I have specific bakers who I really love their recipes for different kinds of cake - for example Stella Parks. Because she doesn't have a recipe for a marble cake, I'm trying to decide whether I'll be successful when trying to marble two of my favorites of her cakes.

Some of the concerns I have relate to density of batter - for example, a chocolate cake that's more fudgy/dense might prevent a lighter vanilla cake from rising properly. The two recipes I'm looking at are found on the Serious Eats website - Chocolate, vanilla. I've created a table below with the amounts of primary ingredients for comparison purposes, as a note, both recipes are supposed to be for a three-layer cake:

Ingredient Chocolate Vanilla
Flour 9 oz all purpose
3 oz cocoa powder
16 oz all purpose
Sugar 16 oz light brown 16 oz granulated
Butter 12 oz 8 oz
Liquid 12 oz coffee
6 oz chocolate, melted
16 oz whole milk
Eggs 6 large, cold
3 yolks, cold
3 large, room temp
Leavening 1 tbsp baking soda 4 1/2 tsp baking powder

With all of the extra eggs, the density looks concerning. Is it? Would I have more success if I find another chocolate cake recipe that's more similar to the vanilla cake?

While there's an existing question that focuses on baking temperature and time, I'm curious whether there are other factors worth considering.


1 Answer 1


I wouldn't mix those two cake recipes, personally. The chocolate cake is much more dense than the vanilla, with almost twice as much liquid. Further, in the recipe, the vanilla batter is fluffed up, whereas the chocolate cake isn't (and can't be). I would assume that, if you mixed those two, what would come out of the oven would actually be two layers, with the chocolate on the bottom.

When I worked in a bakery, how we did the marble cake was that the chocolate portion was exactly the same recipe as the vanilla, with 10% of the flour swapped out for cocoa powder.

  • And (to me) that's the big downside of marble cakes - the chocolate parts look so tempting, but they're actually a disappointment, just being a slightly chocolate-flavoured n sponge cake (note UK usage of sponge as in Victoria sponge, which includes butter).
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 15:18
  • 1
    Not gonna argue with you. I made lots of marble cake in my time, but I didn't eat it.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 15:18

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