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Marble Cake

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close up shot of a slice of Marble Cake on a spatula
This delicious homemade marble cake features two layers of moist chocolate and white cake swirled together to create a fancy marbled effect before being topped with a rich chocolate frosting.
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Table of Contents
  1. Marble Cake Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Marble Cake Recipe
  3. How to Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

Cakes are always a treat, but this marble cake is the creme de la creme. With two buttery, rich layers of fluffy white and chocolate swirled cake topped with rich chocolate frosting, this will be an afternoon delight for your taste buds.

For two more delectable cake options, our black magic cake and strawberry cake are both scrumptious layer cakes that are not only delicious but beautiful to look at.

close up shot of Marble Cake with a slice missing

Marble Cake Ingredients

Marble Cake raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

For the White Cake

  • 1 box of white or yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup salted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Cake

  • 1 package chocolate cake mix
  • ½ cup salted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup hot water or heated heavy cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4-ounce German chocolate or semi-sweet baking bar, melted and cooled

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

CAKE MIX: Any brand of chocolate cake mix and white cake mix works fine for this recipe. You can also substitute vanilla cake mix for white cake mix if you prefer.

How to Make This Marble Cake Recipe

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray or use the wrappers from the butter to grease them thoroughly.

STEP TWO: In one large bowl, combine the white or yellow cake batter ingredients: cake mix, butter, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 1 minute and then on medium-high speed for two additional minutes. Set aside.

Marble Cake process shot of ingredients being blended together in a bowl

STEP THREE: In a separate bowl, combine the chocolate cake batter ingredients: chocolate cake mix, butter, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 1 minute and then on medium-high speed for two additional minutes. 

Marble Cake process shot of ingredients being blended together in a bowl

STEP FOUR: Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, pile dollops of cake batter into the pans, rotating between the white and chocolate batter. Fill the pans about ⅔ of the way full to prevent overflowing. You may not use all of the batter, depending on your pan. 

PRO TIP:

I filled my pans quite full (¾ of the way full) to use up all the batter. I baked the cakes with a sheet pan on the shelf underneath in the oven to catch any spills. The cakes puffed over the rim. If you have deeper 9-inch cake pans, you can use those. I like the extra height on the cakes by filling the pans really full. You can just trim any overage with a bread knife before frosting.

Marble Cake process shot of the white and chocolate batter being poured into two pans

STEP FIVE: Use a butter knife to cut through the batter and swirl the two colors. Do not over swirl, which can result in the colors blending.

PRO TIP:

The marble effect comes from swirling the two cake colors into each other. There isn’t a specific pattern or movement; just let your knife flow all the way down to the bottom of the pan and swirl a few times in curved strokes throughout the batter.

Marble Cake process shot of the two batters being swirled together with a knife

STEP SIX: Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out with just a few crumbs (the pans are going to be fuller than with a single cake mix, so the bake time will likely be 5 to 10 minutes longer than indicated on the box of cake mix.

Marble Cake process shot after cake is baked

STEP SEVEN: Cool the cakes for 10 to 15 minutes and then remove the cakes from the pans and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

PRO TIP:

Freeze cake layers before frosting to make them firmer and easier to assemble and frost. Wrap with plastic wrap once cooled completely and then place in the freezer for 1 hour or up to 1 week. No need to defrost before assembling and frosting the cake.

STEP EIGHT: Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Chop the German chocolate baking bar into small pieces. Use a double boiler or 30-second increments in the microwave to melt the chopped chocolate. Stir until fully melted and set aside to cool.  

Marble Cake process shot of chocolate melted

STEP NINE: Use a whisk to stir together the cocoa powder and hot water (or hot cream) until smooth and shiny.

Marble Cake process shot of ingredients being whisked together in a bowl

STEP TEN: In a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the softened butter, cooled melted chocolate, cocoa powder mixture, and powdered sugar. Beat until the butter mixture is fully combined and fluffy. 

Marble Cake process shot of ingredients being combined in a bowl

STEP ELEVEN: Level the tops of the cakes (and any lip from overfilled cake pans) with a serrated knife.  

Marble Cake process shot of the top of the cakes leveled with a serrated knife

STEP TWELVE: Using an offset spatula, frost the bottom cake layer with about ½ cup of chocolate frosting.  

Marble Cake process shot of frosting spread on the cake

STEP THIRTEEN: Stack the second cake layer on top of the first, top side down.  

Marble Cake process of the second cake placed on top of the frosted cake

STEP FOURTEEN: Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

PRO TIP:

The frosting can be chilled in the refrigerator if it is too soft or if you wish to prepare it in advance. Give it another quick beat with a hand or stand mixer before using it to frost the cake. The frosting is not shelf-stable – meaning that the cake should be kept chilled until serving and for storage.

