Marble Cake Recipe


I don’t really know what to call this marble cake. It’s not quite a pound cake and it’s not quite a butter cake. I guess the best way to describe it would be to say it’s my hybrid version of both (Marbuttle?)

When I was in Malaysia, I baked a lot of cakes using my Third Aunt’s Butter Cake recipe (and even that has been modified because I used to put in 8-10 eggs) but when I got to the US, I found that pound cakes were very popular. Even though I liked them, I found that the ones that I tried to bake up were too dry and too sweet for my Asian tastebuds.

After many trials, I’ve come up with this version that is a hybrid of both and every time I bake it, I never have any leftovers! As a matter of fact, someone who recently had some told me it’s the best marble cake she’s ever had, and I have to agree, it’s that good!

It’s All About the Ingredients

I’ve baked this marble cake so many times lately (3 times in a week) that I can tell you that it’s a very easy recipe (also super fattening so thankfully, I baked it for others all those times). It doesn’t take too much effort for such a delicious cake. The trick is to use good butter and also good chocolate. For those who are die-hard chocolate fans, stick to the good stuff. But even with Nestle chocolate chips, I’ve found it’s still good.

The other important ingredient is plain yogurt. That is what makes the whole cake so hard to resist! Somehow, it just complements the buttery flavors and kicks up the vanilla/chocolate tastes.

I find that a marble cake is best when the chocolate part doesn’t overwhelm the vanilla bit so unless you love your chocolate immensely, make sure to take out a bit more than half of the vanilla portion before mixing the chocolate to the rest of the batter.

For the chocolate part of this marble cake, I normally just eyeball the chocolate (so I decided to measure at the last bake and it’s roughly about 100g of chocolate) and put it in a microwave safe bowl and nuke it at 30-second intervals, stirring between intervals, till the chocolate is all melted. Also, do make sure that your bowl is completely dry as any water will cause the chocolate to seize up and never come together in a smooth paste. I have also sometimes added a tablespoon of cocoa powder (Dutch process cocoa powder or natural, doesn’t quite matter) to the chocolate portion along with the melted chocolate. And when I’m feeling naughty, I’ll sometimes add some Grand Marnier to it too!

This recipe does give you a really big cake and I’ve found that when I’m baking it in my fancy bundt pan (Nordic Ware Star bundt pan which has a 10-cup capacity), it will overflow. It works very well to put them into two loaf pans or use a bigger bundt (I have a cheaper, 12-cup one that works really well) so do plan accordingly.

Marble Cake Recipe

3 sticks (12 oz) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (I’ve cheated by sticking it in the microwave and nuking at 10 second intervals when I had forgotten to take my butter out of the freezer)
scant 2 cups sugar (I’ve gotten away with as little as 1 3/4 cups)
6 extra-large (large will work too) eggs, at room temperature (but if you’ve forgotten to take it out of the fridge ahead of time, it’s ok, this recipe is pretty forgiving)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 cups (15 oz) bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plain yogurt (if you can use full fat, do so)
scant 1/2 cup milk (whole is better—I know, this is not a fat-free cake ok?)
100g (3.5oz) semi-sweet chocolate (morsels are fine, but if you can use really good dark chocolate, do so—the chocolate flavor will be more pronounced)
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. Put chocolate in a dry, clean bowl and melt in microwave oven in 30-second intervals, stirring till you get a smooth paste. Remove and let cool a little.

Smooth, Melted Chocolate

Smooth, Melted Chocolate

3. In a stand mixer, or a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar till mixture is fluffy and sugar has been cut in well. I normally use 5-6 speed on my Kitchen Aid for about 3-5 minutes.
4. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat on med-high speed for about 20 seconds after each egg, and scrape down before adding the next one.
5. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

Creamed Cake Batter

Creamed Cake Batter

6. Add dry ingredients (I normally add all the baking soda, baking powder and salt in the first go along with the first larger third portion of flour) in three portions, interspersing with the yogurt and milk and stir gently (use stir setting on Kitchen Aid or stir with a spatula). So basically, this means 1/3 dry ingredients, yogurt, 1/3 dry ingredients, milk, final third dry ingredient. Stir till all traces of flour is gone.
7. Take out half (or a bit more) of the vanilla cake batter and drop it around the bundt pan (I’m being lazy, you can just put it into another bowl and wait till the chocolate is done to put them together into the bundt to get a really nice even mix).

