The stunning zebra stripes makes this Keto Marble Cake an absolute showstopper. And this tender low carb cake is as delicious as it is beautiful!
Don’t be intimidated by this Zebra Cake recipe. It’s not as complicated as it looks, I promise. In fact, it’s really just keto marble cake in disguise. And it’s so pretty and delicious, it is well worth the effort!
I am so in love this recipe, for both its appearance and its flavor. This is not one of those cakes that is nice to look at but tastes like cardboard. If you know me, you know that taste and texture are of the utmost importance in my keto cake recipes.
Add some of my luscious Keto Chocolate Frosting and you have yourself a spectacular low carb dessert! One you can be proud to serve to guests… or keep all for yourself.
If you love baking cake, be sure to check out my latest ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Keto Cakes.
A fun twist on keto marble cake
I don’t know who first figured out how to make those beautiful zebra stripes with cake batter, but I’d like to thank them. Because it turns out that the process works just as well with almond flour cake too!
I did a few test runs of this recipe because I wasn’t sure how well it would work with low carb ingredients. I did have to thin the batter a bit more than usual, to allow it to spread properly. This causes a little bit of doming in the finished cake, but nothing you can’t smooth out with a little frosting.
It does take a bit more time, since you spoon alternating layers of batter into the pan and allow them to spread out. So I kept it to a single layer cake, and it still looks impressive.
But it isn’t all that hard to do and I walk you through it, step by step! Make sure to read all my tips carefully.
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- Almond flour: This cake will work best with almond flour. Coconut flour batters thicken up too much as they sit and you may have a hard time getting them to spread out properly. However, if you want to try it, use my Keto Chantilly Cake for the batter.
- Sweetener: I used Granular Swerve but other granular sweeteners may work. See the Expert Tips section for more info.
- Protein powder: Both whey protein and egg white protein powder work well in this recipe. Do not use collagen protein.
- Butter: Melt the butter before adding, for a more liquid consistency.
- Eggs: Use standard large eggs for this keto cake.
- Cocoa powder: I prefer Dutch process cocoa for its deeper chocolate flavor.
- Pantry staples: Vanilla, baking powder, salt.
Step by Step Directions
1. Make the vanilla batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sweetener, protein powder, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in the eggs, butter, water, and vanilla extract until well combined and smooth.
2. Make the chocolate batter: Transfer about one-third of the batter to another bowl and whisk in the cocoa powder and a few more tablespoons of water or coffee. The chocolate batter should be the same consistency as the vanilla batter.
3. Alternate spoonfuls: Drop a spoonful of vanilla batter in the center of a greased 9-inch metal baking pan that has been lined with parchment. Then drop a spoonful of chocolate batter in the very center of the vanilla batter. Tap the pan gently on the counter to help the batter spread toward the edges. Repeat with alternating spoonfuls of batter until both batters are used up.
4. Bake the cake: Bake at 350ºF for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top of the cake is just firm to the touch. Remove and let cool completely, then run a sharp knife around the edges and flip out onto a wire rack.
5. Frost and decorate: Prepare the frosting as directed in the recipe. Spread over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with keto sprinkles, if desired.
The key to this keto marble cake is to make sure the two batters are about the same consistency before adding them to the pan. If one is a lot thicker than the other, they won’t spread will and push out to the sides.
Don’t split the batter exactly in half. Because you add some cocoa powder and more liquid to the chocolate batter, it increases the volume. So only use about one-third of the vanilla batter to create the chocolate batter.
Adding warm (not hot!) water or coffee to the chocolate batter helps the cocoa powder mix in more easily.
Dairy-Free Option: If you would like to make a dairy free version of this cake, use egg white protein powder and another oil like coconut or avocado oil. For the frosting, use the dairy-free chocolate frosting from my Keto Chocolate Cake Recipe.
You can make the cake with other granular sweeteners, but do be aware that allulose tends to make things brown too quickly. So the vanilla portion may look darker on the outside. It will still be light colored when you slice into the cake.
The frosting requires a powdered sweetener for structure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Zebra cake is really a form of marble cake, where the swirls of chocolate batter look like zebra stripes. It requires carefully adding alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate batter, allowing them to spread to the edges of the pan. This creates the striped pattern. Marble cake is often simply swirled together.
This Keto Marble Cake has 7.6 grams of carbs and 3.6 grams of fiber per slice. This means that it has 4g net carbs per serving. The recipe serves 12 but it is rich so feel free to divide into 16!
Store this cake in the fridge for up to a week. The cake and frosting taste best at room temperature so let it sit out for a bit before serving. For leftovers, be sure to cover any of the exposed sides with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. You can also freeze the cake for several months.
More awesome keto cake recipes
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
This Keto Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake is over-the-top delicious. Three layers of tender low carb chocolate cake with sugar-free peanut butter frosting and a rich chocolate glaze. It’s a peanut butter lover’s dream!
Keto Coconut Cake
What could be better than this fluffy white Keto Coconut Cake? It’s easy to make, and it’s so light and airy, it’s like biting into a fluffy coconut cloud. Nut-free and sugar free.
Lemon Cream Cake
This delicious Keto Lemon Cake is a low carb copycat of the famous Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake. Delicious layers of almond flour cake with a lemony cream filling and a tender crumb garnish. How can you resist?
Keto Zebra Cake Recipe
- 2 cups almond flour
- ⅔ cup Swerve Sweetener
- ¼ cup unflavored whey protein powder (or egg white protein powder)
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tablespoon butter melted
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoon cocoa powder I recommend Dutch process
- 2 to 3 tablespoon warm water or coffee
- 1 recipe keto chocolate frosting
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease an 8 inch round metal baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease the parchment.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sweetener, protein powder, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in the eggs, butter, water, and vanilla extract until well combined and smooth.
- Transfer about one-third of the batter to another bowl and whisk in the cocoa powder and a few more tablespoons of water or coffee. The chocolate batter should be the same consistency as the vanilla batter.
- Drop a spoonful of vanilla batter in the center of the prepared pan. Then drop a spoonful of chocolate batter in the very center of the vanilla batter.
- Tap the pan gently on the counter to help the batter spread toward the edges. Repeat with alternating spoonfuls of batter until both batters are used up.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the top of the cake is just firm to the touch. Remove and let cool completely, then run a sharp knife around the edges and flip out onto a wire rack.
- Prepare the frosting as directed in the recipe. Spread over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with keto sprinkles, if desired.