Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake

Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake
Finally a cake that I’m proud of. A cake that rises! Haha

About 2 months plus ago I baked a very simple marble cake simply because I wanted to learn the basic of baking. The first trial did not went so well. The outcome was a shorty cake!

I re-examine what I did wrong.

1. I used a different cake tin size.
– I’m suppose to use a 20cm cake tin. Mine is 24cm. Figured surely no problem. What do I know?
– Guess it’s time for me to invest a new pan.

2. Baking powder is too old?
– According to Troubleshooting Butter Cakes @ Joy Of Baking, usage of old baking powder is one of the cause.
– Tested my baking powder for ‘fizziness’ with hot water (to see if the baking powder is still good). It has some fizz effect but I won’t know it’s good until I have a new one to compare.
– Baking powder expiry date is December 2010.

3. Wrong creaming method/Over folding.
– Seriously I always thought creaming of butter and sugar is simple stuff. After reading Baking 911′s Creaming Method, I don’t think so anymore.
– My mixture became lumpy after adding flour and milk. It’s suppose to be like that but I didn’t know at that time so I over mixed it. Gulps!

I can take point 1 and point 2 out. Point 3 = main suspect.

For this 2nd trial, I used exactly the same ingredients and cake tin but I did 2 things differently.

1. I make sure my butter is in room temperature.
When I think back, I realized my ‘room temperature’ butter was on its way to melting (during 1st trial). That’s one of the problem.

2. Previously I added the eggs to the butter+sugar mixture in about 3 rounds. But this time it’s like more than 10 rounds. Read EXTRA TIPS… far below.

The result of my 2nd trial:

Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake
Looks short ain’t it? (camera trick?) I assure you the highest it goes is 6cm and the shortest is 4.5cm.

Compare the above with this:

My Failed Marble Cake
LOL. 2cm in height!!! Hahaha The only thing I’m proud of is its swirling. Very pretty eh.

Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake
Ahh now you see it? It’s tall eh? The only thing I don’t like is its swirling. Can’t really blame myself as I limit the amount of chocolate used in this recipe. I just dislike the taste of Van Houten cocoa powder. So I divided the cake mixture into 2/3 vanilla and 1/3 chocolate.

Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake
Ohhh I see so many air bubbles. 🙂

The texture is light and smell of the delicious butter. However like others who had tried this recipe, I agree with them that this cake is a little dry. Those who are trying this recipe should consider adding a little bit more butter I guess.

Question: Why do we need to add milk? HELP anyone??

Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake
Still this recipe couldn’t beat the yummylicious Marble Butter Cake from Yut Kee. Tsk, I have doubt Yut Kee uses real butter though.

Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake
Adapted from Rachel Allen, Bake
20cm round cake

225g butter, at room temperature
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
225g plain flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
50ml milk
50g cocoa powder, sifted

1. Preheat the oven to 180oC. Butter and flour a 20cm cake tin and line the base with baking paper.

2. Cream butter until soft. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

3. Mix eggs and vanilla extract in a small bowl and mix well. Add the eggs mixture slowly to the butter+sugar mixture while the mixer is on. Add flour and baking powder and fold in gently to combine. Add milk and gently mix to combine.

4. Pour half of the cake mixture into another large bowl. Slowly fold in the cocoa powder into one of the bowls.

5. Place cake mixtures into cake tin by alternating vanilla batter with the chocolate batter spoonful by spoonful. Use a toothpick or skewer and swirls the cake mixture to create marble effect. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

6. Cool the cake on wire rack before serving.

Cream butter – cream butter until it looks like plastic (2-3 mins)

Beat sugar & butter until mixture is light and fluffy – beat with mixer about 10 minutes

Gradually add eggs to sugar+butter mixture – add little by little
(according to Rachel Allen: if eggs are addded in large quantity, the butter & sugar will not be able to absorb the egg properly. Whole mixture will curl thus give you a slightly heavier cake)

Sift in flour & baking powder – sift them ALL in

Gently fold in the flour – fold gently. Don’t beat coz it will toughen the cake. Once you’ve added baking powder to the cake mixture you need to work quickly because the baking agent will take effect.


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  • Reply carine August 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    this is beautiful. failures gives us chance to learn more and bake better. I am still facing the frosting challenge!

  • Reply Che-Cheh August 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Hi Carine, oh yes. Next I want to learn to make a good buttercream. Good luck on yours. 🙂

  • Reply Swee San September 7, 2010 at 10:45 am

    If you add milk, you can add 1/2 flour, milk, 1/2 flour. That way, it absorbs better. I’d use up 150ml of milk for this recipe, seeing that the flour amount is reasonable.
    You can also use a lower temp like 170C but bake for another 10 minutes longer, makes the cake less dry.

  • Reply Che-Cheh September 7, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Swee San, ahh ic. Thanks for the tips!

  • Reply nadra July 25, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    hi there.. this is my first time to bake a marble cake.. there is one question that is making me confused.. question is what kind of milk do you add?? i mean like do we add the dry milk or the milk we drink??

    • Reply Che-Cheh July 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm

      Hi Nadra, I use the milk we drink (e.g. HL milk)

  • Reply dionnete nottage April 23, 2014 at 11:20 am

    next time do easy steps please i am just learning

    • Reply Che-Cheh April 23, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      I will. Next time. 😉

  • Reply Minnie February 1, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    I’m baking a marble cake for the first time and that too in a microwave at convection mode. What do you suggest??

    • Reply Che-Cheh February 1, 2019 at 6:42 pm

      Hi Minnie, I don’t have experience with baking with microwave. Perhaps you can check the instruction manual of the microwave and see what it says.

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