On the hunt for a weekend baking project or the perfect treat to send in your holiday goodie boxes? Try making these zebra cakes!
A childhood classic, that tastes just like Little Debbie's. Though in my opinion, I think they taste better-- one because they are fresh, and two you made them yourself, so they are super rewarding! Plus, you can change up the hexagon shape into your favorite seasonal shape, like a heart, tree, snowman, etc. Thus, they make a perfect holiday treat.
Let me also suggest doing a side by side tasting. My holiday plans = baking a huge batch of these zebra cakes, sending them in care packages to loved ones along with an original Little Debbie Zebra Cake, and hosting a virtual holiday tasting. I'm thinking I'll do a tree shape...
Okay, let's get to the recipe...Please note that this recipe does require a bit of time & ingredients. If you aren't down for the entire process, check out recipe notes at the bottom of this page for a few shortcut ideas. Though, I warn you the recipe as written is so. dang. good. I recommend going the whole 9-yards and making it, but obviously you do you!
yield: 16 cakes** | ready in 2 hours
T H E C A K E S
210g cake flour (about 2.75 cups)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter (room temp)
1 cups granulated sugar
2 yolks + 3 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups Cream Filling
16 oz vanilla candy melts
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
M E T H O D
Preheat oven to 350 F & butter cookie sheet (18" x 14" x 1"), line with parchment paper, and dust with flour.
In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla on high speed for 2 mins until pale and fluffy.
Add half of the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix for 30 seconds. Add all of the buttermilk and mix. Then, add the remaining dry ingredients & mix.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold these into the cake batter. Be careful when folding, as you don't want to deflate the egg white too much; fluffier egg whites = fluffier cake.
Pour batter onto your lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 mins until lightly golden & cooked through the center (check with toothpick). Check at 15 minutes to see if a toothpick comes out clean. If the toothpick doesn't come out clean, bake for 3 additional minutes at a time until it does.
Once cool, slice cake in half down the center. Add cream filling to one side of the cake, then sandwich the other piece of cake on top.
Using a hexagon stencil and a sharp knife, cut out your zebra cakes. Separate the cakes and chill on parchment paper in the freezer for 10 mins.
Prepare candy melts according to package and coat your cakes. Allow to chill before adding the stripes.
For the stripes, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and drizzle on top. Add 1/2 tsp of coconut oil if your chocolate is not “drippy” enough.
C R E A M F I L L I N G
1/2 cup marshmallow cream
4 tbsp butter
5 tbsp shortening
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp heavy cream
4 cups powdered sugar
Using an electric mixer, beat together all ingredients (aside from the powdered sugar) on high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Slowly add powdered sugar. Once completely incorporated, beat on high for 3 minutes until super fluffy. Don't skimp on the 3 minutes here, or else you won't have super fluffy filling.
**number of cakes will vary based on shape and size of individual cakes.
STORAGE: cakes last 2 weeks at room temp/in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. extra cream filling can be store in the fridge for 2 weeks of freezer for 3 months. Thaw at room temp & mix using an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until fluffy and spreadable.
THE MIXER: an electric stand mixer is best. If this isn't available, I highly suggest at least having a hand mixer to make these. If you must use a whisk, double (maybe triple) mixing times to ensure fluffy & moist results.
SHORTCUT(S): buy your favorite boxed yellow cake, use buttermilk instead of water, bake on cookie sheet per steps 6-7. Then, follow the remaining steps to assemble the zebra cakes. OR make the cake & substitute your cream filling for a 16oz jar of vanilla frosting + 1/2 cup marshmallow cream whipped together. Not the same, but it will get the job done!
SUBSTITUTIONS: sub all purpose flour, cake may be a bit more dry. Gluten Free? Try 1:1 all purpose flour, I haven't tried myself but it should work. Let me know if you try it!