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Friday, June 19, 2009

Marble Cake Recipe


I don’t really know what to call this marble cake. It’s not quite a pound cake and it’s not quite a butter cake. I guess the best way to describe it would be to say it’s my hybrid version of both (Marbuttle?)

When I was in Malaysia, I baked a lot of cakes using my Third Aunt’s Butter Cake recipe (and even that has been modified because I used to put in 8-10 eggs) but when I got to the US, I found that pound cakes were very popular. Even though I liked them, I found that the ones that I tried to bake up were too dry and too sweet for my Asian tastebuds.

After many trials, I’ve come up with this version that is a hybrid of both and every time I bake it, I never have any leftovers! As a matter of fact, someone who recently had some told me it’s the best marble cake she’s ever had, and I have to agree, it’s that good!

It’s All About the Ingredients

I’ve baked this marble cake so many times lately (3 times in a week) that I can tell you that it’s a very easy recipe (also super fattening so thankfully, I baked it for others all those times). It doesn’t take too much effort for such a delicious cake. The trick is to use good butter and also good chocolate. For those who are die-hard chocolate fans, stick to the good stuff. But even with Nestle chocolate chips, I’ve found it’s still good.

The other important ingredient is plain yogurt. That is what makes the whole cake so hard to resist! Somehow, it just complements the buttery flavors and kicks up the vanilla/chocolate tastes.

I find that a marble cake is best when the chocolate part doesn’t overwhelm the vanilla bit so unless you love your chocolate immensely, make sure to take out a bit more than half of the vanilla portion before mixing the chocolate to the rest of the batter.

For the chocolate part of this marble cake, I normally just eyeball the chocolate (so I decided to measure at the last bake and it’s roughly about 100g of chocolate) and put it in a microwave safe bowl and nuke it at 30-second intervals, stirring between intervals, till the chocolate is all melted. Also, do make sure that your bowl is completely dry as any water will cause the chocolate to seize up and never come together in a smooth paste. I have also sometimes added a tablespoon of cocoa powder (Dutch process cocoa powder or natural, doesn’t quite matter) to the chocolate portion along with the melted chocolate. And when I’m feeling naughty, I’ll sometimes add some Grand Marnier to it too!

This recipe does give you a really big cake and I’ve found that when I’m baking it in my fancy bundt pan (Nordic Ware Star bundt pan which has a 10-cup capacity), it will overflow. It works very well to put them into two loaf pans or use a bigger bundt (I have a cheaper, 12-cup one that works really well) so do plan accordingly.

Marble Cake Recipe

3 sticks (12 oz) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (I’ve cheated by sticking it in the microwave and nuking at 10 second intervals when I had forgotten to take my butter out of the freezer)
scant 2 cups sugar (I’ve gotten away with as little as 1 3/4 cups)
6 extra-large (large will work too) eggs, at room temperature (but if you’ve forgotten to take it out of the fridge ahead of time, it’s ok, this recipe is pretty forgiving)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 cups (15 oz) bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plain yogurt (if you can use full fat, do so)
scant 1/2 cup milk (whole is better—I know, this is not a fat-free cake ok?)
100g (3.5oz) semi-sweet chocolate (morsels are fine, but if you can use really good dark chocolate, do so—the chocolate flavor will be more pronounced)
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. Put chocolate in a dry, clean bowl and melt in microwave oven in 30-second intervals, stirring till you get a smooth paste. Remove and let cool a little.

Smooth, Melted Chocolate

Smooth, Melted Chocolate

3. In a stand mixer, or a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar till mixture is fluffy and sugar has been cut in well. I normally use 5-6 speed on my Kitchen Aid for about 3-5 minutes.
4. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat on med-high speed for about 20 seconds after each egg, and scrape down before adding the next one.
5. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

Creamed Cake Batter

Creamed Cake Batter

6. Add dry ingredients (I normally add all the baking soda, baking powder and salt in the first go along with the first larger third portion of flour) in three portions, interspersing with the yogurt and milk and stir gently (use stir setting on Kitchen Aid or stir with a spatula). So basically, this means 1/3 dry ingredients, yogurt, 1/3 dry ingredients, milk, final third dry ingredient. Stir till all traces of flour is gone.
7. Take out half (or a bit more) of the vanilla cake batter and drop it around the bundt pan (I’m being lazy, you can just put it into another bowl and wait till the chocolate is done to put them together into the bundt to get a really nice even mix).

