Wednesday, 30 November -0001
Life » Food


From Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth

At last, an invitation to leave the cupcake behind. Lily Vanilli, who has baked for Elton John among others, runs her own bakery in Columbia Road Market, east London. Here's her Zebra Cake recipe.

Serves 8


  • 260g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 420g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 430g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 240ml whole milk
  • 30g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 batch of chocolate or vanilla buttercream

Three 15cm round cake tins, greased and lined


Preheat the oven to 180C fan/gas mark 6. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – around 4 minutes. Add the eggs and beat slowly at first, then on medium, until incorporated, scraping the bowl after each stage. Remove half the batter and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together half the flour, baking powder and salt. Add half these dry ingredients to the batter (one quarter of the total) and beat on medium until incorporated. Add the vanilla and half the milk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. This is your vanilla batter. Set aside.

Clean and dry your mixing bowl and put in the second half of the batter.

In your second bowl, whisk the remaining flour, baking powder and salt with the cocoa. Repeat the process, adding half the dry ingredients to the batter, then the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients, making sure you scrape down the bowl with each addition, taking care not to overbeat. This is your chocolate batter.

To make the zebra stripes, spoon about 3 tbsp of the vanilla batter into the centre of each of the cake tins. Add 3 tbsp of the chocolate batter into the centre of that. The vanilla batter will spread out. Continue alternating the batters, adding to the centre each time. Don’t be tempted to level the top or merge the layers in any way.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a cocktail stick inserted in the centre comes out clean (or with a few crumbs, and no liquid). Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely. Spread buttercream on both layers, sandwich together, and spread more buttercream around the sides.

SWEET TOOTH by Lily Vanilli (Canongate, £20)

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