This Marble loaf cake is swirled with vanilla and chocolate cake flavor. The best thing about it is that you only have to make one batter instead of two! This loaf cake is moist and fluffy and can be topped with a chocolate frosting or left unfrosted. It’s that good!

A slice of marble loaf cake next to a plate on a purple background.
A marble loaf cake has a classic swirl of both vanilla and chocolate.

Nothing compares to the satisfaction of baking a marble loaf cake at home that looks and tastes like it came from a bakery! With one batter and easy to follow techniques you can make this swirled dessert without any hassle. It’s perfect for beginner bakers too!

Marble cake is a classic dessert that gets its name from the marble-like patterns created when light and dark batters are swirled together. This marble loaf cake variation is made using one batter, making it easier to make than traditional marble cake recipes. The finished product is a moist and flavorful marble loaf, perfect for any occasion!

Even though I am trained in baking and pasty, it took me some time to get this swirl just right! Now I am excited to show you how I did it so you can do it too! This is a fun dessert you can make for your family or bring to a party that will be sure to impress. They don’t need to know how easy it is! Top this cake with my small batch chocolate buttercream, or even this brownie frosting.

And if you’re looking for more delicious marbled treats, try out my recipes for Marble Cupcakes, Marble Bundt Cake, or these Cream Cheese Brownies that have a marble swirl!

You can also make a layered marble cake that will be sure to impress!

WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • You can make this marble loaf cake with one batter, so it’s surprisingly easy and requires minimal effort.
  • The marble pattern in the finished cake looks amazing and adds a unique twist on traditional marble cake.
  • This marble loaf cake is moist, flavorful, and incredibly delicious!

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

Ingredients for marble loaf cake.
This is all you need for the marble loaf cake.
  • Butter & Vegetable Oil – Using both butter and oil helps keep the cake moist and give it a great texture. The butter needs to be at room temperature to cream well. If you forgot to leave it out, learn how to soften butter quickly.
  • White Granulated Sugar – Adds sweetness to the cake.
  • Eggs – Helps enrich the batter with even more moist texture and helps the cake set while baking.
  • All-Purpose Flour – Adds structure and stability to the marble loaf cake.
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda – Assists with the rise of the marble loaf cake to make it fluffy while staying dense and rich.
  • Kosher Salt – Gives the loaf cake a boost of flavor and helps balance out the sweetness.
  • Vanilla Extract – Provides a delicious background flavor to the marble loaf cake.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Used for the chocolate marble effect that gives it a classic swirl look. Use Hershey’s Special Dark to make the chocolate stand out even more.
  • Buttermilk – Unlike regular milk, buttermilk gives the marble loaf cake a unique tanginess and helps give it a moist and tender crumb.
  • Chocolate frosting- Optional! You can top it with this brownie frosting or this small batch chocolate buttercream.

You’ll need a standard size loaf pan too. A standard size is around 9 “x 5 ” like this loaf pan.

HOW TO MAKE MARBLE LOAF CAKE

Prep to bake– Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heavily spray a loaf with baking spray. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar: Add the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed, then add the vegetable oil and eggs one at a time, mixing in between each ingredient.

Combine other ingredients: In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Whisk until fully combined. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk and vanilla together.

Mix wet and dry ingredients: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, slowly alternating each until the batter is just combined.

Make the chocolate batter: Remove 3/4 cup of the batter and whisk it with the cocoa powder and the rest of the buttermilk.

Assemble the marble loaf: Pour a thin layer of the vanilla batter into the bottom of the loaf pan, then alternate, adding each batter with an ice cream scoop until all of it is in the pan. Use a skewer or knife to swirl the batter together, making sure not to over-swirl.

Bake- Bake the loaf cake for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer is inserted into the middle of the cake and comes out with only a few loose crumbs. Cool.

Garnishing

This loaf cake doesn’t need any topping but you can sprinkle with confectioners sugar, or make this small batch chocolate buttercream.

TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS

  • When scooping the batter alternate the vanilla and chocolate on top of each other. It doesn’t have to be perfect!
  • Make sure your butter and eggs are at room temperature before beginning, as this will lead to a smooth and even batter.
  • When you’re at the swirling stage, don’t overmix the batter for marble effect, otherwise, you won’t get that marble pattern, and the cake will become a light brown color.
  • Let the marble loaf cake cool completely before adding any toppings or drizzle, as a warm cake will melt any topping you place on top.
  • For best results, use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder, so the chocolate really stands out.

STORAGE AND FREEZING

Storing: Once frosted and cooled, a marble loaf cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days on the counter. It can also be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Beware though that the fridge can turn a cake dry faster because of the cold air.

Freezing: You can also freeze marble loaf cake for up to 3 months! To do this, wrap it tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil, and place it in a freezer bag. Thaw on the counter before serving.

A marble loaf cake layered on parchment paper on a plate.
The top of the loaf should have the classic marble swirl.

FAQ

Is marble loaf cake difficult to make?

No, marble cake is relatively easy to make with one batter. The key is to not over-mix the marble effect and let it cool fully before adding any toppings or drizzle.

Can I use a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer?

Yes, a hand mixer can be used instead of a stand mixer, just be sure to not overwork the batter as it may become too tough.

What other variations or substitutions can I make?

Besides using dark Hershey’s cocoa powder for a dramatic marble pattern, you can also use different flavor extracts like almond extract or orange extract instead of vanilla extract. You can also use melted and cooled coconut oil instead of vegetable oil for a light coconut flavor.

Slices of marble loaf cake on plates next to utensils on a purple surface.

WAYS TO ENJOY

A slice of marble loaf cake next to a plate on a purple background.
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Light and Moist Marble Loaf Cake

This Marble loaf cake is swirled with vanilla and chocolate cake flavor. The best thing about it is that you only have to make one batter instead of two! This loaf cake is moist and fluffy and can be topped with a chocolate drizzle or left unfrosted. It's that good!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter, unsalted and room temp
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk, (+1 tbsp) divided
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Chocolate drizzle

    Instructions
     

    • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heavily spray a 9" x5" loaf with baking spray.
    • Wet ingredients for a cake mixed together in a mixing bowl.
      In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup sugar and mix on low-medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the 2 tbsp 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 cups flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp baking soda, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt and mix lightly.
    • In a measuring cup add the 1/2 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.
    • Chocolate cake batter in a small glass bowl.
      Separate 3/4 cup of the batter and add the 2 tbsp cocoa powder and remaining 1 tbsp buttermilk. Stir to combine.
    • Scoops of vanilla and chocolate cake batter in a loaf pan.
      Add a thin layer of vanilla batter to the bottom of the pan, then alternate adding scoops of the vanilla and chocolate batters into the loaf pan using an ice cream scoop until all the batter is used up.
    • Swirled vanilla and chocolate batter in a loaf pan.
      Using a skewer or knife, swirl the batters together. Be careful not to swirl too much or you the batter will blend and you wont be able to see the swirl.
    • A marble loaf cake layered on parchment paper on a plate.
      Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes. The loaf cake is done when a skewer is inserted into the middle of the cake and comes out with only a few loose crumbs.
    • Top with powdered sugar or small batch chocolate buttercream.

    Notes

    Learn how to soften butter quickly if your butter is not soft.
    If you dont have an ice cream scoop to scoop the batter you can use a large spoon instead. 
    Serving: 1slice, Calories: 250kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 49mg, Sodium: 172mg, Potassium: 63mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 292IU, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 1mg
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