Easy Marble Cake Recipe

You’ve been asking me for my easy marble cake recipe for a while, and I’m finally getting around to it!

While I love to come up with my own ideas for cakes, I also love hearing your suggestions. At the end of the day, I want to make what you want to make!! 

My marble cake layer, ready to be frosted!!

Marble Cake vs. Marbled Cake

On a separate note, I always thought these were called marbled cake layers. I initially titled this post marbled layer cake recipe.

Of course AFTER I created my thumb nails and added text to my videos, google informed me that most people actually call them MARBLE cake layers. Womp womp! Are you team marbled or marble?

swirling my marble cake layer with a chocolate fudge ripple

One Batter, Two Flavors!!

There was a reason I put off sharing this marble cake recipe for so long. I was embarrassed to say  that in the past, I used to just make a half batch of both my vanilla cake batter and my chocolate cake batter

It was SO much extra work!! This meant making two sets of batter, which also meant twice the time commitment, twice the dishes, twice the headache!!

My vanilla and chocolate layer cake recipes are super similar. In fact the main difference is that in my chocolate cake recipe, I swap out some of the flour for baking cocoa.

With that in mind, I’ve adjusted this recipe so that you only have to make one base batch of batter.

After making the vanilla cake batter, you can set aside half of it to make the chocolate batter.

All you have to do mix in a few additional ingredients. Now you can forget about the extra dishes, and enjoy the cake once it’s made!

Marble cake layers ready to go into the oven!

The Added Bonus: A Fudge Swirl

If you want to up the ante, I also included a chocolaty fudge swirl! This is totally optional, but is such a pleasant surprise when you bite into this cake.

It also bakes up beautifully, almost like it dissolves into the cake layers as they bake. The fudge ripple adds a rich and chocolatey flavor into each bite.

I’m also big on aesthetics. The melted chocolate swirled into the batter looks GORGEOUS! Not only is it worth adding for the taste, it also creates a visually stunning look.

How To Make Marble Cake Layers

Once both cake batters (and the optional chocolate fudge ripple) are made, the real fun starts.

Alternate spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate cake batter into your pans. Continue until you’ve evenly distributed the batter between the pans.

adding vanilla and chocolate batter into the pan to create my marble cake layers

TIP: It’s much easier to make sure your pans have the same amounts of cake batter if you add the spoonfuls of batter in rounds. Add a spoonful of vanilla to each pan, then a spoonful of chocolate to each pan, and repeat until you’ve used all your batter.

Once you’ve used all your batter, use a spoon to add small drops of the chocolate fudge mixture on top of the cake batter.

Be sure the chocolate drops are relatively spread out. This will prevent them from completely covering the cake batter when swirled.

You want to be able to see each different component in these cake layers once they’re baked!!

adding chocolate fudge drops into my marble cake recipe

Then drag a small offset spatula or butter knife through the batter to create lines that are both horizontal and vertical.

Make sure your offset spatula is lightly touching the bottom of the pan. This helps make sure you’re swirling the batter throughout the layer, and not just on the top.

Swirling together the vanilla and chocolate cake batter to create my marble cake layers

Try to create the lines using one continuous motion, going up and down, and then side to side.

Repeat with remaining cake layers. Then pop the layers into the preheated oven for 34-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cake Assembly and Decoration

This marble cake recipe is honestly so delicious, it almost doesn’t need frosting. ALMOST.

While I am guilty of eating cake tops plain while I level my cakes, this cake is taken to the next level with my fudgy chocolate buttercream recipe.

My chocolate buttercream recipe uses both cocoa and melted dark chocolate, and boy is it tasty.

adding ripple frosting to my marble cake

If you so chose, the last step is to cover these layers with your favorite buttercream frosting on them, and enjoy!

While I chose to chocolate buttercream with my marble cake this time, I think cream cheese frosting would also taste great!

I used three different types of buttercream to create a fun squiggly pattern.

It was the only design that seemed to fit a marble cake in my mind. This is definitely a buttercream intensive design, but it is so fun to make.

A massive slice of my delicious marble cake recipe

Tips for Making The Best Marble Cake:

  • Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake, to make it easier to stack and frost.
  • You can make your own buttermilk if you don’t any! Simply add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of whole milk
  • Mix your cake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated; this will ensure your cake layers are tender and fluffy
  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients
  • Use a serrated knife to level your cake layers once they’re fully cooled, to make it easier to assemble and frost your cake
  • To make a 6-inch cake halve this recipe and bake 3 layers.

