Fluffy and decadent vegan zebra bundt cake with swirls of chocolate and vanilla cake topped with an easy chocolate ganache! This is an impressive but easy and versatile vegan marble cake recipe.
Why you'll love this vegan marble cake
FLAVOR: If you like chocolate but don't want something too rich, this vegan cake recipe is perfect for you! The alternating layers of vegan chocolate cake and vegan vanilla cake make this a well-balanced dessert. But it's decadent enough for a special celebration!
APPEARANCE: Vegan bundt cakes are shaped so beautifully that they don't need anything extra. If you don't have a bundt pan, you can use a round or loaf pan and your cake will still be beautiful.
DIFFICULTY: The cake uses only common pantry ingredients and comes together in just two bowls! If you can mix dry and wet ingredients together, you can make this cake.
CROWD-PLEASER: I've served this cake to non-vegan guests at parties and it was loved by everyone! You need to try it!
Ingredients you'll need
Notes about the ingredients
Sugar, preferably regular white sugar or cane sugar. I'd recommend a light-colored sugar for this cake to keep the vanilla cake layers light in color.
Dairy-free milk such as soy milk, almond milk or oat milk. However, any non-dairy milk will work!
Oil which keeps the cake moister compared to butter! According to Bon Appetit, it also keeps a cake tender!
Cocoa powder or raw cacao powder. I prefer the taste of classic cocoa powder for cakes as it's less bitter and provides a more nostalgic chocolate flavor.
Baking powder and soda. We're using double baking agents to give the cake a lovely light crumb with no dense spots!
Vinegar (either apple cider or regular) which reacts with the milk to make buttermilk. This makes the cake fluffier and more tender.
Even though this is an eggless cake, we don't need any egg replacers or flax eggs. I've tested this recipe with egg substitutes and it doesn't make a difference.
A complete list of ingredients, quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Easy way to prepare a bundt pan to prevent sticking
You can use a couple of pantry ingredients to make any bundt pan non-stick. It even worked for my intricate Nordicware bundt pan (10-cup)!
To prepare a bundt pan, I'd suggest you:
- Throughly brush inside of the pan with melted vegan butter. Make sure you reach all the nooks and crannies! I prefer using butter rather than oil as the latter sometimes leaves 'puddles' when used for greasing. Alternatively, you can use an oil spray to coat your bundt pan.
- Lightly dust some cocoa powder on top.
- Invert the bundt pan and tap it on your kitchen bench or side of your sink a few times. This forces the excess cocoa powder to fall out.
If you don't have a bundt pan, you can use a loaf tin or 2 x round cake pans for this vegan marble cake!
Preparing the cake batters
First you need to prepare an unflavored cake batter for your vegan bundt cake. You may use a whisk or spatula for this step.
Add the flour, sugar, raising agents and salt to a large bowl and mix until there are no lumps. Then add dairy-free milk, oil and vinegar and mix until JUST combined (or just before it's combined).
Some lumps in the cake batter are fine! Please avoid over mixing the cake batter at this stage as we're mixing it more later.
Evenly divide the batter into two bowls. The batter should weigh about 780g in each bowl.
Add your vanilla to one bowl of cake batter and gently stir in it. Set this aside.
To the remaining second bowl, add some cocoa powder and plant-based milk. If your cocoa powder is lumpy, I'd recommend sifting it in! Then gently fold the ingredients together.
To make the pattern for the vegan marble cake, both cake batters need to be the same consistency in order for the marble pattern to work.
However, cocoa powder makes the chocolate batter slightly thicker. To counteract this, I added in a little extra dairy-free milk to the chocolate batter so it's the same consistency as the vanilla batter.
How to assemble vegan marble cake
Once you've prepared your cake pan and cake batters, you can assemble your vegan zebra cake!
It's much easier than it looks. All you have to do is:
- Spoon ½ cup chocolate cake batter in one spot in your cake tin. I started with the chocolate batter as we dusted the tin with cocoa powder.
