Chocolate Matcha Zebra Cake

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Chocolate Matcha Zebra Cake

A year ago, I posted my efforts to make a Chocolate Matcha Marble Cake, inspired by a Bakerella recipe that I read the year before.  While the resulting cake was delicious, I wasn’t quite happy with the way it looked visually.  I think the problem was that instead of using the Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder that Bakerella suggested, I went with the regular cocoa powder from Trader Joe’s that I had on hand.  Because of that, the resulting chocolate swirls were too “red/brown” (instead of a dark brown), and I probably swirled it around a little too much, so there weren’t any of the distinctive patches of green vs. dark brown that Bakerella had in her beautiful cake.  So I decided to try it again, this time using the Special Dark cocoa powder, and I also bought a much more potent Japanese Matcha powder (without any added sugars…. just pure STRONG matcha).

Recently, I saw a recipe for “zebra cake” on the King Arthur Flour website.  While the cake looked stunning visually, most of the reviews commented on the lack of flavor, blandness, and just overall dissatisfaction with the taste/texture of the cake.  Hmm… why not combine the two different cakes and see if I could create something really unique?


Chocolate Matcha Zebra Cake: 

  • 3 c. sugar
  • 1 c. unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate Mixture:

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened Hershey’s Special dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Green Tea/Matcha Mixture:

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 T. Japanese matcha (green tea) powder (use 3 T. if buying the sweetened American matcha)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
1.  Preheat oven to 325, and generously spray a 9″ springform pan with pam for baking.
2.  Sift the dry ingredients in separate bowls.
3.  Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
4.  Beat in the eggs, then add the milk and vanilla.
5.  Divide the wet mixture evenly among the two dry ingredient bowls, mix to combine so that you have 2 separate batters:  green tea and dark chocolate.
6.  To make the zebra stripes:  Place 3 T. chocolate batter into the center of the pan, follow with 3 T. of green tea batter.
7.  Continue alternating 3 T. chocolate batter, then 3 T. green tea batter, gently shaking the pan once in awhile to slightly level the batter mound.  It doesn’t need to be exact, but try to keep the circles roughly intact.
8.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently touched.
9.  Cool for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the springform pan.  Cool for at least 1 hour before serving.


  1. Jeslyn says:

    Hi, your cake looks delish! Can I replace butter with same amount of oil, as my bf dislike the scent & taste of butter. Thanks!

  2. Mika Mika says:

    I’ve never tried it with oil… but it might work out ok as a substitute. I would start by experimenting with maybe 2/3 c. oil to replace the 1 c. butter. However, the best butter alternative would probably be to use vegetable shortening (like regular plain Crisco). When you cream the butter and sugar, bubbles are created which help lift the cake. Using oil, you would not be creating those bubbles, and the cake might end up flatter. But you can create the same bubbles using shortening.

    Hope this helps!

  3. spanky says:

    Is the matcha green tea taste pretty pronounced when using 2 Tbsp? What is the texture of the cake like? Is it spongy like your birthday cake recipe or is it more like a boxed cake mix? I am getting ready to make this cake but want to know what to expect. Also, I saw that you initially used unsweetened regular cocoa mix which is what I have on hand. Besides the color difference was there any difference in taste when using unsweetened regular cocoa as opposed to the special hershey’s dark chocolate one? Thanks! Love your recipes :)

  4. Mika Mika says:

    In texture – this is like a butter cake – with a denser crumb than you would get with something like an oil cake or cake mix, but lighter than a pound cake. It is not at all spongy like the Japanese Strawberry Cake recipe.

    Taste wise, the green tea taste is detectable with the 2 T. matcha, but not overly so.

    For the unsweetened cocoa powder… taste-wise, it didn’t make much of a difference. The Hershey’s Dark produced a darker color – which gave more contrast, but I didn’t really notice a taste difference.

    Hope you like it – let me know how it turns out! :)

  5. YuChu says:

    Thank you for posting this recipe. My spring form pan must be a lot shorter than yours. I had batter left over for 18 cupcakes!

    • Mika Mika says:

      It might be? You can see in my photo that the cake rose to the top of my pan, which is about 3 inches tall.