This is the best marble loaf cake recipe - Starbucks has nothing on this one! It’s a chocolate marble loaf cake with swirls of vanilla and chocolate cake batter. We’re using sour cream to make our marble loaf cake moist and the results are amazing!
For more loaf pan recipes, try my Pineapple Banana Bread, my Vegan Gingerbread Loaf Cake, or my Sour Cream Pumpkin Bread with Maple Brown Butter Glaze!
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Marble Loaf Cake - Starbucks Copycat Recipe
If you're a fan of the marble loaf cake from Starbucks, you'll love this one! It's a buttery, moist pound cake made in a loaf pan, swirled with vanilla and chocolate. The best of both worlds! We'll start with an easy pound cake batter and your cake will be done in no time! And don't worry -- it's so simple to make that pretty marbling effect. This easy marble loaf cake recipe is perfect for an easy snack, or to take to a potluck or gathering. And it stores so well so it's a great make-ahead treat!
Why do they call it marble cake?
Because the mix of chocolate and vanilla cake batter creates an effect that looks similar to marble! And it's so simple and fun to create the marbling effect! And then when you cut into the loaf it looks so cool! The best thing about this cake is that no two loaves look alike -- because you're creating the marble design, you can make it unique. You'll love making this -- it's the best marble loaf cake recipe!
How do you get the marble cake effect?
Creating the marble effect on this cake is SO easy! We'll start by dividing our vanilla cake batter, and adding ingredients to some of it to make chocolate cake batter. Then, we'll alternate adding our vanilla and chocolate cake batter to our loaf pan, finally ending up with a swirled top to our loaf to finish off the marbling effect! The weight of the cake batter as it is spooned into the pan creates that swirly effect, and makes the finished result so pretty!
Chocolate Marble Loaf Cake Ingredients
- granulated sugar - adds a nice sweetness to this cake! Granulated sugar also creams with the butter nicely to create a fluffy cake crumb!
- salted butter - I like to use salted butter, but if you prefer unsalted, just add in ½ teaspoon of salt with your dry ingredients.
- eggs - make sure your eggs are room temperature. See below for a tip to get them to room temperature quickly!
- vanilla - be sure to use a high-quality pure vanilla extract. Or better yet, check out my post on how to make vanilla extract at home with just 2 ingredients!
- sour cream - using sour cream instead of milk makes this marble loaf cake moist and delicious!
- cake flour - we'll use cake flour to make this cake soft and fluffy! If you don't have any cake flour, see below for a quick tip to make a cake flour substitute! Your flour should be measured by weight using a kitchen scale or with the spoon and level method.
- baking soda - adds a bit of lift to this cake recipe!
- unsweetened cocoa powder - the added cocoa powder is what makes part of our batter nice and chocolatey and turns this into a chocolate marble loaf cake recipe!
- boiling water - helps to "bloom" the cocoa powder, bringing out the chocolate flavor!
Tips and F.A.Q.
If you don’t have cake flour, you can make a substitute to use for this recipe! All you need is all-purpose flour and corn starch. Just measure out 2 cups of all-purpose flour and replace 4 tablespoons of it with cornstarch. In grams, it’ll be 250 grams of all-purpose flour sifted with 30 grams of cornstarch.
If you don’t have any full-fat sour cream on hand, the closest substitute would be an equivalent amount of full-fat greek yogurt.
It’s important to use room temperature eggs in most baking so that the cold egg doesn’t affect the rise or even baking of your result. If you didn’t have a chance to leave your eggs out to get to room temperature, try this tip. Just submerge the eggs in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes. That will allow them to get to room temperature more quickly and ensure the best chocolate marble loaf cake!
You can store this cake in an airtight container for up to 4 days at room temperature -- if you would like to store it longer, you can freeze it, well wrapped, for up to 2 months.
Some bakers have mentioned to me that they ended up with too much batter for an 8.5 x 4.5 in. loaf pan. This may come from an excess of flour in the batter, which can happen if you measuring flour by volume instead of weight. To prevent this, I always recommend measuring dry ingredients by weight using a kitchen scale or with the spoon and level method. To be on the safe side, you can definitely use a 9x5 inch loaf pan for this recipe as well -- just begin checking the cake after 55 minutes of baking.
If you try this recipe, I would love it if you could leave a star review rating and comment below! It’s so wonderful hearing your feedback! And don’t forget to share your creations with me by tagging @chenee_today on Instagram!
More Pound Cake Recipes You'll Love
Equipment you may need
- 9 x 5 in. loaf pan
- baking spray
- 1 ⅔ cups (333 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (170 g) salted butter - room temperature (1 ½ sticks)
- 4 large eggs - room temperature
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup (153 g) full-fat sour cream - room temperature
- 2 cups (250 g) cake flour - measured by weight using a kitchen scale or with the spoon and level method
- ½ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
- ⅓ cup (29 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup (59 ml) boiling water
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a loaf pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang for easy removal.baking spray
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar 3 minutes until light and fluffy.1 ⅔ cups granulated sugar, ¾ cup salted butter
- Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla and sour cream, mixing well after each addition.4 large eggs, 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, ⅔ cup full-fat sour cream
- Sift in flour and baking soda and mix gently until just combined.2 cups cake flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Spoon ⅓ of the batter into a separate bowl and add cocoa and hot water. Mix until just combined and smooth.¼ cup boiling water, ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Alternate ⅓ cup scoops of vanilla and chocolate batter into the center of prepared loaf pan until all batter is added. Tap loaf pan onto the counter a few times to minimize air bubbles, then gently swirl with a butter knife or toothpick to marble the top of the loaf.
- Bake in preheated oven for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Last Updated on March 11, 2022 by Chenée Lewis