This easy Marble Cake recipe features a moist and flavorful chocolate and vanilla sheet cake that’s topped with a rich and creamy double chocolate buttercream frosting. It’s irresistibly fun and delicious!

three pieces of marble cake


An Easy Marble Cake Recipe

Looking for an easy Marble Cake recipe that’s absolutely irresistible? Well, here it is – topped with a delicious yet simple double chocolate buttercream!

This cake is dense and moist, with an almost pudding-like texture. And that’s because of the sour cream.

I’m a big fan of using sour cream when baking. Sour Cream Banana Bread, Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Ripple, and Rhubarb Sour Cream Coffee Cake are some of my favorite recipes!

And then let’s talk about that frosting. 

This is a FANTASTIC double chocolate buttercream, made with both melted semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder. The chocolate frosting is thick and creamy and easily spreadable, with a rich and chocolatey flavor.

It’s literally THE icing on the cake!

I am not a good from scratch cake baker but this recipe turned out perfectly.  The frosting recipe is perfect and I used it all on my cake.  No leftover frosting!  Will definitely be making this recipe again and again!  Thank you for sharing this great recipe.

baked marble cake without frosting

What Is A Marble Cake?

A marble cake is made using both a light colored batter and a dark colored batter. The batters are subtly blended in the same cake pan, to produce an intriguing streaked or mottled appearance. Typically, a marble cake is mostly vanilla, with streaks of chocolate.

This easy marble cake recipe is very fun to make, almost like a little art project. You start out by making one larger batch of yellow/vanilla batter, and then remove a portion of it and add chocolate to make the chocolate batter.

To get the marbled effect, simply spread the yellow batter into the sheet pan. Then dot the top of it with spoonfuls of the chocolate batter. Finish by swirling the two batters together with a butter knife to create the pretty marble design. It’s fun AND easy!

Recipe Ingredients

This decadent sheet cake is made with quality chocolate, sour cream, and some pantry staples.

See the recipe card below for exact measurements and full instructions.

  • Semi-sweet chocolate – I use a semi-sweet chocolate baking bar for the chocolate batter in the cake and semi-sweet chocolate chips in the buttercream frosting. In both cases, you want to use a quality brand, like Guittard or Ghiradelli.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder & baking soda – Help the cake rise in the oven, plus adds tenderness to the cake.
  • Salt
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter, and let it soften so it’s easy to mix into the batter. You’ll also need it for the frosting.
  • Sugar
  • Eggs – These give structure to the cake while adding rich flavor and a moist texture.
  • Pure vanilla extract – This provides the flavor base for the cake.
  • Milk – Whole milk is ideal.
  • Sour cream – Makes the cake uber moist, with a lovely dense texture. Plus it adds a bit of tangy flavor.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – Enhances the rich chocolate flavor in both the cake and the frosting.
  • Powdered sugar – Sweetens the frosting and helps to create a smooth, spreadable texture.
  • Half & half – Thins the frosting just a bit to achieve the perfect texture.

How to Make Marble Cake

Here’s how to make this easy marble cake recipe – get ready for some fun in the kitchen!

  • Melt the chocolate. Gently melt the semisweet chocolate in the microwave. Set aside to cool.
  • Make the vanilla cake batter. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. Beat the eggs in one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture on low speed, then add the milk. Add another 1/3 of flour, then the sour cream, and finally the remaining flour. Beat between each addition.
  • Make the chocolate batter. Spread 3-1/2 cups of the vanilla batter in a lightly sprayed pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and baking soda. Stir this into the remaining batter, along with a tablespoon of sour cream and the cooled chocolate. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Create the marble cake effect. Add dollops of the chocolate batter over the vanilla batter. Use a butter knife to swirl through the batter to create the marble effect. Tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
  • Bake. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Cool completely on a baking rack.
  • Melt the chocolate. Microwave the chocolate chips until they are halfway melted, then stir vigorously until smooth. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, until just barely warm.
  • Make the buttercream. Whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the butter with the chocolate, dry ingredients mixture, half & half, and vanilla, until smooth and creamy.
  • Spread the buttercream. The final step, spread that beautiful chocolate frosting on top of the cooled cake. Then cut and enjoy!
marble cake with chocolate frosting

Tips for Success

Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing your marble sheet cake.

