I love a good loaf cake because they are great for snacking, for a lunchbox treat, for serving with afternoon tea. My repertoire of loaf cakes includes:
- a chocolate espresso pound cake that is very chocolate with a hint of coffee flavour
- mini cardamom banana breads because banana and cardamom taste so great together!
- a cardamom buttermilk loaf cake with chunks of banana, because I love banana with cardamom so much, I made a big buttermilk loaf cake
- Christina Tosi’s compost cake, a.k.a. a butterscotch chocolate chip pretzel chip loaf cake, which is a play on Milk Bar’s compost cookie recipe, an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cookie of sorts with chocolate chips, potato chips, oats, coffee grinds, and more
- matcha loaf cakes, which are mini loaf cakes baked in a mini loaf cake pan (get it on Amazon)
- chestnut loaf cake with cranberries, which is a good loaf cake during the winter months
How to make marble cake step-by-step
This chocolate and vanilla marble cake recipe is based on a simple vanilla cake recipe made with sour cream for a more moist crumb. Some people overcomplicate marble cake recipes by making two separate batters and then swirling them together. So they make a chocolate batter and then they make a vanilla batter, both from scratch. Then they swirl them together in cake pan. I prefer to start with one basic vanilla cake batter, which you split in two once the cake batter is made. At that point, you flavour half the batter with chocolate. Here are the steps to make this easy chocolate marble loaf cake:
- Make vanilla cake batter: make one batch vanilla batter, enough to fill a loaf cake pan. I like a vanilla cake made with sour cream which makes it more tender and more moist.
- Split the vanilla cake batter in two: to achieve the marble effect, obviously you need batters of two different flavours and/or colours. Therefore the second step to marble cake is to split the vanilla cake batter between two bowls.
- Flavour half the batter: you have two options for flavouring the chocolate batter for a marble cake:
- add melted chocolate to one of the bowls, containing half the batter. This gives you a chocolate cake batter with a little extra fat, a good chocolate flavour, without contributing to the dry ingredients leading to a dryer chocolate swirl. I prefer to add melted chocolate. Make sure to use a dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa (at least 70%), with a deep dark chocolate flavour, and that is not too sweet. I use Cacao Barry 70% Ocoa dark chocolate, available at IGA stores in Quebec and online at Vanilla Food Company. Remember that real dark chocolate isn’t the same as chocolate chips or compound chocolates, which contain vegetable fats (often hydrogenated) and also more sugar. Consult my guide to the types of chocolate for everything you need to know about buying chocolate for baking.
- add cocoa powder to one of the bowls, containing half the batter. This may lead to a slightly dryer chocolate layer because you are adding an extra dry ingredient. On the plus side, using cocoa powder to flavour the chocolate batter of a marble cake recipe means that you are adding a deeper, more concentrated chocolate flavour.
- Swirl the two batters to make the marble cake effect: Once you have the two batters made, you must dollop both chocolate and vanilla cake batters, alternating in the loaf pan, to layer the two cake flavours. Finally, you can run a knife or a small offset spatula through the cake batters to gently swirl them without overmixing. If you mix the two batters in the cake pan too much, the swirl pattern will not be as nice so only run the knife through the batter a little.
If you would like to make a chocolate orange marble loaf cake, you have two choices:
- add orange zest at the very beginning of the recipe when you cream together the butter and sugar. In this way, both the chocolate and vanilla cakes would be flavoured with orange
- add orange zest to only half the vanilla batter. This way, only the vanilla portion of the marble cake will have an orange flavour. So, split the vanilla cake batter in two: add melted chocolate to one half of the cake batter, and add orange zest to the other half of the cake batter. Proceed to layer and marble these two batters in the cake pan
Marble cake without sour cream
I like to add sour cream or other acidic dairy products (buttermilk, yogurt, acidified milk, etc.) to my cakes. Sour cream and other acid sources help to reduce gluten development when mixing, leading to a more tender, moist cake with a softer mouthfeel. This cinnamon chocolate chip bundt cake made with sour cream is a perfect example of that. If you want to make this recipe, but you don’t have any sour cream, you can still make this marble loaf cake with crème fraîche (if you can find it), or better yet, greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Preferably, go for a greek yogurt with 2% to 5% fat, if not more, though this recipe would also work out with a fat free greek yogurt. Opt for an unflavoured plain greek yogurt, as opposed to a vanilla yogurt, if possible.
FOR THE BEST CHOCOLATE MARBLE CAKES, USE REALLY GOOD CHOCOLATE!
The key ingredient in a recipe for chocolate marble loaf cake like this is the dark chocolate, which means you MUST use the best dark chocolate for baking because it is providing both flavour, structure, and texture to this dessert. For this recipe, I used Cacao Barry Ocoa 70% dark chocolate, which is a professional quality dark chocolate that you can buy in IGA grocery stores in Quebec and online from Vanilla Food Company. It comes in 1 kilo resealable bags as pistoles (which resemble giant chocolate chips) which make most baking projects super easy because you don’t even have to chop it to melt it!
Chocolate and vanilla marble cake recipe
This chocolate and vanilla marble cake is very easy to make (in fact, I whipped it up by hand with a wooden spoon and you don’t technically need a mixer). The marble cake is also very moist because it’s made with sour cream. Sour cream makes this cake moist and also helps give cakes a more buttery, moist mouthfeel. This loaf cake has a strong chocolate flavor too. This recipe yields the best marble cake that many other recipes claim to make, but few actually do. Make this marble pound cake cake recipe. Trust me: it’s that good.
Anna Olson's marble pound cake
This marble pound cake has a great buttery flavour and a lovely moist texture because it's made with sour cream. The chocolate cake part is made with dark chocolate. This marble pound cake makes a lovely accompaniment to afternoon tea.
- 250 grams all purpose flour 2 cups
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 173 grams unsalted butter 3/4 cup, room temperature
- 200 grams granulated sugar 1 cup
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 160 mL full fat sour cream 2/3 cup
- 113 grams Ocoa 70% dark chocolate from Cacao Barry 4 oz, melted
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Brush a 9×5-inch loaf pan with melted butter, then dust with flour, tapping out the excess. Set aside for later. For the loaf pan, I recommend either the Oxo Good Grips Non-stick Pro loaf cake pan (available on Amazon) or the Nordic Ware Aluminum 1 pound Commercial loaf pan (available on Amazon)
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside for later.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until it is light. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add the vanilla and mix again.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients to the batter, alternating with the sour cream.
- Scoop out half the vanilla batter into a medium bowl. Mix the melted chocolate into it.
- Dollop the vanilla and chocolate batters into the prepared pan and swirl them a little with a knife or spoon.
- Bake the loaf for about 70 minutes, or until a cake tester poked through the center comes out clean.
- Let the loaf cool for about 30 minutes before unmolding it onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For this recipe, use a dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa and that isn't too sweet. I recommend Cacao Barry Ocoa chocolate, which is a 70% dark chocolate that is sold in 1 kilo resealable bags in IGA grocery stores in Quebec and online at Vanilla Food Company.
For the cake pan, I have two recommendations of pans that I like to use:
- Oxo Good Grips Non-stick Pro loaf cake pan (available on Amazon)
- Nordic Ware Aluminum 1 pound Commercial loaf pan (available on Amazon)
*Calories calculated based on assumption that loaf cake serves 12.
This post is sponsored by Cacao Barry. I was compensated monetarily and with product. Thanks for supporting the companies that allow me to create content for Kitchen Heals Soul. As always, please know that I wouldn’t work with a sponsor nor recommend a product if it wasn’t worth it.
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