Chocolate Marble Cake

Chocolate Marble Cake | Photo by Zoë François

My 15-year-old is not one to spend time cooking, so when he does I watch with delight. Turns out he’s been paying attention. He moved with confidence and ease as he made this chocolate marble cake, so there is hope he’ll leave home someday with at least a few skills in the kitchen. Truth be told, on this occasion I’d asked him to bake me a cake, because he owed me one. That, by the way, is a euphemism for the fact that he’d done something I wasn’t entirely thrilled with. He invited his friend over to help and they set out to bake me a cake with all the intensity and focus of real pastry chefs. It was awesome and tasty!

Henri and Sophie | ZoeBakes 02

Henri and Sophie wanted to make a chocolate marble cake, so I helped them find a recipe they could do without a lot of input from me. We chose a white cake from Carole Bloom’s The Essential Baker, since her recipes and directions are always spot on. Henri made the white cake and then Sophie and I adapted it to have cocoa powder for the chocolate marbling. Not jumping in is hard for me, but I got behind the camera and let them go, because I knew Carole’s recipes wouldn’t fail.

Chocolate Marble Cake

with Carole Bloom’s White Cake from Essential Baker

*Makes three 8-inch or 9-inch cakes (They actually baked it in four 6-inch cake pans. The kids ate one layer as soon as it came out of the oven and I used the other three to decorate.)

White Cake Batter:

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/3 cup cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Cake Batter:

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup cake flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt


Mocha Buttercream

To bake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the cake pans with butter and parchment circles. *See above for sizes.

Mix each cake in the same way:

Henri | ZoeBakes 01

That look says… “Seriously mom!? More pictures?”

Cream the butter or 2 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and continue creaming until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl as needed, about 2 more minutes. Lower speed and add each egg, one at a time, blend until incorporated and scrape bowl as needed.

Mix together the milk and vanilla in a measuring cup.

In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add this to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk mixture. Start and end with the dry ingredients. Scrape bowl as needed.

Henri and Sophie | ZoeBakes 01

The two batters went into the pans and then they swirled together to make the marbling. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the pan.

Assembling a Chocolate Marble Cake | Photo by Zoë François

By the time the cakes came out of the oven and cooled, Henri and Sophie were off and running to the next event, so I took over the icing. The recipe I used was one I got from my friend, Sarah Kieffer, from her upcoming book based on her website The Vanilla Bean Blog. I can’t share the recipe yet, since the book is still in the works, but I promise it is well worth the wait. Until then, you can use this mocha buttercream, which is also delicious and one of my favorites.

Chocolate Marble Cake | Photo by Zoë François

To get the striped effect on the cake I used a cake comb.

Chocolate Marble Cake | Photo by Zoë François

Someone on Instagram described it as a “tin can,” because of the tall, thin cake and combed sides. I love that!

Chocolate Marble Cake | Photo by Zoë François  Chocolate Marble Cake | Photo by Zoë François

Chocolate Marble Cake | Photo by Zoë François

The chocolate marble cake Henri and Sophie baked is incredible and the marbling came out perfectly. I got my cake and they gained some new skills in the kitchen, everyone wins.

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13 thoughts to “Chocolate Marble Cake”

  1. This is lovely, and funny, my darling Zoe! How big Henri has gotten too! OMG, seems ages since I have seen you all!

    Quick question…
    What are the baking times for this recipe? I know there are a few pan options, but what was the timing?

    Love the look of the cake too, charming all around!



    1. Oh Charlie,

      What a joy to see your name. I miss you both so much, where does the time go? It’s been a crazy time here in the tundra and I’ve just looked up to notice another year went by. I hope I’ll get to see you soon!

      Thanks for prompting me, in such a gracious way, to finish writing the recipe! Ha. I added the times.

      xoxo z

  2. Great post, Zoe! I think asking your kid to bake a cake when he’s ‘done something you weren’t entirely thrilled with’ is the perfect way to prove a point: he has to take a moment to reflect on whatever it was he did, hone a useful life skill AND everyone gets to eat cake at the end. It’s genius!

  3. Oh, I so love the 6 inch cakes! Perfect size for us. OK, who am I kidding? He’ll eat a slice and the rest is mine. Love your son cooking: my boys are into their 30’s now and both love cooking. Before marriage the younger one said he could cook anything with the grill/smoker and a crockpot. Even in the snow they grill. Your recipes are always divine.

  4. I know that teenage look all too well. I applaud their beautiful cake (and your creative parenting). I love the smaller pan size too. More layers=more frosting!

  5. Wow. Sure looks tempting! Unfortunately I cannot eat anything chocolate. Causes migraines. Yeah. Awful I know. However, plain vanilla, buttermilk cake is fine and dandy though. Love seeing your son do the baking! He’s definitely enjoying it. ; ))

  6. So it looks like the white and chocolate cake are very similar with the ingredients. Could you just add ½ of the amount of cocoa to ½ of the white cake to make the chocolate? In case you really don’t want so much cake? I know unheard of, too much cake.

  7. Thinking about buying 6″ pans. How do you adjust baking time? Is there a rule? I didn’t see times in the recipe. Looks divine!

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