Marvelous Marble Cake

Total Time

Prep: 45 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling


16 servings

Updated: Dec. 28, 2022
Pound cake and chocolate make the best marble cake. — Ellen Riley, Birmingham, Alabama
Marvelous Marble Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Line bottoms of 3 greased 8-in. round baking pans with parchment; grease parchment.
  3. In a large bowl, cream remaining butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 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.
  4. 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, tap several times on counter.
  5. 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.
  6. For frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to reach desired consistency.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.