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Tiger King Themed Tiger Cake

Simple and delicious swirled chocolate and vanilla cake batter in festive tiger pattern surrounded with easy, fluffy vanilla buttercream
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword tiger cake, tiger king, tiger king theme, vanilla and chocolate cake
Prep Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 713kcal
Author Lauren


Tiger Cake Batter

  • 2 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • orange gel food dye or red and yellow food coloring

Chocolate Batter

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

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 1 ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 5 cup confectioners sugar
  • cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • teaspoon salt


Tiger Cake Batter

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Divide the batter in two batches to make your two different colors of batter (see notes.)
  • For the orange batter.  add ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon orange gel food dye or use red and yellow liquid food coloring until you achieve your desired shade of orange.
  • For the chocolate batter. Add the remaining cocoa powder, sugar, and milk over medium speed until incorporated.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Optional. Reserve 1 ½ cups of the buttercream and mix in orange gel food dye for decorating.
  • 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.


Calories: 713kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 134mg | Sodium: 283mg | Potassium: 123mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 76g | Vitamin A: 1138IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 2mg