Ultimate Marble Cake

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A couple days ago we celebrated Abby’s 20th birthday!

Wow.  We are getting old, just like my friend Hannah said in response to Abby’s birthday.

I remember when I was little and was thinking about when I would be 16, then Abby would be 19 and Alex would be 21, and thinking how incredibly old and far-off into the future that sounded.  However, now that it’s a year after the “incredibly old and far-off into the future” age, all I’m wondering is where the time went.  Wasn’t it last year that Abby and I were playing pioneer girls in our backyard with our ever-available neighbor friends?  It makes me think of how fast time goes and remember that God has only allotted a certain period of time on earth for all of us.  I’m not even guaranteed my next breath, much less the rest of the day.  Just thinking that reminds me of how big God really is and how insignificant I am without Him.  Don’t you love those moments?

Time hasn’t just flown by without some good lessons, though.  One of the many I’ve learned was when Abby was in 9th grade.

My mom decided by the time Abby was a freshman that we needed to know how to cook, bake, and be comfortable in the kitchen.  Thus began cooking class.  Abby would look up recipes to make (this is pre-Pinterest, y’all, so she really deserves some respect here 🙂 ) and learn any tricks or seemingly foreign procedures that were in it.  Cooking lingo such as roux, mince, and dredge were also learned.

However, THE biggest accomplishment of her cooking career, in my opinion, has been her chocolate cake.  OH. MY. WORD.  That cake is at the apex of all chocolate cakes.  It’s tender, moist, and so perfectly chocolate.  I’ll have to get the recipe up here sometime soon, because it is seriously out of this world.  We make it for every single birthday and holiday, except my dad’s because he’s a white cake sort of guy.  Did I mention that it was topped with my grandma’s famous Swedish tea ring (kind of like a cinnamon roll, except better) icing?  This cake is also a blue ribbon winner at the county fair, so I believe it’s safe to say that you must try it at least once in your life.  This cake has also taught me that cakes from scratch are always better than store-bought.  Don’t worry, I ate store-bought cakes for most of my childhood and I still had some after my preference was changed, but store-bought just doesn’t compare to the real deal.

Now you must be wondering why I’m raving about this amazing chocolate cake when you clearly see a picture of marble cake as the topic of this post.  I will explain in a few simple words.  Abby didn’t want chocolate cake for her birthday cake this year.  Now, I didn’t really prefer to resort to buying store-bought (my exact words were, “That’s heresy!” in response to my mom’s suggestion that we buy store-bought, but I was purposefully being a little dramatic), so I looked up a new cake recipe to make.

Abby said she wanted marble, so I looked among the surprisingly slim pickings on Pinterest and found Sally’s Ultimate Marble Cupcakes.  Her recipe centered around cupcakes, so I kept all the original recipe and just modified it by cutting out the parts that said “cupcake” and replacing it with “cake” and by adding the parts necessary for the cake part that weren’t in the original.  Now, the recipe was a bit obscure about the pan size for a cake, so I thought that I’d just double recipe to make sure.  The result for a 9×11 pan size was extremely thick, so I highly recommend sticking to one batch, but still doing the 9×11 in. pan.

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This cake is really good.  It doesn’t quite make it to Abby’s chocolate cake, but it’s close.  It’s moist, flavorful, and has that certain savory quality that you just don’t find in cakes from the store.  The frosting is also wonderful and the fact that there’s both chocolate in vanilla frost together makes each bite all the more scrumptious.  I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we did!

Ultimate Marble Cake



1 and 2/3 cups (210g) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1/4 cup (60g) yogurt*

3/4 cup (195ml) milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder


1 and 3/4 cups (210g) confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream or half-and-half (you can use milk, but it will be less creamy)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salt, to taste


1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 and 3/4 cups (210g) confectioners’ sugar

2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream or half-and-half (you can use milk, but it will be less creamy)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salt, to taste

  • Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×11 in. pan.
  • Make the cake: in a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Whisk in sugar – mixture will be gritty. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 minute. Stir in egg, yogurt, 3/4 cup milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick. Transfer 3/4 cup of batter to another medium bowl. Mix in cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon milk until combined. Chocolate batter will be extremely thick.
  • Spread all the vanilla batter into the pan. Spoon the chocolate batter in various blobs throughout the vanilla batter and swirl through the chocolate with a knife.  Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Bake for 20-24 minutes if making cupcakes.) Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.
  • For the chocolate frosting: sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder to assure there are no lumps. Set aside. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sifted sugar/cocoa powder alternately with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition. Once all added, beat on high speed until creamy and combined for at least 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  • For the vanilla frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  • Frost cooled cake with a knife or with a piping bag/tip. If you’d like to just make 1 kind of frosting and not both, make sure you double the frosting recipe of your choice to make sure there is enough for all cupcakes.
  • Store cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refrigerator up to 5.

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