Learn how to make a soft and tender Marble Cake from scratch. This easy recipe uses one cake batter to create beautiful swirls of vanilla and chocolate. The result is a stunning, buttery Marble Pound Cake, perfect for morning or afternoon tea.
Meet my Marble Cake. She’s big, buttery and oh-so-beautiful 💜
This gorgeous loaf cake boasts swirls of both chocolate and vanilla. Made using just one cake batter, it’s surprisingly simple to put together. I’ll show you how to create those mouthwatering swirls and achieve a moist and tender crumb.
Why you will love this cake
- It’s made using everyday ingredients
- You only need to make one cake batter
- It boasts a truly tender and buttery crumb
- You’ll create a beautiful, unique swirl every time!
So, What is marble cake?
My Marble Cake is essentially a pound cake, with a dense, tight crumb. But it’s wonderfully moist and buttery. It’s full of vanilla flavour with a hint of chocolate. It’s lovely cut into thick slices and enjoyed on its own. But hey, we won’t judge if you want to add a little Chocolate Frosting 😉
This Marble Cake has been a long time coming. I’ve been experimenting with Marble Cakes for a while now, but the results (while still delicious) often lacked that defined marble swirl. The two cake batters would often merge and I couldn’t quite achieve that showstopper finish. Then, one day I realised, it wasn’t my technique that was the problem, it was the type of cake I was using.
Instead of using soft and light cakes, like my favourite Yellow Cake, I needed a cake that offered a tight, more defined crumb. Thankfully, my favourite Vanilla Pound Cake was the perfect place to start. After just two attempts, I finally had the Marble Cake I’d always dreamed of!
how to make Marble Cake
- Begin by creaming together your butter, sugar and vanilla using an electric mixer. If you watch closely, you’ll see that in just a minute or two, not only will the two ingredients combine but they will change in colour and texture. Your butter mixture will become pale and creamy – almost a little fluffy.
- Next, add your eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix on low speed. It’s important for your eggs to be at room temperature. Sometimes your mixture will curdle or go a little lumpy at this stage, that’s ok.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt and start mixing. Pour in the milk. At this stage your cake batter should be smooth and creamy. Don’t over mix or your cake will be dry.
- Then, take 1 cup of vanilla cake batter and place it in a separate mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of milk. Stir by hand, just until combined and you have a creamy chocolate cake batter. Now you can make those dreamy layers!
How to make the swirls
Use a dessert spoon to gently dollop spoonfuls of cake batter, alternating between vanilla and chocolate, into your prepared pan. Use a light hand, to simply place the cake batters next to each other, without swirling them together. There’s no perfect way to do this – that’s what makes each cake unique!
Keep going, layering the cake batters side by side and on top of each other. Once you’ve used up both cake batters, gently smooth the top, using the back of your spoon, to ensure an even bake. There’s no need to be exact here either!
What’s the secret to the perfect crumb?
One of the keys to achieving that moist and tender crumb is creaming your butter and sugar correctly! Yes, the very first step in the recipe is crucial in creating that soft and buttery crumb.
Like many Butter Cakes or Vanilla Cakes, this recipe begins by creaming together the butter and sugar. This means using an electric mixer to beat the two ingredients together. However, many people will stop when the two ingredients are simply combined.
But creaming the butter and sugar means continuing to beat until the butter turns pale, light and fluffy – almost cream-like. This is what will give you a soft and tender cake. If your butter is lovely and soft to begin with, it won’t take long, just a few minutes on medium speed.
Note: Don’t try to rush this step by turning your mixer higher than medium speed. Mixing your butter and sugar too vigorously (known as over creaming) can result in dense, gluey streaks in your cake. No thank you!
Top tips for perfect marble Cake every time
- Start with softened butter. Take your time when beating together the butter and sugar – and don’t go higher than medium speed.
- Measure your flour using a baking scale. It’s easy to over measure when using cups and too much flour will result in a dry cake.
- Don’t over mix your batter. Once you’ve added the dry ingredients, mix only to combine and then stop. When making the chocolate batter, gently fold the batter by hand just until combined.
- Watch your bake time. This cake takes a while to cook, but you’ll know it’s ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If your cake is very brown on top towards the end of cooking, loosely cover the top with aluminium foil and continue to bake.
FreQuently asked questions
You could also use this recipe to make a large round cake, using a 9 inch cake pan or a Bundt pan. Just note that baking a larger, flatter cake might result in fewer swirls.
I recommend using unsweetened natural cocoa. Dutch processed cocoa will also work.
See above paragraph on creating the perfect crumb. It’s very important to correctly cream your butter and sugar. Make sure your butter is soft to start with and it’ll only take 2-3 minutes. Also make sure you measure your ingredients, particularly your flour, using a baking scale for accuracy. Don’t over mix your final cake batter and don’t overbake it either!
You can keep your leftover cake tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container at room temperature. It will also freeze really well.
more loaf cakes to love
An easy, buttery Marble Cake made using just one cake batter.
- 230 grams (1 cup or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 200 grams (1 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 280 grams (2 cups) plain flour or all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) full fat or whole milk, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tablespoon full fat or whole milk, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 170 C (340 F) standard / 150 C (300 F) fan-forced. Grease and line a 9 by 5 inch baking pan with baking or parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, add butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined and then turn speed up to medium and beat for a further 1-2 minutes or until butter turns pale, creamy and almost fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, and beat briefly to combine – don’t worry if the mixture goes a little bit lumpy at this stage – then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt. Start to mix together on a low speed. Add milk. Continue to mix on low speed until the cake batter is smooth and creamy (but try not to over mix).
- Transfer 1 cup of cake batter to a mixing bowl. Add cocoa powder and milk and gently stir by hand until combined.
- Use a dessert spoon to gently dollop batter into your prepared tin, alternating between vanilla batter and chocolate batter. There’s no need to exact. Keep layering until you’ve used all the cake batter, then gently smooth the top.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. If your cake is very brown after 50 minutes, loosely cover the top with aluminium foil.
- Transfer cake to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into thick slices to serve.
Butter: It’s important to use softened butter for this recipe. Do not use cold butter. You want the butter to be soft so it will easily combine with the sugar. This step is crucial in creating a light and tender cake (rather than being dense and dry).
Cocoa powder: I recommend using unsweetened natural cocoa. Dutch processed cocoa will also work.