Marble Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Marble cake is perfect for the indecisive.   When chocolate and vanilla hold hands, you get a little bit of both on your fork – no need to choose.  Cover the whole thing in a light, pillowy chocolate buttercream, and you’ve got yourself one classic birthday cake.

When using chocolate to flavor batter and frosting, always use the best chocolate you can find.  I used Ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips…perfectly measured on my new kitchen scale!

When using dry ingredients, sift them before using to remove any lumps.  I love my vintage sifter…  It honestly works better than newer models.

For marble cake, separate a portion of the vanilla batter and flavor it with melted chocolate.

Once baked and cooled, envelop the finished cakes in a lighter-than-air chocolate buttercream.

Turn off the lights and strike a match…

Sing, clap, and pass around the plates. 

A messy cake is a successful cake.

I adored the cake knife, with its ornate rose handle.

And I love my mom and sister Tara, the beautiful birthday girls!

Thank you for letting me make your birthday cake!

Marble Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from Food and Wine

Cake Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifter
1 tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk, room temp
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temp
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Frosting Ingredients
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Making the Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease/flour two 9 inch round cake pans.  For best results, place a circle of parchment in the bottom of the pan, and grease/flour the parchment as well.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  In a cup, combine milk with vanilla.  Set both aside.
  • In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until light and smooth.  Add the sugar.  Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy – around 4 minutes.
  • Add the egg yolks one at a time, stopping after each addition to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add the dry and wet ingredients alternately, in three batches. 
  • Transfer 2 cups of batter to a small bowl and set aside.  Scrape the remaining batter equally into the 2 prepared cake pans.  Add the melted and cooled chocolate into the reserved batter and stir until smooth.  Place heaping spoonfuls of the chocolate batter on top of the vanilla batter, and swirl the two together with a butter knife.
  • Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool the cakes for 15 minutes on a wire rack.  Run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert each onto the wire rack to cool completely.

Making the Frosting

  • In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and egg yolk at medium speed until creamy.
  • Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar.  Mix until combined, then add 6 tablespoons of the cream, vanilla, and salt.  Increase speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy – around 3 minutes.
  • Place the rest of the cream in microwave-safe bowl and add the chopped chocolate.  Microwave for 20 seconds at medium power level, then whisk together.  Repeat process until chocolate and cream are smooth.  Allow to cool for a few moments.
  • Once cooled, add melted chocolate to the buttercream and beat until combined.
  • Place 1 cup of buttercream on top of one of the cake layers, stack the remaining layer on top, then frost the top and sides.
  • Lick the bowl.  Nobody is looking – it’s alright.
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Categories: Cakes & Icings

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13 Comments on “Marble Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting”

  1. January 23, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

    “Chocolate and vanilla holding hands!”–perfect description. And your photos are so tempting. This reminds me why I always loved this cake when I was younger. I think I need to have some again soon! :)

  2. January 24, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    Such a gorgeous cake, the icing makes it look luscious!

  3. diane seavey
    January 24, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Aimee love love love reading your blog. I wish i lived closer to you to taste everything.

    • Aimee
      January 24, 2011 at 11:57 am #

      thanks, aunty diane! maybe someday i can come check out your honeybees and use some honey in a recipe!! xoxo

  4. Fatima
    January 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    Aimee-this looks delicious! Save all of us a piece! :)

    I love your new background (!) but did I read correctly that you will change your website name?! WHAT?! Hahaha, jk! Bring on the changes, I think it will just make everything better!

  5. January 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    Oh man. I want some of that cake! It’s definitely drool-worthy. I’m sure the birthday girl loved it!

  6. January 25, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    Such a beautiful cake Aimee! I have three birthdays to get through next month, can you whip up a few cakes for me? :)

    • Aimee
      January 26, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

      I WOULD, Julie! I keep telling my family “I take requests!” If someone will get it out of my kitchen (and away from my snacking hands) then I will gladly supply it. Haha. I know you don’t need any help, though…you’re a pro!

  7. February 8, 2011 at 6:47 am #

    waow !! what a delicious cake !! and I love your old sifter !!

  8. kayla
    April 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    made this cake, so delish! thanks for sharing it.

    made it for my mothers bday, and she was thrilled!

  9. August 26, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    The cake looks gorgeous. And SUPER delicious, the buttercream frosting is giving me food envy.

  10. August 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    The cake looks amazing :) I have been looking for a sifter like that FOREVER. My mom has one and I love it. But I haven’t had any luck finding one, so if you see another one, let me know.

  11. August 27, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    Oh my gosh this looks delicious. The frosting looks exactly like a frosting I learned to make from my friend’s mom who’s from Georgia. It’s one of the best frostings I’ve ever had.

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