- Then spoon ½ cup vanilla cake batter right on top of the chocolate batter. The weight of the vanilla batter will force the chocolate batter underneath to spread out and so on.
- Repeat until you have used up all the cake batter!
The two-toned appearance of zebra cakes or marble cakes is automatically created when you layer and alternate the two batters.
The batters will not mix together IF the batters are the same consistency/thickness (see my tips above on preparing the cake batters).
After you've assembled the marble cake, you don't need to use a knife to swirl the chocolate and vanilla layers together. There are enough layers in the cake for a stunning visual effect!
It takes about 50-60 minutes to bake the vegan bundt cake. However, the baking time will depend on your cake tin and whether your oven runs hot or cold.
Tips: How to customize this cake
- VALENTINE'S DAY: Make a smaller version of this cake in a smaller cake tin. Or make the cake its full size and share it with loved ones!
- EASTER: Top the cake with Easter eggs (like below) to make it the perfect table centerpiece for an Easter buffet.
- BIRTHDAYS: Top the cake with sparklers and/or sprinkles.
I do not recommend using coconut sugar in the cake batter as it'll make the vanilla layer brown. If you really want to use coconut sugar, it will only work for the chocolate layer.
I haven't tried this vegan bundt cake with sugar replacers like stevia and monk fruit. However, I imagine it would work!
Also, using less sugar will result in a denser cake.
Yes, check out the notes of the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
I haven't tried substituting the oil for apple sauce or a similar ingredient. If you try it, let me know!
More indulgent vegan chocolate desserts
Vegan Zebra Bundt Cake (Vegan Marble Cake)
Zebra Marble Cake
- 3 ½ cups (440g) all-purpose plain flour, note 1 for gluten free
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups (500g) dairy-free milk, room temperature
- ¾ cup (190g) neutral flavored oil, or melted vegan butter
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup (25g) cocoa or raw cacao powder, + 2 tablespoons plant-based milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Melted vegan butter, as needed
- ¾ cup (130g) roughly chopped vegan chocolate or chocolate chips
- ½ cup (120g) thick scoopable canned coconut cream
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Brush a bundt tin with melted vegan butter or oil then lightly dust it with cocoa powder.
To make the cake:
- Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a large bowl. Mix until combined. Add the milk, oil and apple cider vinegar and mix until just combined (some lumps are fine). Do not overmix the batter as you'll need to mix it again.
- Pour half of the cake mixture (around 780g) into another bowl. You will have two bowls of the unflavored cake mixture.
- Add the vanilla to one bowl of cake batter. Mix until just combined. Add the cocoa powder and milk to the other bowl of cake batter. Mix until just combined. (note 2)
Assembling the cake:
- Use 2 x ½ cup measures for these next steps (or 2 ladles of the same size).
- Pour ½ cup of the chocolate batter in one spot in the bundt tin. Pour ½ cup of the vanilla batter directly on top. Both cake batters will naturally spread. Keep alternating until there is no more cake batter.
- Bake the cake in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until you can insert a skewer or toothpick into the cake and it comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool in the bundt tin for 10 minutes. Turn the bundt tin upside down on and leave it on a cooling rack for another 10 minutes. Gently tap the tin on to encourage it to come out. Allow the cake to completely cool on your wire rack.
To make the ganache:
- Add all ingredients to a small saucepan over low heat. Mix while allowing the chocolate to melt then turn off the heat. Mix until smooth and fully emulsified. Set aside to slightly cool.
- Drizzle the chocolate ganache over the bundt cake and serve immediately.
- The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day, in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- To make this bundt cake gluten free, I'd recommend using 2 ¼ cups (225g) almond flour and 1 ½ cups (220g) gluten free all-purpose flour. Alternatively, substitute all the flour with a good quality 1:1 gluten free flour such as Bob Red Mills.
- Both the vanilla and chocolate cake batters should have the same consistency/thickness (the zebra pattern will not work if they aren't the same consistency). Add and mix in more flour or milk to ensure this.
This post was first published in July 2019 and updated a few times since then with more useful information.
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