  • Use quality chocolate. The key to a marble cake where you can actually taste the chocolate flavor? Using quality semi-sweet chocolate. I like to use Ghiradelli or Guittard.
  • Don’t overbake the cake. This cake is meant to be very moist so be sure to not overbake it. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with no crumbs.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely. The cake needs to be completely cool before adding the frosting, otherwise the butter in the frosting can get melty and lose its creamy, fluffy texture.
  • Make sure the melted chocolate is cool. After you melt the chocolate for the frosting, allow it time to cool. If it’s hot when you add it to the other ingredients, it’ll just melt the butter.
pieces of marble cake on plates

Serving Suggestions

A sheet cake is always a great idea when serving a crowd, and this recipe is no exception. You can easily cut 24 larger pieces from this cake, and more pieces if you cut them smaller.

The cake slices up clean and removes from the pan like a dream. No frustrations here!

With the cake’s pudding-like texture and rich flavor, plus the decadent chocolate buttercream frosting, I think it’s best served all on its own. But of course, feel free to add a scoop of ice cream if you like. Our daughter requested this cake for her 12th birthday – and with birthdays, ice cream is A MUST with cake!

How to Store Leftovers

  • Counter. Store any leftovers in an airtight container (or cover the cake pan with a lid or foil or plastic) and the cake will keep well on the counter for 2-3 days.
  • Fridge. You can also store your marble cake in the fridge for up to 5 days. Again, keep it in an airtight container or tightly covered. I personally love to eat this cake when it’s cold!
  • Freezer. You can freeze slices of the cake as well, for up to 3 months. Just be sure to use a freezer-safe container with a tight fitting lid. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then enjoy.

More Easy Cake Recipes:

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two pieces of marble cake

Marble Cake

Yield: 24 servings
prep time: 30 minutes
cook time: 20 minutes
total time: 50 minutes
This easy Marble Cake recipe features a moist and flavorful chocolate and vanilla sheet cake that's topped with a rich and creamy double chocolate buttercream frosting. It's irresistibly fun and delicious!
4.4 Stars (132 Reviews)


for the marble cake:

  • 1 ounce good quality semisweet chocolate
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Morton kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon sour cream divided
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • teaspoon baking soda

for the double chocolate buttercream:

  • ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons half & half
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon Morton kosher salt


  • For the marble cake: Preheat oven to 350° F. Very lightly spray bottom and sides of a 15" x 10" x 1" rimmed pan with cooking spray. This is the pan I use. Set aside.
  • In a small cup or bowl, gently melt the semisweet chocolate. Take care to not let it scorch. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally, until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, just until smooth. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, beat in one-third of the flour mixture, then the whole milk, beating after each addition, just until smooth. Repeat with flour mixture and then ½ cup of the sour cream, ending with flour mixture, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Spread 3½ cups of vanilla batter evenly into pan.
  • In a small cup or bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and baking soda. Add to remaining vanilla batter along with remaining 1 tablespoon of sour cream and cooled melted semisweet chocolate. Fold until thoroughly combined into a chocolate batter. Spoon chocolate batter by generous tablespoonfuls evenly onto vanilla batter. Cut through mixture several times with a butter knife for marbled design. Firmly tap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles and settle the batter evenly into the pan.
  • Bake 20 to 22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Set on baking rack to cool completely.
  • For the double chocolate buttercream: In a medium microwave-safe bowl, gently microwave chocolate chips uncovered until they are about halfway melted. Take care to not scorch the chocolate. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, until just barely warm.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, baking cocoa, and kosher salt. Add butter to melted and cooled chocolate, along with powdered sugar mixture, half & half, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Spread on top of cooled cake. Cut cake into pieces and serve.


adapted from

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 Calories: 309kcal Carbohydrates: 35g Protein: 3g Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 11g Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 66mg Sodium: 70mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 25g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles or tag @farmgirlsdabble!
two pieces of marble cake on plates
piece of marble cake with a yellow candle
girl with a malt
Celebrating our daughter’s 12th birthday with malts and marble cake!

This post was originally published in 2019 and then updated in 2023.