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Marvelous Marble Cake

Pound cake and chocolate make the best marble cake. — Ellen Riley, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1-1/4 cups butter, softened, divided
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips, optional
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 6-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips


  • In top of a double boiler or a metal bowl over barely simmering water, melt chocolate and 3 tablespoons butter; stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 375°. Line bottoms of three greased 8-in. round baking pans with parchment; grease parchment.
  • In a large bowl, cream remaining butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition.
  • Remove 2 cups batter to a small bowl; stir in cooled chocolate mixture and, if desired, chocolate chips, until blended. Drop plain and chocolate batters by tablespoonfuls into prepared pans, dividing batters evenly among pans. To make batter level in pans, bang cake pans several times on counter.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove parchment. Cool completely.
  • For frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to reach desired consistency.
  • If cake layers have rounded tops, trim with a serrated knife to make level. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Cool slightly.
  • Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Repeat layers. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake.
  • Drop cooled chocolate by 1/2 teaspoonfuls over frosting. Using a large offset spatula, smear chocolate to create a marble design in frosting.

Marvelous Marble Cake Tips

What is marble cake made of?

Marble cake is made of two differently flavored, color-contrasting cake batters that, prior to baking, are swirled together in the pan to produce a pretty, decorative, "marble" effect. Typically, one of the cake flavors is vanilla, while the other flavor can vary, like in our Cherry-Chocolate Marble Cake, Red Velvet Marble Cake or Strawberry Marble Cake.

How long can you keep marble cake?

Marble cake can be kept at room temperature for up to 4-5 days when stored in a cake container or cake dome. Gently press a piece of plastic wrap up against slices, exposed cake to keep it from drying out. You can also freeze your cake (frosted or unfrosted) for up to three months.

Why does my marble cake crack?

What a bummer! When cake layers crack, this usually is an indicator that they've been baked at too high a temperature, as they are quickly baking from the outside in. Make sure that you check the accuracy of your oven by using an oven thermometer. Cakes may also crack when they are baked in incorrectly-sized pans. Be sure you are using the correct pan mentioned in the recipe before you begin.

Research contributed by Mark Neufang, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 683 calories, 33g fat (20g saturated fat), 138mg cholesterol, 330mg sodium, 97g carbohydrate (79g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.

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  • Amy
    May 25, 2018

    Pretty cake, and we loved the addition of the mini chips in the chocolate batter. I baked as directed, but it browned and was dry on the top. Next time I will do as others have suggested and decrease oven to 350 degrees. it is a dense cake, but we enjoyed both flavor and texture. We also liked the icing as the recipe directed, and found it to be sufficient to cover the cake and fill the layers. I will make this cake again.

  • Sana
    Jul 24, 2017

    This cake turned out great. The taste was rich and the texture was soft and light. Absolutely loved it :)

  • Jellybug
    Jan 16, 2016

    Love this cake, the presentation is perfect for a marble cake. The taste is 5 plus stars. next time I make it, I want to make it with a cream cheese buttercream, just to see the difference. otherwise the cake is perfect!! I used my homemade vanilla which made it extra yummy...

  • kfarris86
    Apr 7, 2015

    The frosting not good for this cake AT ALL!

  • JenandBry
    Feb 5, 2015

    This cake turned out exactly like the picture. Beautiful presentation, moderately simple to put together. Great flavor and texture.

  • Weedbind
    Jan 13, 2015

    I can't wait to make this mmmmm good cake!!!

  • Saby_23
    Dec 1, 2014

    Great taste, I baked at 350 degrees. Made it for my friend's daughter party who wanted a Marble cake. They loved it...

  • Villarosa
    Jan 6, 2014

    I made this cake for my husband's birthday, and our whole family loved it! It is absolutely delicious and a nice birthday cake for a man, I think. I did adjust to 350 degrees and decided to forgo the melted chocolate top. You could just sprinkle some of the mini chocolate chips on top and it would look and taste great.

  • mdescoteaux
    Oct 21, 2013

    Suggest you swirl in the chocolate batter as you would with a regular marble cake (it just looks better). Also, I needed to make another cup of frosting so I'd increase the amounts quoted for the frosting slightly. I also added a quarter teaspoon of Oil to the melted choc. chips used on top of the cake so the chocolate doesn't harden before you can swirl it in nicely. I also think I'll cook the cake at 350 degrees next time because at 375 degrees the cake really browned before the inside was done. But it is a beautiful cake with a wonderful flavor. Good luck...........M