Making This Cake In Advance & Storage Tips:

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them: It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this easy marble cake recipe, I’d love to hear what think of it! Please leave a rating, and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment 🙂

Also please tag me @chelsweets and use the #chelsweets, so I can see your beautiful creations on social media!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 30 servings

Easy Marble Cake Recipe

Easy Marble Cake Recipe

This marble cake recipe uses one batter to make both the vanilla and chocolate batter, which are swirled with a fudge ripple! It is simply delicious!!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 34 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 34 minutes

Ingredients

Vanilla Cake Recipe*

Additional Ingredients: (to be added after the vanilla cake batter is made, to change it into chocolate batter)

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (33 grams)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (60 grams, or 2 egg whites)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (45 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (2 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (1 gram)

Chocolate Fudge Swirl:

Buttercream Frosting

Instructions

Marble Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 7 inch pans or three 8-inch round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick baking spray.
  2. Begin by making the vanilla cake batter. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
  3. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  4. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  5. Pour half of the batter into a separate bowl (roughly 950 grams), and set aside.
  6. Next, convert the vanilla batter into chocolate cake batter. Mix the additional 1/3 cup baking cocoa, 1/4 sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp baking powder into the remaining batter.
  7. Add the additional 1/4 cup egg whites, and 1/4 cup buttermilk, and mix on a low speed until smooth.
  8. If desired, make the chocolate fudge swirl. Combine the chocolate chips, butter, and heavy cream into a heatproof bowl. Heat in two 30-second intervals, stirring in between. Allow the mixture to sit for 1 minute, then stir until smooth and set aside to cool.
  9. Alternate spoonfuls of chocolate and vanilla cake batter into the prepared cake pans, filling them roughly one inch high with batter (I like to use a digital kitchen scale to make sure each pan has the same amount of batter).
  10. Add small drops (about one inch in diameter) of the chocolate swirl on top of the cake batter, then drag a small offset spatula or butter knife through the batter in horizontal and vertical lines to create a marbled pattern.
  11. Bake for 34-35 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
  12. If desired, level the cakes with a serrated knife once they're fully cooled.

Buttercream Frosting:

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth.
  2. Mix in the vanilla extract and salt on a low speed.
  3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
  4. Mix on low for a couple minutes until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 
  5. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tbsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  6. Place half of the buttercream into a seperate bowl. Mix in 1/2 cup of baking cocoa, and the melted chocolate chips. This will be used to fill the cake, and will be the darkest buttercream of the squiggles. Place in a large piping bag.
  7. With the remaining vanilla buttercream, place half of the into another large piping bag.
  8. Color the rest of the frosting with the other 1/2 cup of baking cocoa, to create a light brown colored frosting. Place in a large piping bag.

To Assemble The Cake

  1. Once all the different components of this cake are ready, begin to assemble the cake!
  2. Stack the cake layers on a greaseproof cardboard cake round.
  3. Spread a thin dab of buttercream on the center of the board, to help your cake layer stay in place.
  4. Next, center the first cake layer the cake board.
  5. Spread an even layer of the dark chocolate buttercream onto the cake layer with a large offset spatula. Repeat with remaining cake layers.
  6. Place the top cake layer upside down.
  7. Cover the cake in a thin layer of frosting, and smooth using a bench scraper.
  8. Chill the cake in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  9. Pipe squiggly lines of buttercream around the cake, alternating between the vanilla, chocolate, and dark chocolate buttercream.

Notes

Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them: It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.

Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

30

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 650Total Fat 34gSaturated Fat 20gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 78mgSodium 288mgCarbohydrates 85gFiber 2gSugar 69gProtein 5g

125 thoughts on “Easy Marble Cake Recipe

  1. Hi Chelsey! I plan on making this as a wedding cake and had a couple of questions:
    1. How long do I bake 6″ and 12″ cakes for?
    2. If I want the chocolate buttercream on the inside and vanilla buttercream to frost the outside, should I use half of the recipe for each?
    Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Hi Lubna,

      I usually use about a cup of frosting between each of my cake layers, so I’d make about 3 cups of the frosting chocolate and leave the rest vanilla.

      The time different sized cake layers bake for can vary a lot based on how full the pans are filled, and if you use flower nails with the larger pans. I bake my 6 inch cake layers for about 32 minutes, and 12 inch cake layers with flower nails / heating cores for about 50 minutes.

      Hope that helps, happy baking!

  2. Hello dear
    Can I use while eggs instead of just egg whites?? If yes what is the measurements fir the whole eggs to be added in the marble cake recipe??

    1. Hi Arifa,

      You can! You can use 4 whole eggs in place of the egg whites this recipe calls for. Hope that helps, happy baking!

    1. Hi Erica,

      You can add four whole eggs to the main batter and then not add any extra to the chocolate portion. Happy baking!

    1. Hi Lisa,

      I like to use almond milk in place of the buttermilk! It will change the taste and texture a little bit, but it should work in its place 🙂 Hope that helps, happy baking!

  3. Hi! I tried out this lovely cake today and it was just beautiful! Tasted amazing, so soft and moist, yet packed with flavour. My picky toddler ate about 4 slices in one sitting! Definitely will make again. Thank you for the recipe!

Let me know what you think!