These Marble Cupcakes are easy to make yet look so impressive! They are made with just a few simple ingredients, and save time using only one batter. Swirled with a marble frosting these cupcakes look like they came straight from a bakery!

A marble cupcake with it's liner peeled down.

When you see something marbled in a bakery, you’d assume it takes lots of hard work to pull off that color and texture. As a trained pastry chef that’s done this a million times, I can tell you it’s easy when you follow this one-batter marble cupcake recipe!

Marbled baked goods are basically a vanilla cake that’s swirled with chocolate, giving it a marbleized appearance. While traditionally, it’s sold like a marble bundt cake or marble loaf cake, the recipe can easily be made into individual cupcakes!

The best part is there is only one batter to make. Simply portion out a cup of vanilla batter and add cocoa powder. Swirl it into the cupcakes and you’ve got a bakery-style treat that’s homemade and delicious! Especially when topped with marble frosting- see below!

You can also top these cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting, classic vanilla frosting, or this decadent white chocolate buttercream frosting.

If you wanted to impress your friends and family even further you can easily make a whole layered marble cake instead! You can do it!!

WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Impress your guests with these beautiful marble cupcakes that look like they came straight from the bakery!
  • They’re easier to make than you think and only require one simple cake batter.
  • This recipe is perfect for any party or celebration!
  • Marble cake goes well with many different types of frosting recipes which means you can change it up each time!

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

Ingredients for marble cupcakes.
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For the cupcakes

  • Cake Flour – This light and fluffy flour gives the cupcakes a tender crumb.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda – Once activated, these two leavening ingredients help the cupcakes rise and become fluffy.
  • Salt – This ingredient not only activates the leavening agents, it also gives a contrasting flavor to the sweetness, which balances it out.
  • Unsalted Butter – Makes up the oil in the cupcakes, which makes them moist and buttery.
  • Granulated Sugar – Sweetens up the base of the cupcakes.
  • Egg and Egg White – Helps bind all of the ingredients together and helps them set properly after baking.
  • Vanilla Extract – Used to create a light vanilla flavor in the batter.
  • Buttermilk – Adds a light tangy flavor along with moisture.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – When the batter is separated, cocoa powder is used to make the chocolate batter portion.

For Chocolate and Vanilla Marble frosting:

  • Butter – Makes up the creamy smooth base for both vanilla and chocolate frosting.
  • Confectioners Sugar – This finely milled sugar blends in with the ingredients while sweetening the frosting.
  • Vanilla Extract – Adds vanilla flavor to both batches of frosting.
  • Cream or Milk – Used to thin out the frosting to a spreadable consistency while keeping it smooth and creamy.
  • Cocoa Powder – Creates a rich chocolate flavor and natural brown color in the chocolate half of the frosting.
  • Salt – Helps counteract any bitter flavor in the chocolate and enhances its natural flavor.

HOW TO MAKE MARBLE CUPCAKES

Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients: In a medium size, bowl combine cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Whisk until combined.

Combine the wet ingredients: In the bowl of a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 1 minute on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl and add sugar. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

Create the batter: Add in 1/3rd of the dry ingredients, then half of the 1/2 cup buttermilk, and alternate, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix only until combined. Do not overmix.

Make chocolate swirl batter: Remove 1 cup of the vanilla batter and put it in a small bowl. Add the 2 ½ tbsp cocoa powder and 2 tsp remaining buttermilk into the separated vanilla batter (the one cup) and stir to combine.

Bake and cool: Fill the muffin liners halfway full with the vanilla batter, then add ½ tbsp of the chocolate batter. Swirl the batter with a skewer, toothpick, or thin knife to make a swirl effect. Bake for 18-19 minutes and cool completely.

How to make the swirl marble frosting

Make the vanilla frosting:

Mix the butter and sugar: Add the butter and powdered sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low-medium speed for 1 minute.

Add the vanilla and cream: Move to high speed for 2 minutes, stop, then add in the vanilla and creamer. Mix again on high for 1 minute. The icing should have stiff peaks, and hold its shape, not runny at all.

Remove frosting: Remove as much frosting as you can from the bowl and paddle, but don’t wash the bowl, as it will be used to make the chocolate frosting.

Make the chocolate frosting:

Mix the butter and sugar: In the same bowl add 1/2 cup butter, 1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, and ⅓ cup cocoa powder and mix on low speed, working your way up to medium as the mixture combines. 

Add the cream and salt: Stop the mixer and add the 1/2 tsp cream, and 1/8 tsp of kosher salt. Mix again on medium speed until the chocolate is mixed throughout and the frosting is fluffy.

Fill a piping bag: Using a piping bag fitted with a tip, fill up one side with vanilla frosting, and the other side with chocolate frosting. Make sure both frosting flavors are able to reach down to the tip. Do not top one frosting on top of the other, add them by side in the piping bag.

Frost the cupcakes: Swirl the frosting over the cupcakes for the marble effect!

TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS

Use a sifter: Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda to avoid any lumps in the batter.

Do not overmix: Be careful not to overmix the marble cupcake batter, otherwise your cupcakes will be dense. Mix until just combined.

Room temperature ingredients: Make sure your butter, eggs, and buttermilk are all at room temperature so they mix together easily. Room temperature ingredients mix better and produce a more consistent cupcake batter. Learn how to soften butter quickly if you forgot to leave it out beforehand.

