This Marble Cake looks so impressive but is very easy to make! It is a 2 layer cake that is made using only one batter for both the vanilla and chocolate flavors. They are simply swirled together in the cake pan to give the classic marble effect. You will love this light and fluffy cake!

A slice of marble cake standing on a white plate next to a fork.
A marble cake should have this classic swirl of chocolate and vanilla cake.

As a trained professional baker, I love a pretty layer cake. What makes this cake even prettier are the never ending swirls of chocolate and vanilla inside this marble cake.

The marble effect is created by swirling the two different flavors into one batter. All you need to do is mix together a basic vanilla cake batter and divide it, then add some cocoa powder to one half to create two different flavors.

The result is a beautiful marble layer cake that looks almost too good to eat! The texture is light and moist, with creamy swirls of vanilla and chocolate.

To take it over the top I frost this cake with my light and airy chocolate cream cheese frosting but you can also use regular chocolate buttercream frosting, or even classic cream cheese frosting.

Making the marble effect in baked goods is super fun! You can try this Marble Loaf Cake, Marble Cupcakes, or Marble Bundt Cake!

What makes this the best marble cake out there

  • Impress your friends and family with this fun cake, its perfect for even beginner bakers!
  • No need to waste time making two batters! This recipe only uses one batter to make the whole cake!
  • It tastes delicious – the moist texture and creamy swirls of vanilla and chocolate make this cake irresistible!

Ingredients

Ingredients for a marble cake.
You only need to make one batter for this cake.
  • Butter & Vegetable Oil – Using both butter and oil creates a lighter and fluffy texture while still keeping the cake moist.
  • Sugar – Gives the layer cake a sweet taste.
  • Eggs – Binds the ingredients together and helps the cake set properly.
  • All-Purpose Flour – This dry ingredient provides structure to the cake when combined with other ingredients.
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda – These create lift and help the cake rise evenly when baking to give it a fluffy texture.
  • Salt – Helps contrast the sweetness and enhances the flavor of the chocolate.
  • Buttermilk – If you dont have buttermilk- you can make your own by combining 1/2 cup of milk with 1.5 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for 10 minutes before using.
  • Vanilla Extract – Gives a light and fragrant vanilla flavor throughout the cake.
  • Cocoa Powder – Adds a rich chocolatey flavor throughout the cake along with a dark marbled effect. I recommend using Hershey’s special dark cocoa to make the chocolate even darker against the vanilla batter.

Keeping the cake moist

Firstly, make sure you dont over bake! At the 30 minute mark check with a toothpick to see if the cake is ready. Insert it into the middle and if a couple moist crumbs come out, its done!

A common misconception is waiting for the toothpick to come out clean, but you dont want that! If a toothpick comes out clean it means the cake is dry. You want it with moist crumbs for a moist cake!

Make sure the cake is covered when you aren’t serving it. If you cut a slice off , lay piece of parchment paper against the cut slice to keep it from getting dry. I don’t recommend keeping this cake in the fridge because the cold can dry it out.

How to make an impressive marble cake

Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heavily spray  2, 8” cake pans with baking spray. Set aside.

Combine wet ingredients: In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar and mix. Then, add the vegetable oil and eggs one at a time, mixing in between until combined. In a measuring cup mix the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients: In a mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix lightly until combined.

Make the marble batter: Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients into the batter, starting and ending with the dry. Once mixed, remove one cup of batter and place it in a medium sized bowl. Mix it with the cocoa powder and remaining buttermilk and stir until fully combined.

Assemble the layer cake: Spread a thin layer of vanilla cake batter on the bottom of each pan. Then using an ice cream scoop, dollop the chocolate batter around the pans. Take the rest of the vanilla batter and lay it on top of the chocolate, smoothing it out as best as possible. Using a skewer or knife, swirl the batters together. Make sure not to swirl too much, or the batters will blend together, and you won’t be able to see the swirl. 

Bake and cool: Bake for 28-32 minutes or until the cake is set and the sides are pulling away from the pan. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.

Add frosting and filling: Fill and frost the cake with either chocolate buttercream frosting or chocolate cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!

Recipe tips

  • For best results, use Hershey’s special dark chocolate powder. This will make the chocolate marbling stand out better.
  • Make sure to evenly distribute the batters between the two cake pans or you wont have even layers to frost.
  • To ensure even baking times, check the cake at 25 minutes and add more time if necessary.
  • Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan, and adding frosting or filling as warm cake will cause the frosting to melt.
  • The cake is finished baking when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Storing and freezing instructions

Storing: Once cooled and frosted keep it covered in a cake dome for up to 4 days. You can store it in the fridge for up to a week but beware the cold from the fridge can dry out a cake.

Freezing: To extend its shelf-life, you can freeze it for up to three months. Wrap each unfrosted cake layer in two layers of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. To thaw, let it sit in the refrigerator overnight before frosting and serving.

3 slices of marble cake stacked on a white plate.

FROSTING IDEAS

I frosted this cake with my chocolate cream cheese frosting but you can go for any of these other frostings:

A slice of marble cake standing on a white plate next to a fork.
4.92 stars (25 ratings)

One Batter Moist Marble Cake

This Marble Cake looks so impressive but is very easy to make! It is a 2 layer cake that is made using only one batter for both the vanilla and chocolate flavors. They are simply swirled together in the cake pan to give the classic marble effect. You will love this light and fluffy cake!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, (227g)
  • 2 cups sugar, (400g)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, large room temperature
  • 2 ¾ cup all purpose flour, 330g
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature + 1 tbsp, divided
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder, I recommend Hersheys Dark

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heavily spray 2 8” cake pans with baking spray.
  • In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar and mix on low-medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Butter, sugar, and eggs creamed in a mixing bowl.
    Add the ¼ cup vegetable oil and mix again until combined. Add the eggs one at a time on medium speed, mixing in between.
  • In a separate bowl combine the 2 ¾ cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, and ½ tsp kosher salt and mix lightly.
  • In a measuring cup add the 3/4 cup buttermilk and 1 tbsp vanilla extract and set aside.
  • Vanilla cake batter in a mixing bowl.
    Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients by thirds starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix for 30 seconds on medium speed.
  • Chocolate cake batter in a glass bowl.
    Separate one cup of the batter and add the 2 tbsp cocoa powder and remaining 1 tbsp buttermilk. Stir to combine.
  • A cake pan filled with vanilla cake batter.
    Spread a thin layer of vanilla cake batter onto the bottom of each cake pan.
  • A cake pan filled with vanilla batter and dolloped with chocolate batter on top.
    Using and ice cream scoop, dollop the chocolate cake batter on top around the cake pans.
  • A cake pan filled with layers of vanilla and chocolate batter..
    Spread another layer of vanilla batter over the chocolate as best you can trying not to mix the batters thats much.
  • 2 cake pans swirled with marble cake batter.
    Using a skewer or knife, swirl the batters together. Make sure not to swirl too much or the batters will blend together and you wont be able to see the swirl.
  • Bake for 28-32 minutes or until the cake is set and the sides are pulling away from the pan. Cool on a wire rack completely.
  • A cake frosted with chocolate frosting on a white cake stand.
    Fill and frost the cake with either chocolate buttercream frosting or chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Notes

Make sure evenly divide the batters or you wont have enough for both cake pans.
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 439kcal, Carbohydrates: 57g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 83mg, Sodium: 332mg, Potassium: 86mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 34g, Vitamin A: 557IU, Calcium: 53mg, Iron: 2mg
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