Woodgrain Cake (Zebra Cake)


When I first saw this cake on Takeamegabite, I thought  it was the most beautiful cake I had ever seen. But it wasn’t just another pretty cake, it looked scrumptious, too. I made a first attempt of this cake with my friend, Joe, who wanted to make it for his friend’s birthday. When I made it I didn’t know what was going to happen. All I know is that I put my faith in that batter. And when it came out of the oven, it looked and tasted amazing. So, I knew that when I got home I must make it again.

On a side note, I like how the vanilla and chocolate layers resemble tree rings.


The cake itself wasn’t too sweet, which I like, but combined with the fudge frosting it was perfection. The flavors were balanced so that neither tastes were overpowering each other.


Woodgrain Cake (Zebra Cake)

adapted from Takeamegabite


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 t vanilla or 1/2 a vanilla bean
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3 T Dutch process cocoa


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9″ x 2″ round cake pan (I used 6″ x 6″ square pan) with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl (using a hand mixer) or in the bowl of a stand mixer, blend the sugar and eggs until lightened, about 2 minutes. On a low speed, blend in the oil, milk and vanilla until well combined and smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to remove any lumps. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients. Combine on medium speed for a couple minutes or until the batter is smooth and lump free. Be sure to scrape down the bowl.
  4. Remove 2 cups of the vanilla batter and place in a 2 cup measuring cup. Sift the cocoa over the remaining batter and stir to combine.
  5. To make the woodgrain: Spoon about 3 tablespoons of vanilla batter into the center of the cake pan. Next, spoon 3 tablespoons of the chocolate batter into the center of the vanilla batter. This causes the vanilla batter to spread out. Continue alternating batters, in bulls-eye fashion until all the batter is used. You will now have thin rings of each batter on the outer edges of the pan, thicker rings towards the center.
  6. Bake the cake in the center of the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned and a small sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean. The top will probably crack, don’t worry about it. Test inside the cracks to be sure it’s done. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Fudge Frosting


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 T milk
  • 1 t vanilla


  1. In a small bowl, beat powdered sugar and cocoa powder into the butter until smooth. Add the vanilla and slowly add the milk. Beat until it’s smooth.




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