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Happy FriYAY, we have a serious cake to talk about today.

Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake | @hbharvest

**headsup: a lot of photos ahead, if you want the recipe just scroll to the bottom! 🙂

First though, happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope you will all be celebrating with a Mexican feast and plenty of margaritas tonight. If you need any ideas, check out this post!

OK, but this cake? Isn’t is fun? As you can see I got just a little carried away with the edible flowers, but what’s new, right?

And for those of you who are wondering, those would be hibiscus flowers, aren’t they pretty!

But this cake, from the outside you’d never guess what’s hiding on the inside…

Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake | @hbharvest

Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake | @hbharvest

Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake | @hbharvest

Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake | @hbharvest

Zebra cake layers! Ahh! I’m still just in awe of this cake. And for those of you out there saying you could never make a zebra striped cake, trust me you can…and you should. When I set out to make this cake, I wasn’t real optimistic…I figured I could probably make it taste could, but look good…doubtful. How would I get a cake to look like zebra stripes?

Well, I took some advice from a pro, hello Martha Stewart, and you know what? Creating a zebra striped cake is simple and pretty painless. The secret? Simply pouring the chocolate cake batter over top of the vanilla cake batter, a little at a time, to create layers. Yes, it does take a few minutes longer then just dumping the batter into each pan, but the fun zebra stripes make it totally worth the extra time and effort.

I did a simple vanilla and chocolate cake batter, but for my filling, I went with something a little different. Over here, we are huge fans of anything involving chocolate mousse. I knew with Mother’s Day coming up in just a little over a week that I could create the perfect cake for my mom if it involved chocolate mousse. So that’s what I did.

I created a zebra striped vanilla and chocolate cake with an easy chocolate mousse that’s light, airy and pairs perfectly with this cake.

Then I frosted the outside with a little whipped cream and decorated the cake with tons of flowers, because anything with flowers is always my mom’s favorite…and my guess would be that’s the case for a lot of you moms out there too. Flowers just make everything better.

Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake | @hbharvest

Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake | @hbharvest

You know what the best part about this cake is? Even though it’s super fun and pretty, it also tastes amazing. I feel like so many pretty cakes end up being dry and flavorless, but this cake is anything but…it’s moist, chocolatey, and airy – SO GOOD.

Also, and I feel like this is something I really want to stress to you guys, DO NOT freak if your zebra stripes aren’t perfect, mine are totally not, but none of you mind, right?

The cake is going to be fun no matter what, and promise, even if the cake batter looks like a hot mess going into the oven, by the time it comes out it will be pretty and zebra stripe…ish. And remember, perfect is just plain boring anyway. Little imperfections are always a good thing, they show character.

Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake | @hbharvestChocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake | @hbharvest

OKok. And with that, I think it’s time to say see ya! I hope you guys all have an incredible cake-filled weekend. Are you up to anything fun? I’m headed to Salt Lake City to speak at my very first conference. I’m going to be running through my photography process with attendees and answering all their questions. And you guys, well I am excited, I am so nervous!!! So please, send good vibes!

Please and thank you!

Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake | @hbharvest

Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake | @hbharvest

Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake | @hbharvest

Layered Zebra Mousse Cake

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings: 16 servings
Calories Per Serving: 632 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


Chocolate Mousse


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (8 inch) round cake pans. 
    2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer) beat together the buttermilk, greek yogurt, canola oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low until there are no longer any clumps of flour. Batter should be pourable, but not super thin.
    4. Divide the batter in half. Set one batter aside. To the other batter, add the cocoa powder and coffee, beating until smooth. 
    5. Spoon about 1/4 cup of vanilla batter (the one set aside) into the center of each prepared 8 inch pan. Now spoon 1/4 cup chocolate batter directly over the vanilla batter. Repeat this process, always spooning the batter into the center of the pan. It helps to tap the pans against the center every so often to evenly distribute the batter. Don't stress if things looks a little uneven.
    6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes and then invert the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
    7. Meanwhile, make the mousse. Add 3 cups heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or use a hand held mixer. Whisk the cream until stiff peaks form. Add the cacao powder, honey, and vanilla and stir until combined and creamy. Cover and place in the fridge.
    8. To assemble. Using a serrated knife, slice the cakes in half horizontally. Place one cake layer on a cake stand and spread with mousse. Add another layer and then more mousse. Continue with the remaining 2 layers and mousse. 
    9. Add the remaining 1 cup heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or use a hand held mixer. Whisk the cream until stiff peaks form. Stir in 2 tablespoons honey. Spread the whipped cream around the outside of the cake. decorate as desired. Cake can be made up to 1 day in advance. Keep stored in the fridge until ready to serve.
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Chocolate Layered Zebra Mousse Cake | @hbharvest

In the meantime, I’ll just be over here stress-eating on this cake. But for real, those layers! Love.

