This Marble Loaf Cake is a beautiful and deceptively easy chocolate and vanilla swirled pound cake! The classic flavor combination of vanilla and chocolate and the gorgeous swirls make this marble pound cake an absolute crowd-pleaser. It is moist with a tender, dense texture and is incredibly easy to make.
I love to make this vanilla and chocolate loaf cake with oil for an afternoon snack because it is sweet but not too sweet thanks to the buttermilk and pairs so well with coffee and tea. Because it uses oil, the marble coffee cake stays moist for days!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- There's no need to make two separate batters - you'll just add some chocolate to half of the vanilla loaf cake batter!
- You probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry already.
- This vanilla and chocolate swirl loaf cake has a perfectly moist crumb.
- It's great for an afternoon snack or for dessert!
- You won't need to remember to soften any butter before making this moist marble cake recipe with oil.
- This marble bread uses pantry staples including all purpose flour, granulated sugar, and baking powder.
- Instead of butter like many cakes use, this loaf cake uses vegetable oil which keeps it extra moist. You can use any other neutral flavored oil, like canola.
- Buttermilk gives this cake a slight tang and helps balance out the sweetness.
- Vanilla extract and unsweetened cocoa powder flavor the vanilla chocolate marble loaf cake batter.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions & Variations
- For extra chocolate flavor, mix in ½ cup mini chocolate chips to the chocolate cake batter and top the cooled cake with a chocolate ganache.
- Make a chocolate covered strawberry variation on this loaf cake recipe by adding strawberry jam or freeze dried strawberry powder to the vanilla cake batter.
- If you don't have buttermilk, you can make your own by mixing whole milk with a splash of vinegar. Or, substitute with whole milk kefir or slightly watered-down Greek yogurt.
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
How To Make This Marble Loaf Cake
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, granulated sugar, salt, and baking powder.
Step 2: In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until light and fluffy then mix in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract.
Step 3: Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
Step 4: Transfer half of the cake batter to a clean bowl (or reuse the wet ingredient bowl) and fold in the cocoa powder and hot water.
Step 5: Alternately pour or scoop the vanilla batter and chocolate batters into a prepared loaf pan.
Step 6: Bake at 350°F until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
Expert Baking Tips
- Grease your loaf pan and then create a parchment paper sling so it your marble cake comes out of the pan clean.
- Using two spoons or two ice cream scoops (one for each batter) makes transferring the batter to the loaf pan easy and clean.
- Make an easy chocolate ganache to top off this marble loaf cake! Just heat ⅓ cup of heavy cream to a simmer, pour it over ¼ cup of high quality dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips, cover and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, stir it with a spatula until it's smooth.
I use the USA Pan standard 1 pound loaf pan. It measures about 8.5x4.5 inches, so a 9x5 inch loaf pan will also work for this recipe.
You will create a marble effect by alternating vanilla and chocolate batters in your loaf pan. You can also swirl the batters together using a skewer.
It's delicious as is, but if you want to make it extra sweet and elegant, drizzle a chocolate ganache or vanilla glaze over the top!
Store marble loaf cake in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
This cake freezes very well! Wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and then store together in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Vanilla and Chocolate Marble Loaf Cake
- Loaf pan 8.5x4.5 or 9x5 inches
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour weighed in grams or spooned and leveled
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil or other neutral oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons hot water
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Then, mix in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until the flour streaks are all gone. Then, transfer half of the batter into a separate bowl and gently stir the cocoa powder and hot water into it.
- Alternately spoon the vanilla and chocolate batters into the prepared loaf pan to create a marbled effect.
- Bake on the middle rack until a toothpick comes out of the center clean (about 55-70 minutes). Let it cool for 10-20 minutes, then lift it out of the pan and move it to a wire cooling rack.