One of my favorite types of cake, this marble cake has a moist vanilla bottom with a rich and dense chocolate marbling! The perfect compromise for chocolate lovers and vanilla lovers.
Marble cake is a family favorite cake! It's not too sweet, easy to make, and it's a nice compromise for the chocolate lovers and the vanilla lovers out there. This recipe turns out amazing every time!
What is marble cake?
Marble cake is made up of vanilla cake batter and chocolate cake batter swirled together to create a marbling effect. The two batters are made with the same base batter, but some of it is set aside and flavored with cocoa powder to make a chocolate layer.
Generally, most recipes use about 70% vanilla cake to 30% chocolate. The best part about making your own marble cake is you can customize how much of each flavor you put depending on your preference! You'd just need to scale the cocoa powder accordingly.
How to marble a cake:
There are 2 methods that I like to use for marbling a cake.
The first method is to pour your vanilla batter into your baking dish, then pour streaks of the chocolate on top of the vanilla (see video for an example on this method).
Using a knife or a skewer, swirl the batter by running the utensil up and down the baking dish lengthwise, and then again up and down width wise.
What's good about this method is that it's quite an easy and quick way to marble a cake. After the cake is baked and you slice into it, you'll have a bit more of a distinct vanilla layer and chocolate layer with a light marbling, like the picture above.
If you prefer a more heavily marbled cake, then method two is the one for you!
Method two involves a bit more work. To get a full marble throughout the cake, start by dividing the vanilla batter and the chocolate batter into 2 separate bowls.
Then using 2 spoons or 2 large ice cream scoops, alternate dropping blobs of vanilla batter into the bottom of your baking dish and chocolate to create a checker effect.
Repeat the dropping process until all the batter is used up (you may need to stack some batter). Swirl with a knife or skewer, and there you have it!
Marble cake in different pans:
This marble cake recipe can be used to make different shapes and sizes of marble cake as well. I chose to make mine in a 9x13 inch baking dish but there are a lot of other variations you can make!
• Marble bundt cake: This batter is enough to make a large 9 inch bundt cake. Bake time will take around 45 to 50 minutes.
• Marble muffins/cupcakes: This batter can be baked into about 12 jumbo muffins, 18 medium muffins, or 24 mini muffins. The jumbo muffins take about 25 minutes in the oven, medium muffins take 20 minutes, and mini muffins will take 10 to 15 minutes to bake.
• Marble loaf cake: This recipe can be made in a loaf pan to produce 2 (8x4 inch) loafs of marble cake. Bake time will be around 40 to 45 minutes.
• Tiered marble cake: This recipe makes 2 or 3 (9x9 or 8x8 inch) layers of cake, depending on how thick you'd like the layers to be. If making into 2 layers, bake time will be around 20 to 25 minutes. If making 3 layers, bake time will be 15 to 20 minutes.
Marble cake add-ins:
Some things you can add in to marble cake include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, raisins, chocolate chips or chunks, and so on!
For added flavor, lightly toasting nuts for 10 minutes in a 350°F oven before adding it to the batter will bring out some natural sweetness and add a toasty flavor to the cake.
If you liked this marble cake, check out some of these similar recipes!
Marble Cake Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup + ¼ cup milk, divided
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with butter and/or line with parchment paper. Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350°F.
- Over a large bowl, sift together your flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Whip for about 2 minutes, or until you're left with a fluffy and pale mixture. Add eggs to the butter-sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and stir to combine.
- Alternate adding in dry ingredients and 1 cup milk, beating well after each addition until everything is just incorporated. Make sure to start and finish off with an addition of dry ingredients to avoid over mixing the flour. I like to do 3 additions of flour and 2 additions of milk.
- Reserve approximately 1 cup of batter for the chocolate marble. Pour the rest of the vanilla cake batter into your prepared baking dish, and set aside.
- Sift your cocoa powder into a small bowl, and add the remaining ¼ cup of milk. Whisk the two ingredients together until you get a smooth paste. Add this paste to the reserved cup of vanilla cake batter. Whisk until everything is incorporated.
- Pour or spoon the chocolate batter across the vanilla cake batter in the pan. Using a knife or a skewer, swirl the batter into a marble effect by running a thin knife or skewer up and down the batter lengthwise, then again width wise.
- Bake in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean (no batter or crumbs). Cool completely to room temperature in the pan. Top with frosting, or slice and serve plain!
I would love to hear any tips you’d like to add to this post and how your marble cake turned out in the comments below!
Have any questions? Any ideas to improve this recipe? Feel free to comment for that as well.
Is there a recipe you want to see us make? Comment below and let us know!