Indulge in these nostalgic gluten free zebra cakes! Vegan option. Sweet yellow cake with a marshmallow cream filling and topped in layers of chocolate. Tiny cakes with a big flavor!
Do you have favorite snacks and treats from your childhood that you can no longer have thanks to allergies or intolerances? Yup. I have a TON of those and I’m slowly working my way through making allergy free versions of all my nostalgic favorites. Today, I’m indulging in these gluten free zebra cakes.
Two layers of sweet yellow cake are filled with a delicate marshmallow cream frosting and topped in a few layers of white chocolate and finished with a drizzle of dark chocolate.
This cake is so easy to make! Pinky promise! It just takes a bit of time to assemble all the ingredients and the mini cakes together.
If you wanted this cake in a shorter amount of time, you could easily make only a few 3 or 4 inch cakes, or heck, even one giant cake! The awesome thing about baking at home is you can do what you feel like doing on any given day.
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Gluten Free Zebra Cake Ingredients
To start out my gluten free zebra cakes journey, I began with a gluten free yellow cake mix. I wanted a little bit of a short cut in the kitchen as I made these. However, if you are not feeling as lazy as I was, use your favorite allergy friendly yellow cake of choice!
Need a good cake mix? I totally recommend Kate’s Safe and Sweet Vanilla Cake Mix! It is super easy to make, top 14 allergy friendly, and did I mention it tastes amazing? Check it out!
Marshmallow fluff is needed for the filling. If you are allergic to eggs, I HIGHLY recommend that you make the marshmallow fluff as directed by the Dandies company. They are vegan, gluten free, and free of a ton of other allergens as well. Make this recipe and add it to my frosting as directed.
White chocolate is the one ingredient that is a little more difficult to find if you are allergic to, or just avoiding, dairy. However, as more companies become aware of allergies and people who are vegan, there are more dairy-free white chocolate options available.
Zebra Cake Allergy Variations
Can I make this cake vegan? Yes! This recipe will very easily convert to a dairy free and egg free treat. To make your box cake mix vegan, simply swap out milk and butter in a 1:1 ratio and follow the same directions. Non-dairy milks and butters perform almost identically in baking recipes. I would recommend soy or oat milk for the cake and Earth Balance for the butter. These are the things I find the most success with!
For making the cake egg free, begin by making 2 flax eggs. Combine 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 4 tablespoons of almost boiling water. Mix and set aside for 5 minutes to get gelatinious. Use as directed for eggs in your box cake mix. When adding the dry ingredients, make sure to also add one 1/2 tsp of baking powder to help the cake rise.
It’s that easy to turn your cake mix into a dairy free and egg free cake!
How to Assemble Gluten Free Zebra Cakes
Make your cake in a larger than directed pan size. I lined a 10×15 inch baking pan with parchment and lightly oiled the sides to ensure that it wouldn’t stick. This made my cake slightly thinner than normal so I could get the right size of a finished cake. If you don’t have a pan that size, you can also use a cookie sheet. Your cakes will be even thinner when finished, but should taste just fine! And they will probably be even closer to the right size of a zebra cake.
After baking, remove the cake from the pan and allow to cool completely. Find a cookie cutter, or make a pattern, that is about 3 inches in diameter. This will be the final size for your zebra cake. But as I said above, make these cakes in any size you desire!
Time to make the marshmallow fluff frosting. Whip butter and vegetable shortening in your stand mixer or with a hand mixer in a large mixing bowl. You want this to get super light and fluffy so whip it for about 4-5 minutes. Add your marshmallow fluffy and mix for about one minute more. Add your final ingredients and whip once again for about 4 minutes. The longer you let this whip, the more light and airy your final frosting will be! Set aside.
Finally, melt your chocolates in microwave safe bowls with a few splashes of milk.
Depending on the size of pan you used, you will either cut out individual cakes to stack on top of each other (for example with the cookie tray) or will cut out cakes to be sliced in half horizontally so they can be stacked on top of each other when filled with frosting (for example with the 10×15 tray).
Place your first layer of cake on a cooling tray set inside a cookie tray. This helps us catch all the drips! Place an even layer of marshmallow frosting on this first layer. I used a piping bag to ensure I got a good even layer. Place the second layer of cake on top of this and gently “squish” it into place. Repeat for all your cakes till none remain.
Now, using a spoon, pour over a few spoonfuls of the melted white chocolate over each cake. You want them to be evenly coated.
Finally, using a spoon or with a piping bag, drizzle the melted dark chocolate on top to make the stripes of the zebra cake.
Pop them in the fridge to help set up.
These taste great at room temperature and taste AMAZING when chilled in the fridge. That makes these a great summer time treat if you ask me!
Did you make this recipe?
Gluten Free Zebra Cakes
- 1 yellow cake mix OR yellow cake from scratch
- 2/3 cup marshmallow fluff equal amount of Dandies if making vegan
- 1/2 cup butter non-dairy if needed
- 2 tbsp vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 bag white chocolate chips or vegan equavalint
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 3 tbsp milk (non-dairy milk), divided into 2 and 1
- Begin by making your cake according to directions. Line a baking tray that is 10x15 inches with parchment paper and coat with oil or butter. If using a cookie tray, also line with parchment and coat with oil or butter.
- Pour prepared cake batter into the tray and bake at recommended temperature for 5-10 minutes less time than directed. I baked mine for 25 minutes total. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. When cool, use a cookie cutter or 3 inch pattern to cut each cake into the desired size of finished zebra cake. Cut horizontally in half if needed.
- Make the marshmallow filling while the cake is cooling. In a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, whip butter and vegetable shortening together until light and fluffy. Add in marshmallow fluff and mix for another minute. Now add the remaining ingredients of sugar and vanilla extract. Starting low, whip for an additional 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Place into a piping bag and set aside.
- Make the chocolate topping by placing white chocolate and dark chocolate in seperate bowls and add the milk to each. Microwave in 30 second intervals until the chocolates are both melted. You may need to add more milk to get a good viscosity for coating the cakes. Set aside.
- Now you can begin to assemble the cakes! Place first layer of zebra cake onto a wire cooling rack that is on top of a cookie tray. This will help catch the drips! Pip a layer of marshmallow filling onto the first layer. Place a second layer of cake on top and gently "squish" into shape. Repeat with all remaining cakes.
- Pour the white chocolate mixture over each of the filled cakes, making sure to evenly coat the top layer. It is okay if the mixture is too thin and doesn't evnely coat the sides. Finally, drizzle the top of cakes with the dark chocolate to get the signature zebra stripes.
- Store in the fridge for up to 4 days. I wouldn't recommend freezing finished cakes.