Vanilla Cake Batter in the Bundt

Vanilla Cake Batter in the Bundt

8. Add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder and Grand Marnier (if using) to the remaining batter and stir it in till there are no more streaks of white (or as much as possible, a few streaks will not hurt too much).
9. Interspersing globs of vanilla batter with chocolate batter, drop batter into bundt. In my case, I normally unevenly mound the vanilla in three spots around the bundt, then follow that up by placing the chocolate batter in between the vanilla.
10. Using your spatula, twirl the batter together using a figure-eight motion to mix the batter up to get that nice pretty marble design. Don’t overmix lest you get a light brown cake. The more practice you get doing this, the better your marble cakes begin to look. The flavor won’t be affected even if you don’t get it too right so don’t worry about it too much.

Swirling Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Batter in the Bundt

Swirling Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Batter in the Bundt

11. Smooth out the top of your bundt/loaf pan and put cake in oven to bake. If you’re using loaf pans, start to test the cake after about 40 minutes. If using your bundt, it will need about 1 hour (test after 55 minutes). Cake tester should come out clean when it’s done. I always know when it’s almost ready—the house will smell heavenly!

Finished Marble Bundt Cake

Finished Marble Bundt Cake

A note about using a bundt pan—do invest in a good quality, non-stick one. I really do like the Nordic Ware Pro versions, they are sturdy and work well (a little costly but if you look around, there are deals to be found—I got mine at Costco around Christmas time for under $20) AND they come in all these cool shapes and sizes.

It’s the most awful thing when your bundt pan fails on you and you have cake that doesn’t come out in one piece. Another good trick is to use a non-stick spray to ensure that the cake will come out well. Also, please don’t let the cake sit in the pan for too long (cool it for about 10 minutes and then invert). If you do, it will be much harder to take out.

Enjoy! And please don’t blame me for the hit it’ll take on your hips…I’ve been there myself and have to now restrain myself to baking it for other people and stealing a slice if I happen to be around to share in it (or sometimes, I save a little bit of the batter and bake a cupcake or two to save for myself).

Cheers, Annie

133 thoughts on “Marble Cake Recipe”

  1. Hi Annie, I really want to try out this marvellous cake. However, I’m not too sure which type to chocolate to use. I refer to Ting’s question and your answer as follows:
    “No, I am not referring to cooking chocolate. I find that cooking chocolate does not taste good”
    You mean, you’re using the ordinary chocolate bars like Cadbury?
    Please reply soonest. I want to try it out tomorrow 🙂
    Thanks for sharing such a good recipe, which so many people praise.

    1. Teresa,

      thanks for your question. Yes, you can use Cadbury. Preferably the dark chocolate, but if you have to you can use milk chocolate. Hope this answers your question.

  2. Hi Annie and Nate, I’ve successfully baked your delicious marble cake this afternoon. I used a square pan (8″x 8″) and a loaf pan (both fitted perfectly into the oven). It took 40 mins to bake and tastes absolutely great. I’ll bake it again this weekend. Thanks for your quick and helpful response!

  3. fantastic! I was in charge of the easter cake for my family this year, so i decided to try this out since it sounded so good. Very easy to follow, and as you said, very forgiving recipe. I used sour cream instead of yogurt (we only had vanilla lol) and added the cocoa. Im fifteen and rather new to the whole baking world, so if I can successfully manage it, you deserve praise for an incredible recipe :D. It DOES make quite a lot though – I had enough for the bunny mold we use every year and a small loaf cake. But the loaf gave me and my brother the chance to try it before serving it. We weren’t disappointed 🙂 Thanks so much for the awesome recipe!

  4. Never mind just saw there was 3 pages of comments and it’s already been answered. Can’t wait to try it!

  5. I want to thank you for this great recipe! I was asked to make a marble cake (I’d never made one before) for a friend’s birthday, and usually I rely on cooking websites with a rating system, but my instinct told me that compared to others, your recipe was the one. I followed it exactly and the cake was a huge success! A month later I had to make a stacked wedding cake with fondant for 150+ people. I’m not a professional baker, so I was panicking a little… With time not on my side and a couple of trial cakes that didn’t convince me, I decided to trust this recipe once again, and just had to make a few changes (no chocolate, as requested by the bride and groom, no yogurt so the cake could be made with days in advance, and a little less sugar because of the fondant). The cake was amazing! I know that this is a very long comment, but that’s how grateful I am for your recipe, it saved my life twice!

  6. Best Marble cake ever! Hands down hit every time I’ve made it. And I love how large the recipe is! Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. Hi Annie,

    In my country, i could not find, sour cream nor could i find plain yogurt. But, we do have sour yogurt. Will I be able to use sour yogurt instead of plain yogurt or sour cream?

    Thank you!

    1. Payal,

      thanks for your question. If you can find unsweetened yogurt, I think that would work better. But sour yogurt should be all right.

  8. Hi Annie,

    Can I use 1/2 cup milk instead of yogurt? I would like to use total of one cup milk, instead of 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/2 milk.


