it (in a natural foods section, perhaps?).

      I believe almond milk will work just fine. It is usually lower in fat, this might change the dish slightly, but I don’t think it will make a big difference with this particular cake.

      Happy baking!

      • I just wanted to add that natural foods oriented stores, like Whole Foods, do sell vegan white granulated sugar, so you should look out for that product. It is labeled as “vegan” right on the packaging and guaranteed to be processed without bone char, but otherwise it is an equivalent product.

        I agree with Eva that the almond milk substitution should be no problem.

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