This easy marble loaf cake, is a delightful snacking cake with a pound cake-like texture and a swirl of chocolate and vanilla in every bite.
This moist chocolate and vanilla snack cake has the perfect blend of the comforting taste of vanilla with the rich warmth of chocolate.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
This cake is so easy to make and is perfect for those days when you want to whip up something quick yet impressive. This cake reminds me of the texture of a quick bread, but it’s also close to a pound cake texture. It’s kind of the best of both worlds.
I find this cake super versatile as well. It’s not just for dessert, it’s great as a snack, or even for breakfast.
What’s great about this cake:
- Swirls of Flavor: A marbling effect with chocolate and vanilla swirls.
- Simple Yet Sophisticated: Easy to make with everyday ingredients but comes out beautifully sliced.
- Decadent Glaze: A simple, smooth and rich chocolate glaze adds an extra layer of indulgence.
- Versatile Serving Options: Ideal for breakfast, lunch, snack, or dessert.
Main ingredient notes:
(The printable list of all ingredients are in the recipe card below.)
All-Purpose Flour: This is the structure of the cake.
Sugar: Sugar is not just a sweetener; it’s crucial for the texture and moistness of the cake. It also helps browning and flavor enhancement.
Unsalted Butter: Butter adds richness, flavor, and tenderness to the cake.
Vegetable: Oil is just going to add a bit more moisture to the cake.
Sour Cream: This adds moisture and helps give the cake a nice texture.
Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder: Cocoa powder provides the chocolate flavor and look in the marble effect.
Strong Coffee or Hot Water: The coffee just enhances the chocolate flavor a bit, but you can always just use hot water instead.
(All of the ingredients are in the recipe card below.)
How to make this cake:
(The full printable instructions are in the recipe card below.)
The first step to make the loaf cake is to melt the butter and let it cool down a bit.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray (or grease) an 8-9 inch loaf pan with non-stick baking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, then whisk well and set aside.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the melted (but not hot) butter, oil, room temperature sour cream, room temperature milk, room temperature eggs and vanilla extract and whisk well.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix by hand with a large spoon or silicone spatula until well combined.
Take out about 1 ¼ cups of the batter and place in another bowl, then add the cocoa powder and the hot coffee (or water) and stir until well combined.
To the prepared loaf pan, add about ½ cup of the vanilla batter and spread smooth across the bottom of the pan.
Add the chocolate batter and the vanilla batter to the loaf pan alternately, using a tablespoon until all of the batter has been added to the loaf pan. Don’t worry about doing this perfectly.
Once all the batter has been added to the pan, take a knife and run it through the batter to swirl both batters together.
Bake the loaf cake approximately 45-55 minutes. Ovens vary so start checking a little early. Once baked, set the cake on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes.
Turn the cake out of the pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack before adding the glaze.
To make the glaze, in a saucepan, add the chocolate chips and milk, then melt over medium heat. Melt and stir until smooth.
If it’s too thick, add about a teaspoon of milk and mix well, then check the consistency again. Repeat until the desired consistency is reached.
Set aside to cool down for at least 10 minutes. Drizzle or spoon the glaze onto the cooled loaf cake.
Note About Recipe Measurements: I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are more familiar with and I don’t want anyone to feel intimidated when baking. For metric/weight measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card below. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s just a best guess. I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results, since I test recipes using volume measurements.
Marble Loaf Cake – Chocolate and Vanilla Snack Cake
For the loaf cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (Measured correctly: Spooned into the measuring cup and leveled off – don't scoop and pack the flour into the cup, that will add too much flour.)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar (If not adding a glaze, you can use 1 ½ cups sugar to make it a little sweeter if desired.)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled down to room temperature (1 stick)
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup sour cream, room temperature (or plain yogurt)
- ¼ cup milk, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons hot strong coffee, or hot water
For the glaze:
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream, or whipping cream (not whipped cream or cool whip)
For the loaf cake:
- In a small bowl, melt the butter and set aside to cool down a little.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray (or grease) an 8-9 inch loaf pan with non-stick baking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, then whisk well and set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the melted (but not hot) butter, oil, room temperature sour cream, room temperature milk, room temperature eggs and vanilla extract and whisk well.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid ingredients into that well.
- Mix by hand with a large spoon or silicone spatula until well combined. Once everything is combined well, stop mixing. Mixing too long will make the loaf cake very dense and rubbery.
- Take out about 1 ¼ cups of the batter and place in another bowl. (You can just use the bowl that contained the liquid mixture.)
- To this mixture, add the cocoa powder and the hot coffee (or water) and stir until well combined. Remember to only stir until well combined as stirring too much will cause the cake to become too dense.
