Copycat Zebra Cakes®

Products Used



  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup any type of vegetable oil, including non-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large gg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar

Marshmallow Buttercream

White Chocolate Glaze

Dark Chocolate Stripes

  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoon oil, any vegetable type
  • *Spoon & Sweep method: Use a spoon to fill measuring cup with flour until required amount is obtained. Scooping measuring cup directly into flour bag will firmly pack flour resulting in too much flour required for recipe.


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line bottom and sides of a 11x16-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Applying a small amount of butter or oil will make parchment stick easier. Set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand or handheld mixer or a sturdy hand whisk, mix oil, egg, and egg yolk until well blended. Add sugar and whisk until completely smooth.
  4. Add buttermilk and vanilla.  
  5. Add sifted ingredients in one step and mix until batter is smooth. Do not mix more than necessary.
  6. Add hot water and vinegar and mix until combined.
  7. Pour liquid batter into pan and level evenly. Place in oven. Bake until center of cake bounces back when lightly pressed with a finger and until you see cake retracting from sides in a few areas. About 22 minutes. Set aside.
  8. For marshmallow buttercream, place egg whites in a bowl of a stand mixer or a mixing bowl that can hold 4-6 cups water.
  9. Add sugar and place over a double boiler filled with low simmering water. Water should not touch bottom of bowl.
  10. Continuously whisk until egg white mixture reads 145°F or slightly higher. It is very important to whisk without stopping to prevent egg whites from becoming an omelet.
  11. Remove from double boiler and whisk another minute as residual heat of bowl will cook egg whites.
  12. Using machine, whip to a stiff meringue. This will take at least 7 minutes.
  13. Add vanilla and salt.  
  14. Meringue will now be stiff and feel barely lukewarm. Do not proceed with adding butter if meringue still feels warm. It should be under 90°F.
  15. Add soft butter while gently mixing. As soon as butter is incorporated stop mixing to ensure a fluffy buttercream. Set aside.
  16. Flip cake upside down on a sheet of parchment paper or plastic food film.
  17. Remove parchment paper that cake was baked on. Cut circles approximately 2 inches in diameter. Cut very close to prevent wasting cake.
  18. Place half of cut circles onto a plastic food film lined platter that will fit in refrigerator.
  19. Fill a piping bag with a medium plain pastry tube with marshmallow buttercream and pipe a quarter inch thick cream onto circles. Retain some cream to spread on surface of small cakes.
  20. Cover with another circle and spread a thin layer of cream onto surface of cakes.
  21. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours of overnight.
  22. Place an icing screen onto a plastic food film lined counter or cookie sheet and set aside.
  23. For glaze combine powdered sugar and hot water.
  24. Place white chocolate in a microwave oven proof bowl with oil and heat in 10 second increments while stirring in between. Once completely melted stop heating. Stir into powdered sugar mixture.
  25. Add 2 teaspoons of water and place over very low simmering water and heat to 100°F. Overheating can occur very quickly and can ruin glaze.
  26. Melt dark chocolate and oil in 10 second increments in microwave oven and once melted place in a paper cone.
  27. Remove one mini cake and place on icing screen. Using a small ladle or tablespoon pour glaze over cake. With a small cake spatula spread glaze onto sides. While glaze is still wet, drizzle surface with dark chocolate.
  28. This first glazing test will determine if glaze needs a touch more water to spread and flow flawlessly. Add water if needed.
  29. Glaze that has dripped off cakes thru icing screen can be reheated. However, it is important to drizzle dark chocolate carefully and only onto cakes to prevent dark chocolate drizzle mixing into white glaze.
  30. Remove a few cakes at a time from refrigerator and glaze cakes.  
  31. After several minutes cakes can be lifted off icing screen and placed into paper muffin cups or onto serving tray.
Dixie Crystals Insight

Little Debbie® Zebra Cakes is a registered trademark of the McKee Foods Corporation. 

Rate & Review
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Kim O
May 09, 2022

So much better than the store-bought kind. These are light and fluffy, and don't have that overly processed taste that the pre-packaged kind does.

Susan Whitehill
May 26, 2018

This is a great start and I was very excited to find a from scratch recipe to make my old addiction. The cake was very dense and dry, despite careful measuring and careful babysitting while baking. I’m not sure how she was able to coat all the cakes with only 4 oz of straight white chocolate and it didn’t coat very well without thinning with cream. It was also not enjoyable to eat that thick. Unfortunately, I only had good luck with the marshmallow filling, though it ended up being way too sweet. I am going to try this again. I have a much better vanilla cake recipe I will try, I will reduce the sugar in the filling (I made homemade marshmallow cream that was incredible on its own) and I will experiment to find the perfect ratio to thin the white chocolate with a little cream to make a better ganache. This project is worth getting right, but I will warn you that it’s quite the project. Best of luck!

Jun 20, 2023

This is a terrific recipe - the cake is delicate-crumbed and fluffy, the filling is identical to its Little Debbie original, and the glaze is perfect. (From her description, the reviewer who complained of too little glaze seems to have forgotten to add the confectioner’s sugar and water.) Do not overmix the cake batter, weigh your flour and don’t overbake, and yours will turn out beautifully.

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