Easy Marble Cake Recipe

When it comes to choosing a cake flavor, typically you have to pick just one. It's pretty challenging to swirl together flavors such as banana, coconut, and strawberry and be able to differentiate them all when you take a bite. But for those of us who are indecisive dessert lovers who simply can't choose between chocolate and vanilla, there is one cake that's our saving grace: marble cake. 

A marble cake looks impressive — and perhaps a bit intimidating — but we're here to show you otherwise. This light, fluffy cake is beautifully moist and boasts notes of both chocolate and vanilla in one bite, and it is totally achievable at home. 

But the best part? You won't even need to whip up two different cake batters. With a handful of simple ingredients and a bit of finesse, you'll have a beautiful marble cake ready to serve for dessert in under an hour. 

Gather the ingredients for this marble cake recipe

To get started on making your own marble cake, you'll need to first gather all of the ingredients. 

For this marble cake recipe, you'll need white sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, three eggs, melted butter or oil, two cups plus two tablespoons of milk (divided), two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract (divided), and cocoa powder.

For finishing the frosting for this marble cake, you'll also need half of a cup of softened butter along with five to six cups of powdered sugar.

And since it's a layer cake, you'll need two 8-inch round cake pans. 

Mix the dry ingredients

The first step to making this marble cake is cranking up the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F to allow it to come up to the proper temperature in time for when you'll need it.

In a large mixing bowl, add in all of the dry ingredients except the cocoa powder: the white sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a hand mixer to mix well until combined. Make sure that the mixture is free of any large clumps.

Finish the vanilla and chocolate batters

Once the dry ingredients are well mixed, it's time to add in the wet ingredients to finish the cake batter. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Then, mix in the melted butter. As the batter is beginning to form, mix in two cups of the milk and one teaspoon of the vanilla extract.

Once the batter has formed, you'll have a delicious vanilla cake batter. Remove half of that batter into another bowl and set it aside. Then, mix the cocoa powder into the remaining half of the batter still in the bowl. This will easily create the chocolate and vanilla cake batters without having to tackle two different recipes.

Swirl and bake the marble cake batter

With the batters ready, prepare the two cake pans by greasing them with cooking spray. 

To layer the batter and create the marble effect, use a measuring cup to add a scoop of vanilla batter to each pan. Then add in a scoop of chocolate batter to each. Repeat this step continuously as you layer the two different batters in each pan. Once you've used up all the batter (each pan should be just above halfway full), use a knife or a spoon to gently swirl the batters together.

Bake the cakes for 25 minutes until the centers are fully set and the tops are lightly golden. Then remove them from the oven and set them aside to completely cool before frosting and assembling.

Make the frosting for your marble cake

While the cakes are cooling, it's the ideal opportunity to make the vanilla frosting. Start by adding the softened butter to a mixing bowl. Cream the butter with a hand mixer until fluffy, and then add in two cups of the powdered sugar. With the mixer running, add in two tablespoons of milk and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Continue to gradually mix in the remaining powdered sugar until the frosting forms. Once formed, turn the speed up on the mixer to whip the frosting until fluffy.

Assemble and frost your marble cake

Once the cakes have cooled, it's time to assemble the finished cake. Use a cake stand or plate for assembly. A cardboard cake round will work as well. 

Place one cake layer down on the chosen surface and use a sharp knife to cut across the top of the layer to level it. Reserve the excess cake piece (you're going to use it in a minute!), and then repeat this step with the other layer.

With one cake layer on the chosen surface base, spread frosting on top, and then top it with the second cake layer. Use a spatula (or a piping bag fitted with an icer tip, to frost the top and sides of the cake. Use a flat spatula to smooth out the exterior.

To finish the sides of the cake, put the remaining cake pieces into a food processor and pulse until a fine crumb forms. Use your hands to push the crumbs against the side of the cake and sprinkle the excess around the border on top. Top the cake with sprinkles or fresh fruit, if desired, to finish it off.

Easy Marble Cake Recipe
5 from 23 ratings
With this easy marble cake recipe, you make one batter and get a chocolate and vanilla cake in one. Light and fluffy, it's totally achievable at home.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
25
minutes
Servings
8
slices
slice of marble cake on plate
Total time: 35 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup melted butter or oil
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup butter, softened, for frosting
  • 5 to 6 cups powdered sugar, for frosting
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients except the cocoa powder.
  3. Mix in the eggs one at a time, followed by the melted butter.
  4. Mix in 2 cups of the milk, and then mix in 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract.
  5. Once the batter has formed, remove half into another bowl. Mix the cocoa powder into one of the bowls.
  6. Grease two cake pans with cooking spray.
  7. Use a measuring cup to add a scoop of vanilla batter to each pan, and then add a scoop of chocolate batter to each pan.
  8. Repeat this step, layering the two different batters in each pan.
  9. Once all the batter is used up, use a knife or a spoon to gently swirl the batters together in each pan.
  10. Put the cakes in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until they're lightly golden and the centers are fully set.
  11. Remove the cakes from the oven and set them aside to cool completely.
  12. To make the vanilla frosting, cream the ½ cup softened butter in a mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and mix.
  13. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix.
  14. Gradually mix in the remaining powdered sugar until the frosting forms.
  15. Turn the speed up on the mixer to mix until fluffy.
  16. Once the cakes have cooled, use a cake stand or plate for assembly. Use a sharp knife to cut across the top of each cake layer to level it. Reserve the excess cake piece.
  17. Spread frosting on top of the first layer, and then top with the second cake layer. Use a spatula or a piping bag fitted with an icer tip to frost the rest of the cake.
  18. Put the remaining cake pieces into a food processor and pulse until a fine crumb forms.
  19. Use your hands to push the crumbs against the side of the cake and sprinkle the excess around the border on top.
  20. Top the cake with sprinkles or fresh fruit, if desired.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 928
Total Fat 24.6 g
Saturated Fat 13.6 g
Trans Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 112.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 174.1 g
Dietary Fiber 2.8 g
Total Sugars 144.7 g
Sodium 677.4 mg
Protein 8.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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