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A side view of a homemade marble cake on a cake stand. A slice has been removed and has been plated. Milk jugs rest in the background.
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5 from 1 vote

Marble Cake

This two-layer marble cake is made by swirling together chocolate and vanilla cake batter. The whole thing is then topped with a rich and creamy chocolate frosting! 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword marble cake
Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 10 slices
Author Danielle

Ingredients

Marble Cake

  • 3 cups (345 grams) cake flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk (room temperature)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) hot water
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, or 230 grams) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 ¼ cups (2.5 sticks, or 285 grams) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 4 cups (480 grams) powdered sugar
  • cup (60 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons (60 to 80 ml) whole milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions

To make the marble cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper, and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl or measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract together until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the cocoa powder and water together until well combined and no lumps remain. Set aside to cool.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, then slowly mix in the granulated sugar.
  • Once all of the sugar is added, increase to medium speed and continue mixing for another 4 to 5 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Mix in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to stop and scrape around the bottom and sides of the bowl after each egg.
  • Add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk mixture (begin and end with the dry ingredients) on low speed. Mix in each addition until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter.
  • Use a rubber spatula to scrape around the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is well combined.
  • Remove 2 cups (430 grams) of vanilla cake batter and transfer to a clean mixing bowl. Add the cocoa powder mixture and gently mix until well combined.
  • Pour some of the vanilla cake batter into each pan and spread around into one even layer. Alternate spoonfuls of the chocolate cake batter and remaining vanilla cake batter, making sure to evenly distribute both between the two pans.
  • Use a knife to gently swirl the batter to create a marble effect. Gently shake or tap the pans on the counter to level out the batter.
  • Bake for 28 to 33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Slide a knife around the outside of the cakes, then carefully remove the cakes from the pans, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the chocolate frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.
  • Mix in the powdered sugar on low speed, one cup at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition.
  • Add the cocoa powder, 4 tablespoons of milk, vanilla extract, and salt and mix on low-medium speed until fully combined, making sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. If needed, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk.

To assemble the cake:

  • Level the tops of each cake with a knife or cake leveler. Place one of the cakes on a cake stand, top with a layer of frosting, and smooth it out into one even layer. Place the second layer on top, then use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake.

Video

Notes

Storage Instructions:  Store cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or in the refrigerator for 4 days.
Freezing Instructions: Cake layers may be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Frosting can be stored in a large freezer bag and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting the cake.
To make a 9x13-inch cake: Grease a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray, pour about 2 cups of vanilla batter into the pan, and spread around into one even layer. Alternate spoonfuls of the chocolate cake batter and remaining vanilla cake batter. Use a knife to swirl the batter to create a marble effect (make sure not to swirl too much). Gently shake or tap the pan on the counter to level out the batter. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
To make a three-layer cake: Divide the batter between three 8-inch round cake pans. Adjust the baking time to 23 to 28 minutes.