This marble cake is simply divine, swirled with chocolate and paired with a scrumptious frosting made with fresh cherries. A match made in food heaven. Why choose between chocolate or vanilla when you get to enjoy both flavours in every bite of this tender cake? And the frosting, speckled with real bits of jammy cherries, really is the proverbial ‘cherry on top’.
I’ve just recently returned from my annual visit to Kelowna, British Columbia, a beautiful city located in the Okanagan wine region. Along with its giant lake and wineries, Kelowna is known for its bountiful fruit orchards. Last year I brought home a basket full of rich, dark cherries and created my fresh cherry frosting.
This visit the cherries happened to be in season again and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to remake that scrumptious frosting. But I wanted to make a special cake just for it. Chocolate and cherries go so well together, so I decided to create this beautiful marble cake.
how to make marble cake
Now, before you begin baking, it’s very important to first make sure that your butter, eggs, and buttermilk are all room temperature. Plan to set them out well ahead of time so that you’re not stuck twiddling your thumbs while waiting later.
Preheat your oven to 350°F with the rack centred, and grease a nine-by-five inch loaf pan with butter before lining it with parchment paper.
Mix together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set it aside for now. In another medium bowl, mix together the dutch-processed cocoa powder with two tablespoons of hot water. Mix well then set it aside for now as well.
Whip the room temperature butter until smooth, about two minutes. Add in the sugar and beat together on medium-high until light and fluffy, about four minutes. These steps are crucial to achieving a light and delicate cake texture.
Lower the speed and add the room temperature eggs in one a time, mixing well after each. Add in the vanilla extract and mix well.
Alternately mix in the flour mixture and room temperature buttermilk in the following order: flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour. Make sure to fully incorporate after each addition, but be careful to not overmix the batter. [As soon as dry ingredients are added into a batter you have to be wary of overmixing.]
the marble effect
Transfer one third of the cake batter into the bowl with the cocoa powder and water mixture. Gently stir until the cocoa is just fully incorporated into the batter, being very careful to not over-mix.
Spread the remaining two-thirds of the vanilla batter out over the bottom of a large bowl.
Spoon the chocolate batter into several dollops over the top of the vanilla batter.
Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the batter over itself two to three times. Move the batter from the bottom of the bowl and flip it over the top. Don’t overdo it or it will lose the marble look.
Gently transfer the batter into your prepared loaf pan and use the rubber spatula to smooth down the top. Smack the bottom of the pan on your countertop a couple times to help release any air trapped in the batter.
Bake the cake until an inserted toothpick comes out almost clean, about forty to forty-five minutes. Don’t over bake it or the cake will lose its soft and tender texture. Cool the cake in the pan for ten minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.
decorating the cake
Wait until the loaf cake has completely cooled before you decorate it. If you’re really not into frosting, this cake is delicious enough to not need it. Instead you can just give it a pretty dusting of icing sugar.
However, if you are a fan of frosting, my fresh cherry frosting tastes spectacular with the marble cake (the cake was made for it, after all). I also decorated it with halved and whole cherries, as well as some edible chamomile flowers from my garden.
I used a Wilton 4B tip to pipe one batch of my cherry frosting in large puffs over the top of the cake and a ring around the bottom.
It’s so fun cutting into marble cakes because you won’t know what it will look like inside until you do. The spontaneous swirls of chocolate are so pretty, not to mention delicious.Print
This delicious cake is swirled with chocolate and paired with a dreamy fresh cherry frosting. A match made in food heaven!
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp dutch-processed cocoa*
2 tbsp hot water
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature**
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack set in middle. Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan with butter then line it with parchment paper.
Mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Mix together dutch-processed cocoa powder and hot water in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Whip butter for about two minutes until smooth. Add sugar and beat on medium-high for 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Lower speed and add eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add vanilla and mix well.
Alternately add flour mixture (3 parts) and buttermilk (2 parts) in this order: flour – buttermilk – flour – buttermilk – flour. Fully incorporate between each addition but be careful to not overmix.
Transfer 1/3 of the batter into the bowl with the cocoa/water mixture. Stir until just fully mixed together, without overmixing.
Spread the remaining 2/3rds of the vanilla batter over the bottom of a large bowl. Spoon the chocolate batter into several large dollops over the top of the vanilla batter. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the batter over itself 2-3 times, moving the batter from the bottom of the bowl onto the top. Don’t overdo it or you will lose the marbled effect.
Gently transfer batter into prepared loaf pan then smooth down the top. Smack the bottom of the pan on countertop a couple times to help release any trapped air.
Bake the cake until an inserted toothpick comes out almost clean, about 40-45 minutes. Don’t overbake. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.
Cool cake completely before decorating. Dust with icing sugar or frost with my fresh cherry frosting. I used a Wilton 4B tip on a piping bag to decorate this cake.
* Dutch-processed cocoa powder has been treated with an alkaline solution to neutralize the cocoa’s natural acidity. This makes it react differently than natural cocoa powder in baking.
** It is very important for butter, eggs, and buttermilk to be room temperature for this recipe.
Keywords: marble cake