- To the prepared loaf pan, add about ½ cup of the vanilla batter and spread smooth across the bottom of the pan. Add the chocolate batter and the vanilla batter to the loaf pan alternately, using a tablespoon until all of the batter has been added to the loaf pan. Don't worry about doing this perfectly.
- Once all the batter has been added to the pan, take a knife and run it through the batter to swirl both batters together. Be careful not to scrape the bottom of the pan and to only swirl several times. Swirling too much will completely mix the batters together and the loaf cake won't have that marble look.
- Bake the loaf cake approximately 45-55 minutes. Ovens vary so start checking a little early. A toothpick inserted into the middle will come out either clean or with a few moist crumbs on it when it's ready to come out of the oven. Try not to over bake or the cake will turn out dry.
- Set the cake on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes, then turn the cake out of the pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack before adding the glaze.
For the glaze:
- In a saucepan, add the chocolate chips and milk, then melt over medium heat. Melt and stir until smooth. Be very careful not to heat it at high heat or the chocolate will burn.
- Check the consistency once melted and if it's too thick, add about a teaspoon of milk and mix well, then check the consistency again. Repeat until the desired consistency is reached.
- Set aside to cool down for at least 10 minutes. The glaze will thicken up a bit as it cools. Drizzle or spoon the glaze onto the cooled loaf cake.
- See the notes section for best ways to store this cake, serve it and for more FAQs.
If the cake is cold, set it out to come closer to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before serving, or pop a slice in the microwave to warm up a bit. For other questions: Make sure to check out the TIPS & FAQs for this recipe in the recipe post, which should answer other questions you may have about ingredients, substitutions, other pan sizes etc. Nutritional values are an estimate. *This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
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Tips & FAQS:
Unsalted is always best because you can estimate the proper amount of salt that will be added plus salted butter has a different water content than unsalted. However, if you’re unable to get unsalted butter, you can use salted in the cake and the buttercream, but omit the additional salt that each recipe calls for.
Sour cream is best in this recipe as it helps make a moist cake and gives a little flavor. If you don’t have access to it, you can use plain unsweetened yogurt (not flavored). Use the full-fat yogurt instead of the low fat or fat free type.
Don’t use Dutch processed cocoa as it isn’t acidic like cocoa powder and using it would cause the other ingredients to need to be adjusted. If you want more information about the different types of cocoa powder, see this post: Why Do Recipes Say Not to Use Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder?
You don’t, but just know that the cake will not have a coffee taste. The coffee just brings out the chocolate flavor. If you don’t like the idea of using it though, you can just use hot water and it will turn out just as tasty. Just make sure not to completely omit the liquid.
Heavy cream is a heavier milk with more fat. It’s also sometimes called whipping cream, but that’s not the same as whipped cream or cool whip. Whipped cream and cool whip will not work in place of heavy cream as those are already whipped.
This is so that the ingredients will emulsify (mix) better.
In my non-scientific explanation, basically all the molecules need to really get in there and intermingle.
Also, since the butter is melted, if you mix in cold eggs or other ingredients, it will chill the butter back up and cause it to be a little chunky when it needs to be smoother.
The recipe instructions will tell you step by step and there will also be a video right under the recipe that will show how to do it step-by-step.
This cake is done baking when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs on it or clean, but no raw batter.
This cake can be made ahead of time and frozen if desired. Let the baked cake cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and foil and place in the freezer for up to a month.
To thaw, place the wrapped cake on the counter at room temperature and let thaw completely, then remove the wrapping. Once defrosted, add the glaze.
This cake can be stored covered well in an airtight container or in plastic wrap at room temperature for about 5 days. It can also be stored, covered well, in the refrigerator, but needs to be brought back to room temperature or warmed up before eating for best texture. (See how to serve below.)
This cake is best served close to room temperature or warm. Cakes made with butter, like this one, tend to firm up a bit when chilled. The texture is softer and more moist when at room temperature or warm.
If the cake is cold, set it out to come closer to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before serving, or pop a slice in the microwave to warm up a bit.
This cake is more of a pound cake or quick bread type texture and not as fluffy as a layer cake recipe would be.
If you want a marble layer cake recipe, you can find that one here: Marble Cake Recipe
I haven’t tried out this recipe in a bundt cake. There will not be enough batter to fill an average sized bundt pan, so if you do try it, you’ll most likely need to double the batter. I have not tested this out, however, but feel free to experiment.
If you do try it, make sure to grease and flour the bundt pan very well so that it doesn’t stick. Bake at 325 degrees F and start checking at around 45 minutes however it could take longer or less to bake. I cannot say for sure as I haven’t tested this out.
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