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Marble Pound Cake

Marble Pound Cake! A really great pound cake should have an even crumb with a melt-in-your-mouth texture and buttery flavor. This is a really great pound cake with a striking swirls of vanilla and chocolate cake!

a sliced marble pound cake on a cutting board

It took months of baking hundreds of pounds cakes to create my incredibly popular vanilla Pound Cake Recipe. If you’re a baking geek like me, you can read all about how I adjusted the ingredient percentages in this comprehensive post about creating a great cake recipe.

For even more information I created a “Cake Batter Course“. If you’re interested, over 7 classes you can learn all about the ingredients and mixing methods for cake batter.

It’s pretty detailed stuff, but what you learn about baking can be applied to all your recipes, not just cake batter. And it’s free here on Baking Sense.

To create this recipe for Marble Pound Cake I started with my vanilla pound cake recipe. Making a great Marble Pound Cake poses a very specific problem.

How to make the perfect Marble Pound Cake

If you’ve ever made marble cake I think you probably know what the problem is.

Virtually all recipes for marble cake start with vanilla cake batter, then you are instructed to flavor a portion of that batter with cocoa, or cocoa and butter, or melted chocolate to create a chocolate cake batter.

When you take a fully mixed batter and add cocoa or chocolate to that batter, you will inevitably change the texture of the cake. You’ll have a denser chocolate cake mixed with a lighter vanilla cake.

So, how do we get cocoa into the batter without making the chocolate cake heavier than the vanilla cake?

I had to figure out how to replace some of the flour in 1/3 of the cake batter with cocoa, while only mixing one batch of batter.

Directions for making Marble Pound Cake:

  • Step 1- Set aside a portion of the flour before mixing the batter.
  • Step 2- Mix the batter then divide it into two portions.
  • Step 3 – Mix the reserved flour into one of the bowls of batter.
  • Step 4 – Mix a proportional amount of cocoa powder into the other bowl of batter. Now you have two different batters with the same proportion of ingredients.
  • Step 5 – Layer the two batters into the cake pan without mixing or swirling them together. They will swirl together as they bake.

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make a marble pound cake.

set up of batter, pan and cocoa for making marble pound cake
Add flour to 2/3 of the batter and cocoa to 1/3 of the batter.
side by side photos showing how to layer marble pound cake batter
Layer the vanilla and chocolate batter. Use the spatula to make a crease down the center of the cake. This prevents the peak from rising too much.

FAQs about Marble Pound Cake:

What’s the best type of cocoa to use to flavor the Chocolate Cake?

I like to use Dutch processed dark cocoa for a deep dark chocolate flavor and color. I’ve put a link to my favorite brand in the recipe card. (As an Amazon associate I earn money from purchases.)

What’s the best pan for baking a Marble Pound Cake?

I baked the cake in a 9”x 5” loaf pan, but this cake also bakes up nicely in a Bundt pan.

How do I store Marble Pound Cake?

Keep the cake covered at room temperature for 3-4 days. Never refrigerate a cake (unless it has a perishable filling). The refrigerator will make the cake go stale faster.

Can I freeze Marble Pound Cake?

Yes, the cake freezes beautifully. Wrap the whole cake, or individual slices, in a double layer of plastic wrap. Allow the cake to defrost at room temperature in the plastic.

How should I serve Marble Pound cake?

Personally, I don’t think this cake needs any embellishment, other than a sprinkle of powdered sugar for a pretty finish. But the cake is also lovely served with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of ice cream or with fresh fruit.

Can’t get enough pound cake? Sour Cream Pound Cake has an extra moist and tender crumb and Honey Pound Cake has a lovely tawny color and slight caramel flavor. My Chocolate Pound Cake has a deep, rich chocolate flavor and gorgeous dark brown color. If you are cuckoo for coconut, I highly recommend this Coconut Pound Cake.

a whole pound cake on a board with sprinkles of powdered sugar cascading on the cake
a slice of marble pounds cake on a plate

Here are some other pound cake recipes for you to try:

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

Marble Pound Cake

Marble Pound Cake

Yield: 12 slices
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

A really great pound cake should have an even crumb with a melt-in-your-mouth texture and buttery flavor. This is a really great pound cake with striking swirls of vanilla and chocolate cake!


  • 3 large eggs plus 4 yolks (8.5 oz, 238g) room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz, 60 ml) whole milk, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups (8 oz, 224g) cake flour, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 oz, 280g) granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (9 oz, 252g) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3 tablespoons (.75oz, 21g) dutch process cocoa powder


  1. Preheat the oven to at 350°F. Butter and flour a 9"x5" loaf pan or 12 cup bundt pan.
  2. Combine the eggs, yolks, vanilla and half the milk in a small bowl, whisk to combine and set aside. Set aside 1/4 cup of the cake flour.
  3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour with the salt and baking powder. Add the sugar to the flour and mix at low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter to the flour and mix until combined. Add the other ½ of the milk and increase the speed to medium high. Mix for a full 2-3 minutes. The batter will lighten in color and texture. If your using a hand mixer add another minute or two to the mixing time.
  4. Scrape the bowl and paddle thoroughly. On low speed, add the egg mixture in 3 increments, scraping the bowl after each addition. Mix just until the eggs are incorporated. Remove 1/3 of the batter to another bowl.
  5. Sift the reserved 1/4 cup of flour over the 2/3 portion of batter and use a hand whisk to stir until the flour is incorporated into the batter. Sift and stir the cocoa powder into the 1/3 bowl of batter.
  6. Spread 2/3 of vanilla batter into the pan. Drop the chocolate batter over the vanilla batter and gently spread to even it out. Try not to mix the two batters as you spread. Drop the remaining vanilla batter over the chocolate batter. Use the tip of a small spatula to form a crease down the center of the cake.
  7. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (about 55-65 minutes).

Did you make this recipe?

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Saturday 24th of October 2020

How much flour? 1 3/4 cup cake flour weighs 200 grams, not 224.

Eileen Gray

Saturday 24th of October 2020

The weight of a cup of flour is not an absolute. How you fill the cup can make a big difference in the weight of the flour in the cup. I use the "dip and sweep" method to fill the cup. That is, I dip the cup into the flour bin, overfill the cup then sweep away the excess. If you spoon the flour into the cup you'll introduce air into the flour and it will weigh less. I always use the conversion of 4.5 oz of cake flour per cup. The works out to 7.87 oz, which I rounded up to 8 oz for this recipe. I use the conversion of 28g per ounce which is how it comes to 224g. If you want to be very, very exact and use the 7.87 weight then the total grams would be 220.36.


Sunday 16th of August 2020

This cake contains salt but your chocolate pound cake do not contain salt. What is the reason for this. Which cake recipe needs salt?

Eileen Gray

Sunday 16th of August 2020

Both cakes have 1/4 teaspoon of salt in the batter. Perhaps you just misread the chocolate pound cake recipe.

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