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Tiger King Themed Tiger Cake

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Hey, all you cool cats and kittens!  Cut yourself a slice and turn on Netflix so you can enjoy this Tiger King themed Tiger Cake.  Easy to make, soft and delicious, vanilla and chocolate cake batter baked together with fluffy layers of vanilla buttercream!  

slice of tiger cake being cut out of the cake

Like most of the rest of America, we got swept up in the Netflix docu-series “Tiger King” these past few weeks.  What better way to celebrate with cake!  Tiger cake, to be exact.  So even if you’re not a fan of the show or giant felines, this ridiculously tasty cake is obsession-worthy.

How to make Tiger Cake Batter

Here’s the beauty of it…we’re getting two flavors out of one cake batter!  And while the stripey cake pattern looks tricky, it is truly very, very simple.  Let’s do it.

slices of tiger cake on plates with forks

labeled ingredients for tiger cake

You’re going to prepare the vanilla cake batter like you are making a golden vanilla cake.  After the base batter is prepared, divide it in two.  You’re going to dye one batter orange and turn the other chocolate for the black tiger stripe.  Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you want more orange tiger stripe, divide the batter unevenly.  When you layer the cake in the pan, use bigger scoops of orange-vanilla batter.
  • For a darker tiger stripe, use special dark cocoa powder or add black gel food coloring.  

Why are there extra ingredients for the chocolate batter?

We’re adding cocoa powder, which is both unsweetened and dry.  So by adding sugar and milk to our batter, we will keep the base batter light, fluffy and moist.

slice of cake on a plate

Layering the cake batter

The finished cake looks like it could be tricky to make, but it’s so so simple.  Once your batter is ready, all you have to do is layer scoops of batter on top of each other in the cake pans.  That’s it.

collage of steps to make tiger king cake

Tips for tiger cake layering:

  • Use a large cookie scoop for even stripes.
  • Gently shake the pan to spread the batter and create the wavy stripe.
  • For thicker stripes use more of one cake batter, for thinner stripes use less.

forkful of tiger cake on a plate

Assembling the Cake

Frosting the cake is even easier than making the batter!  The best part is you can just swipe on this fluffy vanilla buttercream without really caring how it looks because the showstopping part is on the inside!

Of course, if you want to add some flair…or Tiger King humor…save some of the buttercream frosting for decorating.  Save about 1 1/2 cups of the buttercream and add orange gel food coloring (or red and yellow liquid food coloring) and use it to pipe Tiger King phrases from the show or just add festive decorations.  

tiger king decorated cake

Your Tiger King Themed Tiger Cake will be hilarious and delicious, and we could all use some more laughter these days right?!

If you’re a fan of show-related food, check out this dragon cake, GoT martini, and Zootopia cupcakes!

Did you make this recipe?  Please leave a rating and a comment!  Don’t forget to share your bakes on social and tag us @hungerthirstplay!

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slice being cut out of cake

Tiger King Themed Tiger Cake

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x


Simple and delicious swirled chocolate and vanilla cake batter in festive tiger pattern surrounded with easy, fluffy vanilla buttercream



Tiger Cake Batter

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • orange gel food dye or red and yellow food coloring

Chocolate Batter

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder see notes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 5 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Tiger Cake Batter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease and flour 2 8-inch cake pans.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  2. In a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl half way.  Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated.
  3. Working in batches, add the dry ingredients and milk a little at a time on low speed (think – dry, milk, dry, milk, dry) and increase the speed to medium as the ingredients combine.  Mix for 1 minute, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl when needed.
  4. Divide the batter in two batches to make your two different colors of batter (see notes.)
  5. For the orange batter.  add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon orange gel food dye or use red and yellow liquid food coloring until you achieve your desired shade of orange.
  6. For the chocolate batter. Add the remaining cocoa powder, sugar, and milk over medium speed until incorporated.
  7. Layer the batter in the pans. In the center of each pan, add a scoop of orange batter.  Directly on top of the orange batter, add a scoop of chocolate batter.  Repeat the process 2 to 3 times, then give the pan a little wiggleto spread the batter.  Repeat until all the batter is used.  Bake in a 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
  8. After baking, let the cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Run a knife around the sides and turn over onto a wire rack to finish cooling.  Cool completely before frosting.
  9. Prepare the buttercream. In a standing mixer, beat the butter until pale yellow and fluffy.  Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla and salt.  Slowly add in the confectioners sugar 1 cup at a time so it doesn’t splash up the sides.  Repeat the same process with the heavy cream.  Once incorporated, scrape down the sides and beat on medium speed until combined, about 30 to 60 seconds.
  10. Optional. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the buttercream and mix in orange gel food dye for decorating.
  11. Assemble the cake. Spread a generous amount of buttercream on top of the first layer of cake.  Top with the other layer of cake and press down lightly.  Add the remaining buttercream on top of the final layer and spread over the top of the cake and down the sides.  Use the reserved orange buttercream for decorating.


  • If you want more orange or black batter, just divide the batter how you want it (more orange or more black) before adding the final ingredients.
  • Orange gel food dye is preferred, but if you only have the standard liquid food coloring drops that will work just fine!
  • For a darker chocolate batter, use special dark cocoa powder or add a little black gel food coloring.
  • If using 9-inch cake pans, reduce the cook time to 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: american

Keywords: tiger cake, tiger king, tiger king theme, vanilla and chocolate cake

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