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Close up of a slice of marble cake with chocolate frosting on a plate with a pink linen napkin and fork beside it.
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Marble Cake

Moist and fluffy, this Marble Cake is so easy to make and perfect for any occasion! This simple two-layered cake is paired with a homemade chocolate buttercream.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cool Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 slices
Calories 1355kcal

Equipment

  • 9-inch round cake pan

Ingredients

For the Marble Cake:

  • cups cake flour (330g)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature (227g)
  • cups granulated sugar (350g)
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • cup whole buttermilk room temperature and divided (300mL)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate chopped (113g)

For the Chocolate Buttercream:

  • cups unsalted butter room temperature (340g)
  • ¼ tsp fine salt
  • cup unsweetened or Dutch processed cocoa powder (33g)
  • lbs confectioners’ sugar about 5¾ cups (675g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp heavy whipping cream (75mL)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour 2 (9-inch) cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Wrap the pans with cake strips.

For the Marble Cake:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined before adding the next.
  • In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together 1 cup buttermilk and vanilla.
  • With the mixer on low, add one-third of the flour mixture. Alternate with half of the buttermilk mixture, and continue alternating with the remaining flour and milk mixture.
  • Reserve 1½ cups (330g) of batter in a large bowl. Divide the remaining batter among the two cake pans.
  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth. Or melt in a double boiler. Add to the reserved cake batter along with the remaining ¼ cup buttermilk, and stir until fully combined.
  • Dollop the chocolate batter over the plain batter in the pans. Using the tip of a knife, swirl both batters together.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Chocolate Buttercream:

  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until nice and creamy.
  • Sift in the ¼ cup of cocoa powder. Add the salt and mix on low just until combined. Scrape the bowl down.
  • With the mixer on low, beat in the confectioner’s sugar a few tablespoons at a time.
  • Then, beat in the cream and vanilla. Turn speed up to medium and beat until the frosting is well combined and fluffy about 1 minute.

For the Assembly:

  • Trim the tops of the cakes to create level layers if needed.
  • Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Spread about ½ cup frosting over the top. Place the other cake layer on top. Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides of the cake. Make swoops with a spoon or offset spatula, or decorate as desired. Chill for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Video

Notes

  • I use cake strips to help the cake layers come out evenly. Cake strips work by keeping the edge of the pan cooler to ensure that the entire cake rises at the same rate. This helps prevent a dome from forming in the middle of the pan. You can purchase cake strips or check out my post on How to Get Perfect Flat Cake Layers to learn how to make your own.
  • I love using high-quality Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Dutch-processed cocoa powder is darker and less acidic compared to regular cocoa powder. My go-to brands are Hershey’s or Ghirardelli.
  • When measuring the cake flour, I recommend using a scale. However, if you don’t have one, make sure to fluff the flour first and then spoon it into your measuring cup. Level off the cup with the back of a knife to ensure you don’t overpack the flour. 
  • The eggs should be at room temperature to ensure they incorporate into your batter evenly. It’s also why we add them one at a time to the batter. If you forgot to bring out your eggs, you can quickly bring them to room temperature by placing the eggs in a large bowl and covering them with warm tap water for 5 minutes.
  • Avoid over swirling the cake batter. If you over-swirl the batter, you lose the marble effect as the chocolate and vanilla batter will start combining. 
  • Be sure to allow the cake to fully cool before you start frosting the cake, so the buttercream doesn’t melt.
  • Want to use a different frosting? Try my Cream Cheese Frosting, Mocha Frosting, or Swiss Meringue Buttercream instead.
  • Lightly tap the cake pans on the counter before baking to remove any air bubbles.

Nutrition

Calories: 1355kcal | Carbohydrates: 171g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 72g | Saturated Fat: 44g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 263mg | Sodium: 417mg | Potassium: 314mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 133g | Vitamin A: 2114IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 3mg