Russian Zebra Cake Recipe

I wanted to do something other than a boxed cake for Jolie’s party. My mother-in-law had given me a recipe for “Zebra Cake” that she used to make when my husband was a kid, so I decided to try it a week before the party to see if it would be a good birthday cake. It was so tasty. It called for a glaze but as I was eating it I could tell it would go really well with cream cheese frosting, too.

Zebra Cake

4 eggs

1 1/2 c sugar

1 c kefir (or buttermilk)

2 sticks of butter

1 tsp baking soda

2 c flour

1-2 tbsp cocoa


Cream softened butter with sugar. Add eggs, and the rest of the ingredients leaving out cocoa. Pour half of the batter into a separate bowl and add cocoa. (I doubled the recipe for Jolie’s layered birthday cake so I just made two batches- one with cocoa, one without.) Mix in the cocoa until you get the color you want. I decided to have a lighter look, but you could make it deeper and more zebra-like.

Pour into a greased cake pan, alternating white and brown by pouring into the center of the pan.

Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.



We iced it with a simple cream cheese frosting found here.

I just have to tell you, this cake was really good. Many asked what kind of cake it was, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. There were only a few pieces left at the end of the party, which really surprised me, since I made a thousand layers.

I bought a small bag of gum paste and cut out small red and turquoise elephants and pinwheels, and made one big pinwheel as the topper. My husband put them all on the cake and added little polka dots. 😉 Artsy husbands are the best.




Jolie’s First Birthday: The Party

Jolie turns 1 on Friday!

We celebrated her birthday a few weeks early so my parents could be with us. If you missed the decorations post, you can find it here.

I’m pretty sure this was Jolie’s favorite day ever. She is a social butterfly so she was very excited that everyone came to see her! IMG_7411






We played with this parachute. I’m not sure what we were thinking, it was a little chaotic with so many little people and a big parachute, but Jolie loved it.


We had a DIY ball pit that everyone loved! Even some adults (who think they are still kids) got in after the little ones.


I guess Jolie is somewhat like her mama! She climbed into her high chair to take break from the party. She only needed a minute to recharge, haha.
Jolie's First Birthday Party Jolie's First Birthday Party

We opened presents. By we I mean Jolie and I watched while a tornado of kids ripped all of the tissue paper out and showed us what . 😉


Caleb got Jolie these sparkly pink shoes!


Autie Em gave Jolie this amazing Baby Grand Piano from Hape Toys! She let Ellie join her for a duet.


We sang Happy BirthdayIMG_7496 IMG_7500 IMG_7501

We ate cake!IMG_7520 IMG_7514

“Um, Jolie got cake… when do I get some?!”IMG_2317

We made great memories for Jolie’s scrapbook.20130929-154930.jpg

Happy birthday sweet baby girl. We love you so!

Jolie’s First Birthday Party: Decorations

Jolie’s birthday is October 4th, but we celebrated a couple weeks early so that her grandparents could be a part of all the fun before they left for Turkey.

I had so much fun planning and decorating for Jolie’s birthday!

IMG_7650 IMG_7652IMG_7651

20130927-172242.jpgInstagram photos ( 4×6 prints with the edges cut off is cheaper than buying square prints.)


12 Photos for 12 months of Jolie goodness.


The food was almost all pinwheel-inspired. (Pinwheels, kimbap, pb&j sushi, etc.)


The Dessert Table: Mini Apple Pies and Zebra cake with cream cheese frosting. (Recipes coming soon!)



20130926-224424.jpgAnd of course since Jolie’s grandpa is Peyton that meant there were cappuccinos!

IMG_2312Jolie Beans for the adults and older kids20130927-172218.jpgDIY Pinwheels (that actually work) and pinwheel barrettes for the girls/toy cars for the boys. I also made sure to have age appropriate goodies, so Caleb and Ellie didn’t get whistles but they did get Trader Joe’s Sauce Pouches!

Stay tuned for more photos from the actual party and some DIY/Recipe posts! What’s really fun is that I used the same colors for her party as what are in her room so I can still use the decorations!