  9. Hi annie, can i make this cake like sponge cake. I separate the egg yolks and egg whites. I use the egg yolks and beat it with butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Mix the baking powder, (omit baking soda), flour, milk (omit yogurt or sour cream). set aside 1/4th cup of the flour mixture add coco to it. Then fold in the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture. Then fold in the egg white mixture. Then add the coco mixture and swirl with a knife.

    What do you think? Will it work? Will my cake puff up. I tried your marble cake and it was perfect. I was thinking of doing sponge cake, in a marble cake manner. I have never made cakes before, this marble cake was my first. Since I am a new, it is better to get some advice from a professional, like you.

    1. Payal,

      thanks for your comment.

      We aren’t professionals, we’re just home cooks like yourself. You’re welcome to try but as we don’t do a lot of sponge cakes we have no advice to give regarding your proposed recipe.

    1. Nitya,

      you can try halving the ingredients, but I don’t know if it might be too little leavening. Try keeping the baking powder at 1/2 tsp and 1/4 tsp of baking soda.

  10. Hi just wondering how long this cake last after baking it hoping to bake it and then put roll out icing on it for a birthday cake wondering how many days in advance I could make it

    1. Megan,

      good question.

      We really haven’t measured it out like that. But seeing as we use a 10-cup NordicWare Star Bundt Pan, and we have to reserve some batter to keep from overflowing it, I’d say the recipe makes enough for 12 cups.

  11. Hi Nate,can i put in another color like red then first put the cake batter then surround it with chocolate then with the red coloured batter pls reply soon.=)

      1. Hi Nate i tried it this morning and it was colorful…..i am thinking of putting in three colors….i hope it turns out well!!! i will tell u wat hapened…

  12. Thank you for the great sounding recipe! My son has requested a marble cake for his birthday so I’ll give this one a go. Just wondering whether you have a suggested icing/frosting that would go well on top?


    1. Hi Lisa,

      thanks for your question.

      I’ve heard of people putting a chocolate ganache on the marble cake. The cake is quite dense so if you want to put a frosting on it I would suggest a light whipped cream topping. But ideally it should just be a light dusting of powdered sugar.

  13. Hi! Just wondering if I could add mashed strawberries and strawberry essence to the vanilla batter so it could make like a strawberry-chocolate marble cake. It’s my Goddaughter’s 1st birthday on April and her parents who constantly challenges me wants a strawberry chocolate marble cake. Would it be a good idea? Hoping for you quick reply!:)

    1. Hi Maryanni,

      It sounds like a good idea, but I’m wondering if it’ll be too wet. I suggest boiling your strawberry puree down until it’s really thick first.

      Let us know how it turns out!

  14. For how long can you store the cake after baking , or how many days before a party should i bake the cake.

    1. Hi Maggie,

      thanks for your question.

      The cake should be able to last a week to a week and a half if you keep it in the fridge.

      But to be honest, it’s never lasted more than two days – everyone loves it so much it’s usually all gone before too long! 😉


  15. This the EXACTLY the marble cake that I wanted. The taste is so light and the texture is perfection. I have baked this thrice in the past 1 week.

    Whenever I stumble upon an amazing recipe, I send it out to all my friends who are interested in either cooking, baking, eating or all of the above 😉 I just HAD to send them the link to this post!

    Right now, I’m just having fun practicing on how to make my marble swirls look pretty instead of appearing like brown clumps 😛

  16. Hi!
    May I know if the measurement of the ingredients is according to the USA or commonwealth standard? From my understanding, the measurement of one cup in the USA standard is different from that of the commonwealth.

      1. Thank you for the prompt reply! 🙂
        Oh, I was thinking is it possible to substitute the melted choc with nutella?

  17. I just finished baking this cake for a get together tomorrow. Baked it in two pans. Upon testing one I found that it is too less sweet for me. Can I increase the sugar next time? How much sugar would you reccomend? And what icing can I do in the other cake to balance / increase sweetness?

    1. SM,

      thanks for your question.

      Yes, you can increase the sugar a bit. Put a full 2 cups of sugar, plus 2 tablespoons. Any more would be too sweet.

      You could also use milk chocolate instead of bittersweet.

      As for the frosting, I would suggest buttercream.

      Let us know how your get-together goes!

  18. Hi Nate and Annie!
    I love this marble Cake. I even made just vanilla cake with it. I did not swirl any chocolate to the vanilla batter. Can I make vanilla cupcake with the same recipe? Thanks! Rand.

  19. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe. My 1st attempt at baking a marble cake and I’m glad that I chose your recipe. Absolutely fattening indeed, but what the heck. My kitchen smells so good as the cake is about cooked makes it totally worth it. I used 2 loaf pans for this huge portion recipe- a 2 pounds and a 1 pound pan. Just right! Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *