Marble Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Super moist chocolate and vanilla swirled marble cake frosted with vanilla bean buttercream frosting and dark chocolate ganache! 

Hello friends, it’s been like a whole month since I posted a cake recipe! I’ve been wanting to make a marble cake recipe for you guys for the longest time but I feel like there are so many recipes out there. One thing I did notice is that most of them are made with chocolate buttercream so I changed it up a little with vanilla bean frosting! 

Ok, let’s talk about the details. We have a fairly dense vanilla and chocolate marbled cake. It’s frosted with a vanilla bean buttercream frosting and each layer is also topped with a dark chocolate ganache. It really is the best of both worlds here. 

How to make a marble cake? 

Marble cakes are much simpler than you would think. Some recipes may have you make two separate cake batters for the vanilla and chocolate but I’m not that cruel. I made a basic vanilla cake recipe, using C&H Golden Brown Sugar for extra moisture and flavor, of course. Then I separated the batter in half and added the last ¼ cup of flour to one half and a ¼ cup of cocoa powder to the other half. 

To create the marble cake layers, just place globs (I used a 2 Tbsp scoop for this) of the vanilla and chocolate batter into the cake pans, filling it about halfway. Then use a toothpick to go back and forth, creating swirls. Make sure to get close to the edge of the pan as well, you want the batter to blend well. 

Important ingredients for marble cake with buttercream frosting:

  • Flour: I use all-purpose flour for this recipe, I wouldn’t swap it for cake flour. 
  • Cocoa Powder: I use a high quality dutch-process cocoa powder because the flavor is more intense and pleasant and it also doesn’t change the acidity of the cake. 
  • Sour Cream: I have tested SO MANY cake recipes lately and the best flavor and texture came from a combination of milk and sour cream. 
  • Butter and Oil: I use a combination of unsalted butter and oil because butter gives good flavor but oil helps keep the cake more moist for a longer period of time. 
  • Vanilla Bean Paste: kind of necessary for the vanilla bean buttercream, unless you have real vanilla beans.

How to make vanilla bean buttercream frosting?

Alright friends, we need to chat about this for a second. If you bake cakes occasionally or frequently, I HIGHLY recommend vanilla bean paste for the buttercreams. It is a total game changer. It’s certainly more pricey than an imitation vanilla extract but it’s really not that much more than a high quality vanilla extract. 

I ran out recently and started using some cheap vanilla (that just smelled like alcohol) and my desserts were bleh. The second most important step in this vanilla bean buttercream is whipping. Make sure to whip the frosting for a solid 5 minutes on medium high speed after adding in the C&H Confectioners Sugar. 

This chocolate and vanilla bean marble cake with buttercream frosting is definitely one of my favorites. It doesn’t get much better than combining chocolate and vanilla in such a beautiful way.

If you make this, make sure to rate and leave a review. Don’t forget to tag me @baranbakery on instagram and let me know what you think. As always, have a blessed and happy baking!

Love, B

Yield: 8-10 slices

Marble Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream Recipe

Vanilla Bean Marble Cake

Chocolate and vanilla cake swirled together to create a marble cake, frosted and layered with vanilla bean buttercream and chocolate ganache!

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes


Marble Cake

  • 2 cups + 1/4 cup (240g + 30g) cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled and split
  • 1 Tbsp (14g) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup (118mL) canola oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (170g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (177mL) milk, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (26g) unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  • 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 cups (420g) C&H Confectioners Sugar, spooned and leveled
  • 2-4 Tbsp (30-60mL) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp (8g) vanilla bean paste

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup (6 oz) dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (118mL) heavy cream


Marble Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease and line three 6-inch (15.24 cm) cake pans. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the 2 1/4 cups (270g) of flour, baking powder and salt. Set the dry ingredients aside. 
  3. Use a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, to beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together, on medium-high speed, for 1-2 minutes. Add in the oil and beat for another minute, at full speed.
  4. Add in the eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition for about 30 seconds. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in the sour cream and vanilla and mix just until they’re combined. 
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture to the batter, followed by the milk and the other half of the flour. Beat the mixture on medium speed, just until the flour is fully incorporated, making sure to scrape all the flour off the edge of the bowl.
  6. Separate the batter in half into two separate bowls, there should be about 45 oz total. Add the reserved 1/4 cup (30g) of flour to one half and the cocoa powder to the other half.
  7. Place globs of both batters into the cake pans, distributing the batter evenly among all three. To create the marble effect, use a toothpick or a knife to swirl the batter back and forth a few times.
  8. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake springs back when it’s poked or a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the pans and allow them to cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream

  1. Place the room temperature butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes, until the color turns to a pale yellow.
  2. Add the salt and the powdered sugar to the butter and mix on low speed, just until it's combined. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat the buttercream for at least five minutes, until all of the sugar is fully dissolved and the buttercream no longer feels gritty. 
  3. Pour in the heavy whipping cream and vanilla bean paste and beat for another 2 minutes on high speed. If the buttercream is too soft to frost, refrigerate it for 10-15 minutes before frosting.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Place the chocolate chips is a medium size bowl and set it aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, bring the cream to a gentle simmer. You want there to be bubbles around the edge of saucepan. If you accidentally boil it (bubbles everywhere), let it cool for a minute.
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and cover it for 2 minutes. Then use a spatula or fork to gently stir the cream into the chocolate until it's completely melted and smooth. Refrigerate the ganache for 5-10 minutes, just to cool it enough to spread on the cake.