Use a piping bag: Using a piping bag with two different colors of frosting creates the marble effect without any fuss. You can also use two ziplock bags, cutting off one corner of each bag.

Marble cupcakes with frosting on a black tin stand.

STORAGE AND FREEZING

Storing- Once cupcakes are cooled and frosted, they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Freezing-To freeze marble cupcakes, wrap each cupcake individually in plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, let thaw overnight on the counter.

FAQ

Do I have to use cake flour?

No, however using cake flour will produce a more tender marble cupcake. All-purpose flour can be used as a substitute. Or you can make your own by replacing 2 tbsp regular flour with corn starch and whisking well.

What can I use instead of buttermilk?

If you don’t have either buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by adding 1 tbsp of lemon juice or white vinegar to a measuring cup and then adding milk until it reaches the 1 cup mark. Let sit for 5 minutes before using.

Do frosted cupcakes need to be refrigerated?

No, marble cupcakes can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you live in a hot climate or it is summertime, marble cupcakes are best stored in the fridge.

WAYS TO ENJOY

Change up the flavor of these marble cupcakes by adding different types of frosting. Here are some of our favorites!

A marble cupcake with it's liner peeled down.
5 stars (7 ratings)

Easy & Moist One Batter Marble Cupcakes

These Marble Cupcakes are easy to make yet look so impressive! They are made with just a few simple ingredients, and save time using only one batter. Swirled with a marble frosting these cupcakes look like they came straight from a bakery!

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cup (218.75 g) cake flour, (207g)
  • 1 tsp (1 tsp) baking powder
  • ¼ tsp (0.25 tsp) baking soda
  • ¼ tsp (0.25 tsp) kosher salt
  • ½ cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter, (113g) softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, (200g)
  • 1 (1) egg, (50g)
  • 2 (2) egg white, (70g)
  • 2 tsp (2 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) buttermilk, at room temperature (118mL) plus 2 tsp, separated
  • 2 ½ tbsp (2.5 tbsp) Unsweetened cocoa powder

Vanilla frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (113.5 g) butter, softened or margarine or butter substitute
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoons (1 teaspoons) cream, or milk

Chocolate frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup (180 g) confectioners sugar
  • () rd cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) heavy cream, or milk
  • 1/8 tsp (0.13 tsp) kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  • In a medium size bowl combine the 1 ¾ cup cake flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp baking soda, and ¼ tsp kosher salt. Whisk until combined.
  • Creamed butter and sugar in a glass bowl.
    In the bowl of a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the ½ cup butter for 1 minute on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl and add 1 cup sugar.
  • Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Wet ingredients in a glass bowl on a pink surface.
    Scrape down the bowl and add the egg, 2 egg whites and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Mix for 1 minute on medium speed.
  • Add in 1/3rd of the dry ingredients, then half of the 1/2 cup buttermilk and alternate, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  • Vanilla batter for marble cupcakes.
    Mix only until combined. Do not overmix.
  • A small bowl of chocolate batter on a pink surface.
    Remove 1 cup of the vanilla batter and put it in a small bowl. Add the 2 ½ tbsp cocoa powder and 2 tsp remaining buttermilk into the separated vanilla batter (the one cup) and stir to combine.
  • Vanilla and chocolate batter in a muffin tin.
    Fill the muffin liners half way full with the vanilla batter, then add ½ tbsp of the chocolate batter.
  • Swirled marble cupcake batter in a muffin tin.
    Swirl the batter with a skewer, toothpick, or thin knife to make a swirl effect.
  • Baked marble cupcakes in a muffin tin.
    Bake for 18-19 minutes and cool.

For the marble frosting:

  • First make the vanilla frosting. Add the 1/2 cup butter and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low-medium speed for 1 minute.
  • Vanilla frosting in a bowl.
    Move to high speed for 2 minutes, stop, then add in the 1/2 tsp vanilla and tsp creamer. Mix again on high for 1 minute.
  • Remove as much frosting as you can from the bowl and paddle but dont wash the bowl, there’s no need.
  • Make the chocolate frosting. In the same bowl add the 1/2 cup butter, 1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, and ⅓ cup cocoa powder and mix on low speed working your way up to medium as the mixture combines.
  • Chocolate frosting in a bowl.
    Stop the mixer and add the 1/2 tsp cream, and 1/8 tsp of kosher salt. Mix again on medium speed until the chocolate is mixed throughout and the frosting is fluffy.
  • Chocolate and vanilla frosting combine in a piping bag.
    Using a piping bag fitted with a tip, fill up one side with vanilla frosting, and the other side with chocolate frosting. Make sure both frosting flavors are able to reach down to the tip. Do not top one frosting on top of the other, more like side by side in the piping bag.
  • A marble cupcake with it's liner peeled down.
    Swirl the frosting over the cupcakes for the marble effect!

Notes

I like to use a piping bag and large star tip to frost the cupcakes.
Serving: 1cupcake, Calories: 471kcal, Carbohydrates: 61g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 76mg, Sodium: 219mg, Potassium: 70mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 47g, Vitamin A: 755IU, Vitamin C: 0.003mg, Calcium: 45mg, Iron: 0.4mg
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