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Marble Cake

This delicious marble cake recipe is from the "Martha Stewart Baking Handbook."

  • Yield: Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf
Marble Cake

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, February Winter 2007


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; set aside. Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside 1/3 of the batter.

  3. In a bowl, mix cocoa and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the cocoa mixture to the reserved cake batter; stir until well combined.

  4. Spoon batters into the prepared pan in 2 layers, alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate to simulate a checkerboard. To create marbling, run a table knife (or wooden skewer) through the batters in a swirling motion.

  5. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cake from pan and cool completely on the rack. Cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Reviews (25)

  • BlueClouds 16 Dec, 2014

    I made this cake today and it's absolutely Fantastic!!!! I cannot find enough great words to describe how wonderful the cake is:)

  • Altgen 24 Aug, 2014

    I've made this cake tonight and exactly followed the recipe. It turned out just great. Best marble cake I've made. The checker board filling might seem hard as they tend to mix but they don't. So just apply as instructed and do not mix to much. One or two swirl will do it. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Danh Vo 18 Sep, 2013

    Marble cake is one of my favorite dishes and I was looking all over the internet for its recipe. Finally I found an informative one about its recipe. The steps you provided are very good and easy to understand. Keep up the great work.Sonic Games

  • Cynthia Bliss 13 Sep, 2013

    For some reason I thought that this was a pound cake since it was made in a loaf pan! It still tastes good though, although I couldn't get it to swirl as nicely as it was shown in the photo.

  • Didi5 14 Aug, 2013

    Hi, I've been looking for a great marble sponge cake recipe and seems that I've now found it! However, I've been asked to make it as a four tier wedding cake! Can you please tell me the quantities of ingredients I would need to make a 16" round cake? Many thanks :)

  • vishnusant 3 Jul, 2013

    Marble cake is one of my favorite dishes and I was looking all over the internet for its recipe. Finally I found an informative one about its recipe. The steps you provided are very good and easy to understand. Keep up the great work.

  • Bilqis Camila 3 Apr, 2013

    i want your recipe marbel cake please tag in for me thanks ........

  • Nurul Zabuddin 12 Feb, 2013

    Omg! This recipe is like the best marble recipe cake ever!! I totally fell in love with it on my first bite XD my family absolutely love this! Thank you for sharing the recipe :)

  • Carrie P 11 Aug, 2012

    My cake didnt turn out good. It was so moist that its like not cook and i've bake it for more than an hour. What happen?

  • Muna Kenny 19 Jul, 2012

    Overall, a very good and moist cake, I love marble cakes since I have the pleasure of tasting both vanilla and chocolate in the same bite.
    I used medium size eggs instead of large, still it came out great, I have also used milk instead of butter milk. The marble design on my cake was amazing. Thanks for the wonderful recipe :)

  • Kinc 27 May, 2012

    Such a hit!!

    My son wanted marble cake for his birthday. His twin wanted ice cream cake ( I will review that next) This was a little involved but the results well worth it. I am going to make another for a neighbor having surgery next week.

    I call Martha my sister now with all my great baking results. I always thought of myself as a cook, not a baker.

  • jingooo 26 Dec, 2011

    I tried this recipe for the first time tonight. The cake turned out great! Moist and not too sweet, just how I like it. Overall pretty easy to make, given that there's a video too. However, I had to bake the cake for almost an hour because when I took it out after 50 mins, there were parts that still needed more baking. I guess everyone's oven is different. Next time I make this I'll aim to make prettier marbles. :)

  • LaurasCakewalk 17 Oct, 2010

    Tested this out last night and it is amazing. Moist and soft texture, absolutely delicious. Love the marbling technique. Much better marbled look than the old method of putting spoonfuls of chocolate on top of the white.

  • LaurasCakewalk 16 Oct, 2010

    Since cake flour is so expensive I do not use it. Instead, use 1 less tablespoon of flour per cup, and double sift the flour. I bake wedding cakes and have always received rave reviews for my cake flavor. Am baking a marble wedding cake for next weekend and cannot wait to test out this recipe.

  • JulietJas 3 Aug, 2010

    I baked this marble cake twice and it was finished the very next morning. Its so addictive. Now that I've moved to Australia, there is no cake flour to be found. I want to bake this marble cake again. Any suggestions on cake flour substitute? Thanks

  • Maysem 9 Apr, 2010

    Nicolehewson, it's 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of boiling water.

  • lizmaryg 25 Feb, 2010

    This was delicious. Very moist and tasty. I did add a little bit more of vanilla and baked it for 40 minutes.

  • nicolehewson 19 Feb, 2010

    I found that 2 tablespoons of boiling water was not nearly enough to smooth out the cocoa. I ended up adding more water to make a smooth paste, and it worked fine.

  • muffinsforpiya 23 Jan, 2010

    I've made this cake 3 times and it's a wonderful recipe, with a beautiful smooth texture thanks to the cake flour. It's never lasted more than 1 day in my house because it's such a tasty cake!
    Perfect recipe.

  • jenniferpierson 2 Sep, 2009

    So you put the cocoa into the 1/3 or the 2/3?

  • tridreamin 9 Feb, 2009

    This cake came out perfectly and delicious. I substituted buttermilk with plain yogurt (same amt) and did everything by hand (no mixer) - quick, easy, impressive. THANK YOU for a great recipe that was exactly what I was looking for.

  • mjcristina 8 Sep, 2008

    I baked this marble cake buy I do not recommend it

  • kitkath 7 Apr, 2008

    Oops, you are right, 1/3 of the error...anyway it was very good although I used a loaf pan and it wasnt as high as I would have liked it...thanks

  • kmgafill_sbcglobal_net 9 Mar, 2008

    Just looking this over and it is 1/3 of the batter and not one third of a cup! Hope that helps :)

  • kitkath 7 Mar, 2008

    i just baked this marble cake but havent tried it problem is how could 1/3 cup of batter mixed with the cocoa be enough to make the above checkerboard. Maybe it should have been 2/3 cup of batter to save for the cocoa. I added extra batter to the 1/3 cup.

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