Even better than from the bakery! This moist, buttery marble cake is made completely from scratch with ingredients you probably already have on hand.
I’m on a marble kick!
Last week I posted these incredible marbled cheesecake brownies, and now here I am sharing this gorgeous marble cake with you today.
What can I say? When you can’t decide between 2 amazing desserts, marbling is the perfect solution!
I already have an amazing marble bundt cake recipe on this site, but I thought it was about time I made you a layer cake version. I haven’t shared a layer cake since that Boston Cream Pie back in June!
WHAT IS MARBLE CAKE?
When you’re not sure whether you should make chocolate cake or vanilla cake, marble cake is the answer. It’s the best of both cake worlds! Chocolate and vanilla swirled together. A total win for everyone!
This recipe starts with my favorite vanilla cake. You’ll love it because it’s so incredibly soft and moist, and easy as can be to make in just one bowl.
Divide the batter into two separate bowls and and stir half of it together with a mixture of cocoa powder and water.
Then just fill your cake pans with alternating spoonfuls of each, and swirl together!
HOW TO MAKE MARBLE CAKE STEP BY STEP
Start by combining the dry ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Cake flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt all get stirred together until combined.
If you are unfamiliar with cake flour, you can learn more about it by clicking here: Why Use Cake Flour.
Once your dry ingredients are combined, you can add the butter. Just mix it in for a minute or so, until the mixture resembles damp sand.
Then add the eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula after each addition. This will really insure your cake batter comes out smooth and lump free.
The final additions are sour cream, milk, and vanilla.
If you don’t have (or don’t want to use) sour cream, there are substitutions noted in the recipe card below.
In a smaller bowl, stir the cocoa powder and water together until smooth, then add half the vanilla cake batter. Stir it together, start dropping it by spoonfuls into the cake pans, and swirl!
HOW TO BAKE MARBLE CAKE
I chose to bake this recipe up in 3 6-inch diameter round pans, but it can also be made in 2 8-inch pans or 9-inch pans. Or you could make it in a 9×13-inch pan. Just be sure to adjust the bake times as needed, if you’re making it differently than what you see here!
You’ll know your cake is done baking when it feels springy and a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
If your cake comes out with a domed top, just use a serrated bread knife to trim it down once it’s cooled.
WHAT FROSTING GOES WITH MARBLE CAKE
For the pics and video you see here, I used my favorite easy chocolate frosting. I love it because it’s so simple to make.
But this cake would also taste great with any of the following:
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Easy Vanilla Frosting
- Whipped Cream Frosting
HOW LONG DOES MARBLE CAKE LAST?
I recommend baking the cake layers the day before they’re filled and frosted. Allow them to cool completely, then wrap them tightly with plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge. This way, they’re easier to frost without getting crumbs in the buttercream. I also find that the cake somehow becomes more moist after it’s been refrigerated.
Once the cake is filled and frosted, it will keep at room temperature for a day or so.
In the refrigerator, it should stay good for several days to a week.
The cake layers can also be frozen. They’ll keep for several weeks to a month in the freezer. You can frost them frozen, or allow them to thaw in the fridge first.
Next time you have a big occasion to celebrate, make this marble cake recipe! It’s incredibly moist, so simple to make, and sure to please everyone at the table!
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- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup sour cream*
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup hot water
- Place the cake flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the softened butter, and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles damp sand (about 1 minute).
- Add the eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula after each addition.
- Stir in the sour cream until smooth.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, and stir in the milk and vanilla.
- Beat the batter on medium speed for about a minute to a minute and a half, to aerate the cake batter and build the cake's structure.
- Stir the cocoa and hot water together in a smaller bowl, then fold about half the cake batter into the cocoa mixture until blended.
- Divide the batters equally between the 3 prepared pans, using the tip of a sharp knife to swirl the chocolate and vanilla cake batters together.
- Bake the cake layers for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of a cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely before filling and frosting with Easy Chocolate Frosting.
*Greek yogurt or buttermilk can be substituted. If you don't have buttermilk, you can substitute by stirring 2 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice into 2/3 cup of regular milk. Allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes, or until thickened and slightly curdled.
**This cake can also be baked in two 8-inch or 9-inch diameter cake pans. The cake layers may bake up slightly thinner, and the bake times may need to be adjusted.
If you just want to make chocolate cake, here is my favorite recipe: Chocolate Cake from Scratch.