The Best Easy Marble Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is better than any bakery cake you can buy. A simple beginner recipe that uses only one cake batter!
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**the recipe was originally posted in May 2016. I have updated the photos and notes below to help make this a beginner marble cake recipe.
Sometimes all that’s left is just a slice of cake…
Which is sort of what happened.
Of course when you’re the one who baked it, you kind of like it that way. It means that it was loved.
I’m so honored that my sister-n-law ask me to bake my nephew’s first birthday cake in a couple of weeks! However, a request of marble cake was made, something I’ve never made before.
I knew that I would have to test out a recipe beforehand of course, and what perfect time to test out cake than on Mother’s Day. This cake didn’t come out exactly as I planned it you see; because my almost 17 year old daughter wanted to help.
How could I turn down help in the kitchen on Mother’s Day? I couldn’t.
It’s hard for me to allow anybody to help in the kitchen because my OCD sets in, and striving for perfection takes over.
I wasn’t going for perfection though yesterday, I just wanted it to turn out, flavor wise. It delivered in the flavor department for sure, even after the mishaps with the frosting.
Kayla begged to make the frosting and to frost the cake. I had purchased a brand new frosting bag and tips several weeks ago when I made Perfect Carrot Cake again for another birthday party, and I thought why not.
She’s in her second year of culinary at high school so I didn’t see anything that could go wrong.
Well, as she started the frosting, things went south fast…ending with a whole teaspoon of salt as opposed to ¼th of a teaspoon that the recipe called for. I wanted to cry.
Luckily after some taste testing and some additional powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream it turned out better than the original. We won’t discuss the use of tips and piping bags, just know that I had to take it over because apparently icing a cake has yet to be discussed in class.
Again not perfection I was going for. At this point, I just wanted it frosted before we ate dinner.
Can I make this cake ahead of time?
Yes – there are two ways you can do this.
- Make the cakes, allow to cool completely, wrap in my favorite press and seal, and place in the fridge until the next day. Pull out, unwrap, frost and serve.
- Make the cakes, allow to cool completely, wrap in press and seal, and again in foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. Remove from the freezer and allow to defrost in the fridge for 24 hours before frosting.
Can I make this in a 9X13 inch cake pan?
Sure! You could also use a bundt pan too. Just follow steps 9 and 10 in the recipe card.
I don’t have cake flour – can I use all purpose?
You can, but I don’t recommend it. The cake flour lends a texture that you just can’t get with all purpose flour.
There are recipes floating around the internet for cake flour, if you don’t have any on hand, or happen to be out. Here is one from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
Out of buttermilk or just don’t have any? No problem.
Using a measuring cup, place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and pour milk in to the ⅔ cup line. Stir and allow to sit for no more than 2 minutes.
The story has a happy ending though! Everyone raved over the cake, which is why there was only one slice left for me to photograph. 🙂
Marble Cake Tip:
Never layer the batter as a short cut. Dropping small amounts into the cake pans, no matter the size that you’re using is the only way to get the marble effect.
Once you drop all those little amounts all over, take a skewer or butter knife and run it all around the pan swirling as you go.
Looking for more cake recipe ideas that include chocolate?
- Strawberry Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake
- Mint Chocolate Chip Cake
- S’mores Cake
- Double Dark Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks butter room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 4 egg yolks room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup buttermilk room temperature*
- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chopped
- 2 ½ sticks butter room temperature
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans, set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl mix together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, using a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugars.
- Once creamy, after about a minute, add in the eggs, one at a time, with the mixer on low. Making sure that each one is incorporated before adding the next.
- Add your dry ingredients and buttermilk next. - Make sure to alternate - dry, buttermilk, dry, buttermilk, dry.
- Mix until they are all incorporated. Don't over mix, this batter is thick. Set aside.
- Melt the 4oz of chopped chocolate in the microwave, in 20 second increments, stirring after each, until it's melted.
- Stir in one cup of the cake batter, until it's thoroughly incorporated.
- Start by dropping the plain cake batter, using an ice cream scoop, or ¼th measuring cup, all over the bottom of the cake pan. Be sure to leave spaces to drop the chocolate batter. For example, do X number of scoops, leaving an inch or so between those scoops.
- Now drop spoonfuls of the chocolate batter in those spaces that you've left.
- Repeat 9 and 10, until you don't have any batter remaining.
- Using a knife or skewer, swirl the batter several times back and forth until you get chocolate and yellow batter swirls all over.
- Place in the oven and bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool on cooling racks for 10 to 15 minutes, before removing from the pans.
- Once removed from the pans, allow to cool completely before frosting. (speed this process, as I did, by placing them in the fridge right on the cooling rack)
- Start by creaming your butter and vanilla in the mixer until it's nice and creamy. Mix in the heavy whipping cream.
- Place your mixer on low and add your powdered sugar, slowly until you've added it all.
- Beat in the cocoa powder and salt.
- With the speed on medium to high, continue to beat until your frosting is nice and airy.
- You are now ready to frost and assemble your cake!
*if you don't have buttermilk-use a measuring cup, place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and pour milk in to the ⅔ cup line. Stir and allow to sit for no more than 2 minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 534Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 399mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 1gSugar: 43gProtein: 5g