Vanilla Cake Batter in the Bundt

Vanilla Cake Batter in the Bundt

8. Add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder and Grand Marnier (if using) to the remaining batter and stir it in till there are no more streaks of white (or as much as possible, a few streaks will not hurt too much).
9. Interspersing globs of vanilla batter with chocolate batter, drop batter into bundt. In my case, I normally unevenly mound the vanilla in three spots around the bundt, then follow that up by placing the chocolate batter in between the vanilla.
10. Using your spatula, twirl the batter together using a figure-eight motion to mix the batter up to get that nice pretty marble design. Don’t overmix lest you get a light brown cake. The more practice you get doing this, the better your marble cakes begin to look. The flavor won’t be affected even if you don’t get it too right so don’t worry about it too much.

Swirling Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Batter in the Bundt

Swirling Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Batter in the Bundt

11. Smooth out the top of your bundt/loaf pan and put cake in oven to bake. If you’re using loaf pans, start to test the cake after about 40 minutes. If using your bundt, it will need about 1 hour (test after 55 minutes). Cake tester should come out clean when it’s done. I always know when it’s almost ready—the house will smell heavenly!

Finished Marble Bundt Cake

Finished Marble Bundt Cake

A note about using a bundt pan—do invest in a good quality, non-stick one. I really do like the Nordic Ware Pro versions, they are sturdy and work well (a little costly but if you look around, there are deals to be found—I got mine at Costco around Christmas time for under $20) AND they come in all these cool shapes and sizes.

It’s the most awful thing when your bundt pan fails on you and you have cake that doesn’t come out in one piece. Another good trick is to use a non-stick spray to ensure that the cake will come out well. Also, please don’t let the cake sit in the pan for too long (cool it for about 10 minutes and then invert). If you do, it will be much harder to take out.

Enjoy! And please don’t blame me for the hit it’ll take on your hips…I’ve been there myself and have to now restrain myself to baking it for other people and stealing a slice if I happen to be around to share in it (or sometimes, I save a little bit of the batter and bake a cupcake or two to save for myself).

Cheers, Annie

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Hungry for more cakes? Click below:

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Marble Cream Cheese Cake Recipe

Malaysian Honeycomb Cake Recipe

Easy Green Tea Tiramisu Recipe

Third Aunt's Butter Cake


Gina said...

The name "Marbuttle" definitely has my vote!  I also like the idea of using plain yogurt--I recently accidentally discovered this as a "secret ingredient" and I've been experiementing with it in lots of recipes lately.  I like the tangy tenderness it adds to baked goods. I've also tried it with some success as a substitute for mayonnaise.  Anyway, thanks for sharing the yummy-looking cake! 

Food Gal said...

Fancy! A little chocolate, a little vanilla. Marble bundt cake satisfies all. ;)

foodcreate said...

I love bundt cake !

Thanks for sharing your recipe:)

Stop by, Join, Post a comments.

Have a great Day~

Christina said...

You know what is the funniest thing though? It's how you said it's okay for the cake to have a lot of butter because it's eaten by other people anyway! That was exactly what happened to my marble cake. Other people just devoured it away. :-)


Jo said...

Marble cake is one of the first few cakes I had baked ages ago. The addition of yogurt certainly does make cakes more moist and soft.

Cynthia said...

Send me a slice.

Sippity Sup said...

ar I already commented on the gorgeous cake! Are you editing me. Not that I blame you. I do tend to be a loose cannon! GREG sippitysup

Anonymous said...

Can i use fresh milk + a lil bit of condense milk?

Poorni Pillai said...

The cake looks sculpted- so very perfect. Really beautiful!

Ange said...

Can I ask if the plain yoghurt should be sweetened or unsweetened?

Meredith said...

Do you think this cake would work as a layer cake? I've had a request from a friend to make a marble layer cake with a chocolate ganache frosting for his birthday and I'm desperately seeking a recipe!! This one looks delicious!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@all - thanks for your comments!

@Gina - yogurt as a substitute for recipes or like a spread?

@Food Gall - oh yeah!

@foodcreate - thanks!

@Christina - I hope you saved a little for yourself!

@Cynthia - sure, just send a self addressed, stamped envelope. ;-)

@Greg - well I got rid of that other commenting system because it was just not working.

@Anonymous - no, I don't think so. You lose the tang of the yogurt. I would rather you try sour cream instead.

