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close up slice of marble cake

Easy Marble Cake

You can transform my favorite vanilla cake into the best marble cake by adding a little chocolate! Super easy and super tasty!
4.99 from 100 votes
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Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 9 cups
Calories: 822kcal

Ingredients

Marble Cake Ingredients

  • 16 ounces (454 g) cake flour
  • 16 ounces (454 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 large (4 large) eggs room temperature
  • 5 ounces (142 g) vegetable oil
  • 14 ounces (397 g) buttermilk room temperature or slightly warm
  • 8 ounces (227 g) butter unsalted and softened
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 ounce (29 g) cocoa powder dutch or natural
  • 3 ounces (85 g) hot water
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder for dusting

Ganache Frosting

  • 16 ounces (454 g) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 16 ounces (454 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganache Drip

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 ounces heavy whipping cream

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer
  • Paddle Attachment

Instructions

Cake Batter Instructions

  • Prepare three 8″x2″ cake pans with cake goop or another preferred pan spray. Preheat your oven to 335ºF (168ºC).
  • Bring your butter, milk, and eggs to room temperatureIt’s really important when making a cake for the ingredients to all be slightly warm so they create an emulsion.
  • Heat the water until it’s simmering and then combine it with your cocoa powder.
  • Stir it until the cocoa powder is moistened. It will look lumpy, but that is normal.
  • Set it aside and let it cool while you prepare the cake batter.
  • In a separate container, combine 3/4 cup of the milk and the oil together and set it aside.
  • In a separate container, combine the remaining milk, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract together. Whisk it to break up the eggs, and then set it aside.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with the paddle attachment. Mix for 10 seconds to combine everything.
  • Add your softened butter to the flour mixture and mix on low until the mixture resembles coarse sand (this takes about 30 seconds). This style of mixing is called the reverse creaming method, and it will result in a very velvety, moist cake. A lot of my other cake recipes like brown butter cake and white velvet buttermilk cake use this method.
  • Add in your milk/oil mixture and mix it on low until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  • Increase the speed to medium (setting 2 on my Bosch Mixer, setting 4 on a KitchenAid) and let it mix for 2 minutes to develop the cake’s structure. If you don’t let your cake mix on this step, your cake could collapse.
  • Scrape your bowl and then reduce the speed to low.
  • Add in your egg mixture in three batches, letting the batter mix for 15 seconds between additions.
  • Scrape down the sides again to make sure everything has incorporated.

Marbling the Cake Batter Instructions

  • Take out 1/3 of your batter and combine it with the cooled chocolate mixture and fold it gently until it’s combined.
  • Layer your batter into your pans, starting with vanilla, then chocolate, and ending with vanilla.
  • Use a butter knife to swirl them together gently. Do not over-mix or your cake will not have a marbled interior.
  • Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes at 335ºF (168ºC) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly (but the cake has not begun to shrink yet from the sides of the pan). IMMEDIATELY TAP THE PAN FIRMLY on the countertop once to release the steam from the cake. This stops the cake from shrinking.
  • Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes inside of the pan before flipping them out. The cake will shrink a bit and that is normal.
  • Flip the cake onto a cooling rack and let it cool completely. I chill my cakes before handling them, or you can wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them to trap moisture in the cake.
  • Thaw the cake on the countertop while it’s still wrapped before frosting.

Ganache Frosting Instructions

  • Place your chocolate into a heatproof bowl.
  • Heat your cream until it just begins to simmer. Do not boil it or your ganache will be grainy.
  • Pour the hot cream over your chocolate.
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Add in your vanilla and salt to the chocolate mixture and whisk it until it’s smooth and creamy.
  • Pour your ganache into a shallow pan and let it cool to peanut butter consistency. Mine takes about 20 minutes to thicken up.
  • Frost your cake with the ganache and then place it into the fridge for 20 minutes. This cake also pairs well with easy buttercream or chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream.
  • Dust it with cocoa powder using a soft (new) makeup brush to make the velvet texture.

Ganache Drip Instructions

  • Heat the cream until it’s just steaming, and then pour it over chocolate.
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Whisk it until it’s smooth.
  • Let it cool until it’s slightly warm to the touch before piping it onto your CHILLED cake. 

Notes

Buttermilk substitute - regular milk plus 2 Tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice. You can also use powdered buttermilk. 
Important Things To Note Before You Start
1. Bring all your ingredients to room temperature or even a little warm (eggs, buttermilk, butter, etc) to ensure your batter does not break or curdle. 
2. Use a scale to weigh your ingredients (including liquids) unless otherwise instructed (Tablespoons, teaspoons, pinch etc). Metric measurements are available in the recipe card. Scaled ingredients are much more accurate than using cups and help ensure the success of your recipe. 
3. Practice Mise en Place (everything in it's place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.
4. Chill your cakes before frosting and filling. You can cover a frosted and chilled cake in fondant if you wish. This cake is also great for stacking. I always keep my cakes chilled in the refrigerator before delivery for easy transporting. Learn more about decorating your first cake. 
5. If the recipe calls for specific ingredients like cake flour, replacing it with all purpose flour and cornstarch is not recommended unless specified in the recipe that it’s ok. Substituting ingredients may cause this recipe to fail. 
All purpose flour is a plain flour with no rising agents. It has a protein level of 10%-12%
Cake flour is a soft, low protein flour of 9% or less. 
Cake flour sources: UK - Shipton Mills Cake & Pastry Flour

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 822kcal (41%) | Carbohydrates: 73g (24%) | Protein: 10g (20%) | Fat: 56g (86%) | Saturated Fat: 36g (180%) | Cholesterol: 150mg (50%) | Sodium: 455mg (19%) | Potassium: 463mg (13%) | Fiber: 5g (20%) | Sugar: 44g (49%) | Vitamin A: 1162IU (23%) | Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) | Calcium: 138mg (14%) | Iron: 3mg (17%)