  1. If the cakes are domed, trim the tops off to make them flat.
  2. Use 1/4 of the buttercream to frost the first layer and then use 1/4 of the chocolate ganache on top of the frosting. Repeat for the second layer.
  3. Place the third layer on top, smooth out any buttercream that squeezes out between the layers and refrigerate the cake until it's firm.
  4. Remove the cake from the fridge. Place the rest of the buttercream on top of the cake and use an offset spatula to work it's way down the sides. Use a bench scraper to smooth out the edges and leave the rugged edge at the top of the cake, as a border.
  5. Reheat the chocolate ganache for 10-15 seconds in the microwave, mix it until it's smooth and pour on top of the cake, filling it to the frosting borders. Top with macarons, gold foil, blackberries, a dusting of powdered sugar, etc.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 885Total Fat: 56gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 156mgSodium: 213mgCarbohydrates: 94gFiber: 2gSugar: 82gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @baranbakery or #baranbakery

This post was sponsored by C&H Sugar, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Baran Bakery possible!

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  1. Made this the other night for a market that I bake for… it turned out dry… I am extremely careful to not over mix any if my cakes.. I followed the recipe and instructions carefully.. baked under the time recommended.. what did I do wrong?

  2. Hi! I wanted to make this cake but was wondering if I could replace the Vanilla Bean Buttercream with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream? Do you have a recipe I could follow? Thank you!

  3. Hi, I want to make this recipe, but I have a question. Is the whipping cream with sugar or without sugar? Since the chocolate is dark chocolate 🙁 and I want to know if I can substitute sour cream with Mascarpone cheese?

    • Hi Jenni, it’s heavy whipping cream straight from the bottle not whipped with sugar. You can use milk chocolate but I would reduce the cream to 1/3 cup then instead of 1/2 cup.
      I’ve never baked with mascarpone before (besides using it in frostings) so I can’t say for sure. You can sub the sour cream for yogurt or buttermilk though.

    • Hi! If you make it 48 hours in advance it will still be good but it would stay more fresh if you let them cool for an hour, wrap them in plastic wrap, place them in a freezer bag and freeze them.
      Then you can frost it while they’re frozen and leave it at room temperature until serving.

      • Thanks so much. I want to make a 5 layer cake. So if I was to double this recipe and make 2 separate batters, adding 2/3 cocoa to one batter and 1/2 cup to the other, this should be OK?

      • Thanks so much. I want to make a 5 layer cake. So if I was to double this recipe and make 2 separate batters, adding 2/3 cocoa to one batter and 1/2 cup of flour to the other, this should be OK?

      • Hi Sonja, theoretically yes but I haven’t tried it ? you can also just try making my 6 inch vanilla cake and my 6 inch chocolate cake and swirling the two. You would get 6 layers if you did that though but I know for sure it would work lol

  4. Hi! If I wanted to make this into a 3 layer 8 inch cake how much cocoa powder would I add? I would think it would be more than 1/4 cup ; maybe 1/3? Thanks in advance!

  5. This was fantastic! I made it for my boy’s 6th Birthday and it was absolutely amazing. Got me many compliments! I did not get a lot of swirl in my cake but i think it’s because i didn’t want to over do it lol nevertheless it was brilliant and easy to make!
    Ps: I paired it with Swiss Vanilla bean Meringue cream .
    Keeping this recipe!

      • Wanted to make this but with coloring the buttercream frosting and the chocolate ganache, so I wanted to change it to a white chocolate ganache (coloring it yellow). Someone said it might need to be thinned out with coconut oil since white and dark chocolate are different. How would you go about doing this?

  6. Hi! I want to make this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday but I’m not sure about how you did the border on top? You said you used a bench scraper, and I don’t have one, but I do have a offset spatula. Can I do it with the spatula? And how?
    If not is it better to let the chocolate come down?
    Thank you in advance and kisses from Portugal

    • Hi Sofia, yeah you can totally use an offset Spatula or anything with a flat edge. If you can’t get the border high enough to hold the chocolate, just let it drip off the edge, it will still be beautiful and delicious!

  7. This is the most delicious cake my daughter and I have made for the family. We carefully read the recipe (3-6″ cake pans needed) and bought all the necessary ingredients but we kicked quality up by buying Droste cocoa (amazing!) and vanilla bean paste which made all the difference in flavor. Easy cake to make – we used a Bundt pan and baked it for about 45 minutes – perfect color!

    • Hi yes it can, baking time may be around the same time. Once the tops don’t look wet anymore, press on the center slightly and if it springs back it’s done baking! If not give it a few minutes before trying again

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