Marble Cake

Marble Cake on TheShiksa.com

The idea of marbling two different colored batters into a cake originated in nineteenth century Germany. Marble cakes made their way to America with German immigrants before the Civil War. Originally the cakes were marbled with molasses and spices. One of the first recorded recipes for marble cake appears in an American cookbook called Aunt Babette’s Cook Book: Foreign and Domestic Receipts for the Household, published in 1889. This recipe replaced the traditional molasses and spice batter by marbling chocolate into the cake, a reflection of a new American obsession with chocolate. The cake remained popular throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. According to the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food by Gil Marks, “Many Jewish bakeries in the New York area in the 1950’s through the 1970’s would distinctively add a small amount of almond extract to the chocolate marble cake, creating a version sometimes referred to as a ‘German Marble Cake’ that had a characteristic almond aroma.”

Here is my recipe for marble cake, which has become a family favorite over the past few years. I flavor my marble cake with almond extract as a nod to the classic German Jewish recipes. In a slightly modern twist, I also add dry instant vanilla pudding mix to my batter. This little trick is a fantastic way to add moisture and flavor to your cakes; it also helps to thicken the batter, which provides the perfect texture for marbling. Be sure to use instant pudding mix, not cook-and-serve; just sift it in dry with the flour. It creates a wonderful texture and locks in moisture so the cake doesn’t dry out as quickly. It also gives a lovely vanilla essence to the batter, which blends nicely with the almond extract. They certainly weren’t doing it this way in Germany 150 years ago, but sometimes it’s fun to improve on tradition. Try it!

For instructions on how to marble a cake, click here.

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Marble Cake on TheShiksa.com

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup dry instant vanilla pudding mix (about one small 3.4 oz package)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup very hot water

You will also need

  • 8- or 9-inch loaf pan, electric mixer, three mixing bowls (large, medium, small), whisk
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Servings: One 9-inch marble cake loaf
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Note: be sure that the pudding mix you choose is instant and that you only use 1/2 cup of the mix, otherwise the batter will not thicken and marble properly.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the cake flour, vanilla pudding mix (in dry powdered form), baking powder, and salt.
  • In a larger mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whip together the butter, sugar, eggs and almond extract for a few minutes till the mixture turns light yellow.
  • Beat in half of the milk and half of the sifted flour mixture, then beat in the remaining milk and flour mixture. Whip until the batter is smooth and creamy.
  • Rinse and dry the medium mixing bowl that you used for the sifted flour; you’ll need it again soon. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and 1/3 cup of very hot water till smooth.
  • Pour a little less than half of the cake batter into the medium mixing bowl that you rinsed out. Whisk in the cocoa powder/water mixture till fully combined and smooth. This is your chocolate marbling batter.
  • Reserve the rest of the batter—this is your light cake marbling batter.
  • Generously grease your loaf pan using butter or cooking spray. Pour the light and dark cake batters into your loaf pan and marble them. If you don't know how, check out this post with printable instructions: How to Marble a Cake
  • Bake the marble cake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely on the rack.
  • This cake will keep at room temperature for 3-4 days; wrap in plastic wrap or foil to seal in the moisture.

Other Great Recipe Ideas

Pass the Sushi: Caramel Frosted Zucchini Bread

Eat the Love: Chai Chocolate Orange Marbled Brioche Loaf

Brown Eyed Baker: Buttermilk-Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake

Two Peas and Their Pod: Blueberry Lemon Loaf Cake

Comments (51)Post a Comment

    1. Hi Dore! Sub non-hydrogenated margarine for butter (I like organic Earth Balance buttery sticks). If the margarine is salted, cut salt to 1/4 tsp. For the milk sub, I’d stick to a thicker non-dairy milk like So Delicious coconut milk or a non-dairy creamer (the batter needs to be thick in order to marble; almond milk or soy might be too thin, though I haven’t tried it so I can’t confirm that.) Finally, make sure your instant pudding mix is pareve. Jello sugar based instant vanilla pudding and pie filling is certified pareve (look for the hechsher to be sure): link to ok.org Enjoy!

  1. Just looking at the recipe…is there something I could use instead of the vanilla pudding mix?? That is an impossibility here in England!! Would custard powder work? (To me they taste the same) thanks

    1. Hi Lynn, I developed this recipe over three years ago and I´ve always used pudding mix in it, so I´m not sure offhand about a sub. Custard powder is similar to instant pudding powder, from what I read, so it might be worth a try… but I can´t promise since I haven´t tried it myself. If I come across a better sub I will let you know!

    1. Hi Ilana! Sub non-hydrogenated margarine for butter (I like organic Earth Balance buttery sticks). If the margarine is salted, cut salt to 1/4 tsp. For the milk sub, I’d stick to a thicker non-dairy milk like So Delicious coconut milk or a non-dairy creamer (the batter needs to be thick in order to marble; almond milk or soy might be too thin, though I haven’t tried it so I can’t confirm that.) Finally, make sure your instant pudding mix is pareve. Jello sugar based instant vanilla pudding and pie filling is certified pareve: link to ok.org Enjoy!

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Looks delicious, and can substitute the products and make it to our eating habits. I will use the milk due to your comment…..so I go into the kitchen to measure the sub products, so tomorrow I can make the cake,,,,,,,,and I am out of almond extract 0-)

  3. Hi Tori!
    Love your recipes! Do you have a recipe for a sweet challah using about 8-9 cups flour?

    Is it necessary to use high-gluten flour only?

    Thanks!

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Just took two out of the oven; they look and smell wonderful. Can’t wait to try. Thanks for the great recipe.

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. All my adult life I’ve been trying to find Ebinger’s Bakery Marble Cake recipe (Their famous Chocolate Blackout Cake is in a few cookbooks and online) . I’ve tried dozens of marble cake recipes. I can still smell it when my mom would bring it home. It was definitely the almond extract that made it so unique. I made yours and it was “oh-so-close”. Made it again and doubled the pure almond extract to 1 Tablespoon. Viola, almost a home run! Your marbling directions also helped me to marble correctly. Thanks so much for bringing the delicious the memories to life.

  6. Made this last night! I had to substitute vanilla for the almond extract (not a big fan of almonds). The cake was rich and moist…and scrumptious! Can’t wait to try your other recipes!!

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    It came out lovely and moist (although I didn’t marble it as I should have). Besides the cocoa I added a few pieces of 85% chocolate in the choloate mix and orange syrup on top. So it is really chocolatey with a touch of orange. Yummy! I also used raw cane sugar instead of normal one. Perfect with a cup of coffee. Posted a photo of it on facebook, link provided.
    Thank you Tory for the recipe and the photos provided.

    1. Ilonka, I’m not sure what you mean by a “lieu if cake batter.” Do you mean the batter was too liquid? If so, it is very likely that you did not use instant pudding in the recipe. If you use any other kind of pudding than instant, this problem can occur.

  8. I’m looking for a good marble recipe but I need to make it in a 1/2 sheet cake pan. Have you ever made this in a larger cake pan?

  9. I really love your Mabel cake recipe, I have never made it before, I wish to try it now but I don’t understand your measurement in cups, can you please explain to me in grm and ml.

    1. Hi Esther, here you go:

      Marble Cake

      Ingredients

      130 grm cake flour
      55 grm dry instant vanilla pudding mix (make sure it is INSTANT pudding!)
      10 grm baking powder
      3 grms salt
      110 grms unsalted butter, room temperature
      200 grms sugar
      3 eggs
      7 ml vanilla extract
      175 ml milk, room temperature
      30 grm unsweetened cocoa powder
      80 ml very hot water

      Preheat oven to 176 degrees C.

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