A zebra print cake adds a touch of fun to a party, whether for an animal lover's birthday party or a fashionista who likes to dress on the wild side. Zebras have a pattern of alternating black and white stripes with varying thicknesses, which is fairly simply to duplicate on a cake with regular frosting. A basic star fill-in technique works well for making the stripes because you can easily guide the star placement instead of worrying about smearing the cake with a spatula.
Use an icing spatula to apply a smooth spread of white buttercream frosting to a cooled cake. If you want the frosting as smooth as fondant, allow 20 minutes for the frosting to harden, place a non-textured paper towel over the cake and rub your hand over it to smooth the frosting.
Draw faint zebra stripes on the white frosting with a toothpick. Press down gently to make slight depressions in the frosting. Wipe the toothpick clean frequently so you don't drag clumps of frosting across the cake. Zebra stripes are often slightly wavy and taper to a point at the end of each stripe. If needed, refer to an image of a zebra to use as a guideline.
Insert a small, round decorating tip in a decorating bag and fill the bag with black frosting. Add black food coloring gel to white frosting to achieve a true black shade. Alternatively, you can mix green coloring gel with chocolate frosting to achieve an acceptable shade of black.
Outline the zebra stripes with the black frosting applied directly over the toothpick marks. Hold the bag as close to the cake without touching it. Squeeze the bag with medium pressure and slowly guide the tip along the cake to draw the stripes. Stop squeezing and pull the tip straight away when you reach the end of a line.
Switch to a small, star decorating tip with the black frosting. If you use a coupler, you can easily switch out the decorating tips without needing a second back of black frosting.
Drop small stars to fill in the stripes within the black border. Hold the bag at a 90-degree angle with the tip just barely above the frosting. Squeeze the bag to squeeze out a small frosting star and stop squeezing when the star shape is complete. Lift the bag straight up to break away the frosting stream. Reposition the tip directly beside the previous drop star to continue filling in the outline.
Drop black stars on the cake to fill in any small gaps where you can see the white frosting between the black stars. You can make the stars directly on top of the existing stars and press down slightly so all the stars are the same height.
Fill in the white spaces with stars, using a small star tip and white frosting, if desired. Space the stars close together, starting along the sides of the black outline and filling in the space in between. Skip this step and leave the smooth white frosting showing through if you prefer the black to stand out from the white stripes.
Items you will need
- Icing spatula
- Decorating bags
- Round decorating tip
- Star decorating tip
- Practice the star fill-in technique on a plate or piece of wax paper before filling in the black stripes. You can use the round decorating tip to draw a sample stripe on the practice surface and fill in the stripe just as you would on the cake.
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