How to Make Zebra Cupcakes

What do you get for a girl who loves pink, zebra, and Audrey Hepburn? Pink zebra cupcakes of course! My friend Lauren’s birthday was the perfect occasion to try out the zebra cake technique. By layering chocolate and vanilla cake batter, you can create a striped effect in the cake. It takes some time and patience, but it’s incredibly easy to do.

To start, you’ll need a few things: pink cupcake liners, vanilla cake and dark chocolate cake (see links below for the recipes I used), vanilla buttercream frosting, and zebra print sugar sheets.

Step 1: Make half-batches of vanilla and dark chocolate cake batter

I made Sweetapolita’s Fluffy Vanilla Cake and Hershey’s Deep Dark Chocolate Cake, cutting both recipes in half. (Note: be sure to use the Special Dark Cocoa for an almost black cake.)

Step 2: Pour in a teaspoon of chocolate cake batter

Pour a teaspoon of the dark chocolate cake batter into the center of each pink cupcake liner.

Step 3: Pour in a teaspoon of vanilla cake batter

Pour a teaspoon of vanilla cake batter in the center of each cupcake liner. Don’t stir or move the batter, just let it settle on its own.


Step 4: Repeat until 1/2 full

Keep alternating teaspoons of chocolate and vanilla batter until your liners are half full. (It may have been the recipes I used, but when I filled them 3/4 full, they came out deformed. 1/2 full was perfect.)

Step 5: Top with frosting and zebra sugar sheet

I used my favorite vanilla buttercream (using vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean paste so it would be pure white) and topped it with a circle of zebra print sugar sheet. I used a small biscuit cutter and scissors to cut the sheets. They aren’t the most delicious cupcake topping (it’s kind of like eating sweet paper) but they add that perfect zebra print with very little effort.


Step 6: Enjoy!

22 Comments on How to Make Zebra Cupcakes

    • Stephanie
      September 6, 2012 at 11:36 am (10 years ago)

      @Laura – thanks! The sugar sheets help pull the whole thing together.

    • Stephanie
      September 6, 2012 at 11:38 am (10 years ago)

      @Jen – thanks! The birthday girl loved them so I was happy.

  1. statelysweets
    September 6, 2012 at 8:07 am (10 years ago)

    Cool! Good idea! My cousins made a 2-layer cake with this technique.
    Love the decoration.

    • Stephanie
      September 6, 2012 at 11:40 am (10 years ago)

      @statelysweets – a 2 layer zebra cake would be fun to cut into! That would be great for a party.

    • Stephanie
      September 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm (10 years ago)

      @Jessica – thanks! I was really happy with how they turned out.

  2. Beth Velt
    September 7, 2012 at 9:44 am (10 years ago)

    Super cute with the 2 tone cake. Gotta love sugar sheets!

    • Stephanie
      September 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm (10 years ago)

      @Beth – this was my first time using sugar sheets. Love em!

    • Stephanie
      September 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm (10 years ago)

      @Anna – thanks! I love the hot pink and zebra together.

  3. Parsley Sage
    September 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm (10 years ago)

    Well, you know I just had to google sugar sheet 🙂 Those are so cool! I am not a baker so I’ve totally learned something new here. And it looks pretty easy and fabulous. My mom would LOVE these!
    Parsley Sage recently posted Pumpkin Bisque

    • Stephanie
      September 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm (10 years ago)

      @Parsley Sage – aren’t the sugar sheets cool? I’d never used them before but they’re so easy and they have tons of designs! Not the yummiest thing I’ve ever eaten, but not the worst either.

  4. Anne@FromMySweetHeart
    September 9, 2012 at 10:50 am (10 years ago)

    Oh these look so pretty! I love that zebra effect in the cupcakes and I think that would look great in other colors as well! I’m going to look into those sugar sheets as well. They look like the perfect topping to these pretty little cakes! : )
    Anne@FromMySweetHeart recently posted Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake

    • Stephanie
      September 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm (10 years ago)

      @Anne – I think the striped effect would be lots of fun in other colors. You could do a pink zebra, multi-colored stripes…the possibilities are endless!

    • Stephanie
      September 13, 2012 at 7:08 am (10 years ago)

      @Roxana – thanks! You have good taste 😉

  5. Ummy Alqaly
    July 28, 2018 at 11:21 am (4 years ago)

    I like this so much


3Pingbacks & Trackbacks on How to Make Zebra Cupcakes

  1. […] Although Zebra Cupcakes sound complicated, they are far simpler to make than you would think. When filling the cupcake tins or pan liners, simply alternate between a simple vanilla cake batter and a deep, dark chocolate one. Keep them in separate pans, and fill the tins by alternating between spoonfuls of each until they are ready to go into the oven. You will end up with an almost-marbled cake.The frosting on these beauties consists of homemade vanilla buttercream topped with zebra-striped sugar sheets to add to the effect. Source 52 Ktchen Adventures […]

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