Marble Cake process shot of the cake being frosted

How to Serve

This gorgeous marble cake is the perfect choice to serve for a birthday or other special occasion. It is incredibly pretty to look at, and your guests will love the swirled cake flavors inside. Add a whipped hot chocolate to drink for even more chocolatey goodness.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Cover this layer cake with plastic wrap or in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

IN THE FREEZER: This easy marble cake recipe will also freeze for up to 3 months. 

close up shot of a slice of Marble Cake on a plate

Marble is one of my favorite confections with the combination of chocolate and white cake. The two flavors are swirled together to form a lovely marbled effect for this moist cake. This decadent and beautiful creation is perfect for serving at any party. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I store this cake at room temperature?

This easy recipe is best kept in the fridge since the frosting needs to be kept chilled.

Could I turn this cake into a single-layer rectangular cake?

You could make a marbled cake in a 9×13 pan if you wish. Just use however much cake batter fills the pan ⅔ full and set aside any remaining batter.

Can I freeze this cake?

This homemade chocolate marble cake will freeze for up to three months as long as it is wrapped well.

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close up shot of a slice of Marble Cake on a spatula

Marble Cake

5 from 1 vote
This delicious homemade marble cake features two layers of moist chocolate and white cake swirled together to create a fancy marbled effect before being topped with a rich chocolate frosting.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

White Cake

  • 1 box white cake mix or yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup salted butter softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • ½ cup salted butter softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 1 cup salted butter softened
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup hot water or heated heavy cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces German chocolate or semi-sweet baking bar melted and cooled

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray or use the wrappers from the butter to grease them thoroughly.
  • In one mixing bowl, combine the white cake ingredients: cake mix, butter, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 1 minute and then on medium-high speed for two additional minutes. Set aside.
  • In a second mixing bowl, combine the chocolate cake ingredients: chocolate cake mix, butter, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 1 minute and then on medium-high speed for two additional minutes.
  • Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, pile dollops of cake batter into the pans, rotating between the white and chocolate cake mixes. Fill the pans about ⅔ of the way full to prevent overflowing. You may not use all of the batter.
  • Use a knife to cut through the batter and swirl the two colors. Do not over swirl, which can result in the colors blending.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out with just a few crumbs. The pans are going to be more full than with a single cake mix, so the cook time will likely be 5 to 10 minutes longer than indicated on the box of cake mix.
  • Cool the cakes for 10 to 15 minutes and then remove the cakes from the pans and let them cool completely on a cooling rack.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Chop the German chocolate baking bar into small pieces. Use a double boiler or 30-second increments in the microwave to melt the chocolate. Stir until fully melted and set aside to cool.
  • Use a whisk to stir together the cocoa powder and hot water (or hot cream) until smooth and shiny.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the softened butter, cooled German chocolate, cocoa powder mixture, and powdered sugar. Beat until fully combined and fluffy.
  • Level the tops of the cakes (and any lip from overfilled cake pans) with a serrated knife.
  • Frost the bottom cake layer with about ½ cup of chocolate frosting.
  • Stack the second cake layer on top of the first, top side down.
  • Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

Notes

PRO TIP: I filled my pans quite full (¾ of the way full) to use up all the batter. I baked the cakes with a sheet pan on the shelf underneath in the oven to catch any spills. The cakes puffed over the rim. If you have deeper 9-inch cake pans, you can use those. I like the extra height on the cakes by filling the pans really full. You can just trim any overage with a bread knife before frosting.
 
PRO TIP: The marble effect comes from swirling the two cake colors into each other. There isn’t a specific pattern or movement; just let your knife flow all the way down to the bottom of the pan and swirl a few times in curved strokes throughout the batter.
 
PRO TIP: Freeze cake layers before frosting to make them firmer and easier to assemble and frost. Wrap with plastic wrap once cooled completely and then place in the freezer for 1 hour or up to 1 week. No need to defrost before assembling and frosting the cake.
 
PRO TIP: The frosting can be chilled in the refrigerator if it is too soft or if you wish to prepare it in advance. Give it another quick beat with a hand or stand mixer before using it to frost the cake. The frosting is not shelf-stable – meaning that the cake should be kept chilled until serving and for storage.

Nutrition

Calories: 800kcal | Carbohydrates: 83g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 183mg | Sodium: 926mg | Potassium: 404mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 54g | Vitamin A: 1208IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 193mg | Iron: 5mg
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