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  1. 2 stars
    I made this exactly as the recipe suggested and was disappointed. The marbling effect was great, but I found the cake to be too dense for the mousse filling, like some of the other reviewers mentioned. With a lighter cake this would be delish!

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback, so sorry to hear it was not enjoyed. Please let me know if there is anything that I can help with! xx

    1. HI! I am sorry, are you asking to make buttermilk? Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup milk and let it sit for 10 minutes. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much!! xTieghan

      1. 2 stars
        I was so disappointed with this recipe. The cake was incredibly dense, not at all light and airy as described. We also made the white chocolate raspberry cake which turned out super dense as well. Not sure where we are going wrong as we are following the recipe exact.

    2. 5 stars
      This cake is dense but in a delectable way! It really was rich in texture and flavor and overall delicious. I love this cake because it’s pretty simple to make but looks complex. It has definitely fooled my friends into thinking I am a master baker when i am absolutely an amateur. 🙂 The only thing I would change is the frosting. The frosting did not even come close to covering the cake. I would definitely double it next time. Thanks for the recipe!!

  2. 5 stars
    I made two versions of this cake since some commenters mentioned the cake was too dense. One version I followed the recipe exactly and the other version I substituted cake flour and added baking soda in hopes to get an airer caked. In the end, I found the recipe to be perfect the way it was. I agree that the cake does have more of a “poundcake” consistency but I think it works really well because the chocolatey- flavor isn’t very strong. I plan on adding raspberries to each of the layers when I make this cake for a birthday party this weekend. This cake is definitely a showstopper!

    1. Hi! Any cake batter should work just great as long as you follow the directions for making the zebra pattern. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much! xTieghan

    1. Hi Renee, there is no baking soda in this recipe. Did you change anything about the recipe? Are there any details that you can give me in regards to how you made this so that I can help problem solve?

  3. 4 stars
    I made this cake this weekend and I have mixed feelings about it! I followed the recipe exactly; it was very simple to make and the zebra striping came out gorgeous. While I personally loved the taste of the cake, it was still rather heavy and “bread-y”? So when I went to put the mousse on, the weight of the cake kept making the mousse slide out of the sides. I made the cake part the night before and kept it in the fridge, so I know that it wasn’t an issue where the cake wasn’t cool enough. While I thought the taste and textures were delicious together, the weight of the cake and lightness of the mousse didn’t seem to work well together. In fact after the mousse debacle I ended up just using the rest of it (there was a ton) to just ice the cake all over; I felt too defeated to whip more cream for the outside. Lol. This might have worked better for me as a 9″x13″ cake with one big layer of mousse on top. Would it have been pretty? No! But, it is what it is. My family was raving anyway, so thank you 🙂 PS: I’m no chef like you, but I was also imagining this in a bundt pan with a light banana/confection sugar-y frosting drizzled over the top. If you can dream that up, let me know!

    1. Hi Kristen! I am sorry this did not work out the way you were hoping, but I am so glad everyone still enjoyed it!

  4. My sister in law made this cake, and said it turned out dense and heavy for her. So when I made it,I used 3 1/2 cups of flour,and added 1 tsp of baking soda. Cakes are cooling now,and they look fluffy and light! Cannot wait to pile on the whipping cream and chocolate mousse,for tomorrow’s 30th birthday bash,for a dear friend.

  5. This looks so awesome! I want to try this for my birthday and i’m thinking about incorporating strawberries in between the layers of cake to give it a bit of a fresh kick. Now i really like the chocolate, strawberry chocolate combination, so do you think it is possible to replace the outer layer of whipped cream by coconut whipped cream (just the solid part of a can of full-fat coconut milk), or will it not be solid enough?
    Please let me know 🙂

    1. Hi! I think strawberries sounds delish and I also think coconut cream will be great! Love this twist you are making. Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

  6. I made this cake for my daughter’s high school graduation. I wanted to add a picture of the cake I made but not sure how ?. It came out beautifully zebra stripped inside! I started the first scoop of layering with the vanilla batter. The coloring of the inside looks opposite to yours. Did you start with chocolate layer first? Either way looks great…just curious. I also did the opposite from you and didn’t use enough mouse for each layer. We ate the extra mouse and it was AMAZING! My cake is the density of pound cake, is that right? I’m a new baker. I will for sure make the mouse again for the fam. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. So happy you loved the cake, thank you! Honestly, I am not sure if I started with the chocolate, I can’t remember. Thank you again!! 🙂

  7. To get the swirl effect do you drizzle the chocolate layer or the cake or just evenly pour over it like a layer ??

  8. To get the swirl effect do you drizzle the chocolate layer or the cake or just evenly pour over it like a layer ??

    1. Hey Melody! Just pour it evenly over each layer. No swirling needed. Let me know if you have questions. Hope you love the cake! 🙂