Chocolate marble layer cake recipe (with gluten free option)

Published July 20, 2010 5:01PM (EDT)

Chocolate marble layer cake (with gluten-free option)


  • 2¼ cups cake flour or Featherlight gluten-free flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (if using gluten-free flour)
  • 1 cup almond flour sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 scant cups white sugar (superfine works well)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavoring
  • ½ teaspoon fiori di sicilia (a citrus-vanilla extract)
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 2/3 cup valrhona unsweetened cocoa, sifted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of two 8-x-3- or 9-x-2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment and butter. Coat with flour. Tap out excess.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together sifted flours, xanthan gum (if using), baking powder and salt. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Add flavorings. Mix together milk and cream. Add flour and milk-cream mixture alternately until incorporated, being careful not to overmix.
  3. In a bowl, mix sifted cocoa with boiling water until it is sludge. Scoop about 3 cups of the batter into the chocolate mix. Whisk until incorporated.
  4. Alternate scoops of chocolate and vanilla batter in baking pan until both pans are filled evenly. Using a butter knife, gently draw a figure 8 to marble the batter.
  5. Tap pans on counter to settle the contents and remove air bubbles. Give pans a quick shake and place in oven. Bake about 35 minutes until lightly brown or toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool 5 minutes and turn out on a rack. Cool completely.
  7. Cut each layer in half.
  8. Brush with simple syrup, if desired, and frost with your favorite: dark chocolate glaze, ganache, buttercream or combination.

Notes: To marble correctly, don’t mush the knife through when you make that figure 8. Make sure to draw distinct lines, and working it less is more. Really. In the photo, I used both ganache and buttercream just because I wasn’t sure which I wanted. Next time I will use a thinner layer of ganache between the layers and pour a glaze over the top and sides. Still, there is no such thing as too much chocolate.

Bon appétit, and let us eat cake.

By Lisa Horel

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