@Miakoda - thank you!

@Ange - our recipe calls for plain, unsweetened yogurt.

@Meredith - I don't see why this cake couldn't be turned into a layer cake. With chocolate ganache! Fantastic.

James said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
npm said...

What a nice marble cake! The texture looks very good!

sweetdreams said...

Thank you for this recipe! Made it yesterday and loved it. But I can't get the marbling as perfect as I'd like. Am a fellow Singaporean and just spent 3 weeks in Honolulu! Love it there. Mahalo!

maheshpr4 said...

hey i just now come acrosss ur blog...nice blog.......just like looking the cake it makes me feel hungry....keep going..nice posts

Striving4Jennah said...

This cake is superb! My husband LOVED it and he's usually not a fan of chocolate in cakes. He couldn't believe I made it myself. He thought it was from the store!

Yogurt, Milk, and butter all contribute to the wonderful creaminess and fluff of this cake. I was a little apprehensive to use SIX eggs, but totally worth it! I wouln't tweak this recipe at all!

I've already made it twice. I used Hershey special dark semi-sweet chocolate and tiny spoon of swissmiss cocoa powder. The second time I also added one dark chocolate lindt truffle!! Yummmmm. I will definately try some finer brands next time! I wonder if hazelnut-milk chocolate will go well with this cake?

Anonymous said...

awesomeeee recipeee.... one can hardly go wrong if you follow exactly what is given... the cake was mind blowing...

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@npm - thanks!

@sweetdreams - (love the handle!) if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

@Flavia - now *that's* the kind of comments we really love to hear! Do try with some better quality chocolate.

@Anonymous - "mind blowing"? wow. great testimonial ;-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great recipe!!

Anonymous said...

I love your marble cake! It was a bit of a disaster though but it was my fault. I over filled my 22.5cm cake pan (and I use only 1 3/4 cup of sugar so it didn't taste as sweet) and the middle portion was wobbling after 60 minutes! I have to scoop out the middle liquid and put into 2 mini loaf tins and bake them. As for the cake pan, I tried to bake it for another 15 minutes, hoping the middle portion will be baked through. It's didn't quite work so I cut out the middle and ate the sides! It was delicious! a little dry since I "overbake" it. The mini loaf tin went well!


Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Es - whoops! I'm glad at least that it tasted good :-)

treasurekeeper said...

hi nate & annie..

i found ur blog thru while searching for marble cake recipe. we (my sis & I) made it last friday.. the recipe was yummy!! i love it so much.. but i think that we overbaked it coz it was a bit dry. and it cracked in the middle. anything that i did wrong??

thank you for the great recipe :)

Gerry said...

Well, I went into it with a Marble Cake in mind, but I ended up with a Paisley Cake!! I guess I was a little over enthusiastic about the swirling a figure 8. The cake was nice and moist although you are right, it does have the density of a pound cake. I might cut down on the sugar the next time (yes there will BE a next time!) and although I didn't taste the tangyness from the addition of the yoghurt, the cake turned out nicely so will just keep that in there.

Your cake turned out beautifully. Mine got a bit stuck even though I was very generous with the greasing. I got the Bundt pan from Wilton's.

Unknown said...


Khan Kee. I think you should really sit down with my sis n mom n have a long chat on baking....not me though..i only know how to eat..muhahah

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@treasurekeeper - we're glad you liked it! Sometimes, the cake will crack like that.

@Gerry - yeah, be gentle with the swirling. But keep at it, sounds like you're doing great!

@Khan Kee - thanks! We'd love to sit down at some master's feet!

chb said...

I tried-out half the recipe last night but the cake - split and remained uncooked in the middle. I do not have baking soda , so i doubled the quantity of baking powder. Is it okay to do that ?
But your cake looks irresistible and moved me enough to try it out as my daughter's kindergarten birthday cake.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@anuradha - you really should try to stick to the leavening called for. The cake is supposed to split a little, but the doubling of the baking powder probably caused it to split more. As for the undercooking, if the cake tester doesn't come out clean , then bake it for 10 more minutes and check again.

Good luck on your next attempt! Let us know how it goes for you.

chb said...

hi again
i live in Germany and all measurements are in grams. Possible that I know the gram measurements - not sure if my conversions worked-out right, you know? thanks again..

Nate @ House of Annie said...

Hi - you can either use the Cultiverter widget on the right sidebar, or Google.