This Vanilla Chocolate Marble Pound Cake recipe is a mix of vanilla pound cake and fudgy chocolate pound cake that’s topped with an easy chocolate ganache. Both the vanilla cream cheese pound cake and the chocolate pound cake have the same base batter, making this pretty swirled pound cake incredibly easy.
I’m a sucker for pretty desserts, and this Vanilla Chocolate Marble Pound Cake recipe is so pretty yet so simple to make.
It begins with a classic homemade pound cake base and is transformed into a marble pound cake with just a couple extra ingredients.
Guys, let me tell you this one thing:
This Vanilla Chocolate Marble Pound Cake is a true winner.
If there was a dessert depicting the 100% emoji, it would be this marble pound cake, hands down.
I’m sure this sounds super obnoxious, because these days, everyone is touting their desserts as “the best” this and “the best” that and truly, can any of us say with complete confidence that we have the best recipe for anything?
Dessert is completely subjective and dependent upon a person’s own taste preference.
However (you knew that was coming 😉), I can say with almost complete confidence that if you love a classic pound cake with cream cheese and butter and all the good things in life, and that if you love rich chocolate anything, you will adore this Vanilla Chocolate Marble Pound Cake recipe.
I made this pound cake four different times. Not only did I need to get the bake time accurate, I also wanted to experiment with different chocolate flavors in this recipe.
I may of also had a few mishaps removing the pound cake from the pan, resulting in the need to make another so that I could photograph. Let’s just say, when it comes to pound cake, definitely line the pan with parchment paper to save yourself the headache of having to pull your chocolate marble pound cake out in pieces.
Also, I majorly struggled to get the swirl to look just the way I wanted it to. I mean, honestly, besides me, who cares what the swirl looks like? I’m pretty sure the answer is absolutely no one. But, the perfectionist in me couldn’t handle anything less than a fairly even swirl throughout the cake.
I mean, it also wasn’t exactly a hardship having four pound cakes to sample. 😉 Also, Starbucks Marble Pound Cake? It’s got nothing on this homemade version. 😍
All right, since I made this vanilla chocolate pound cake a bunch of times to test out the different chocolate flavors, let’s discuss what chocolate to use and why.
The short answer is you can use whatever chocolate you prefer (but definitely go for a high quality baking chocolate like Ghiradelli or Baker’s).
I tested with unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate, and each pound cake tasted perfectly with each.
However, each chocolate did give the pound cake a slightly different flavor so the long answer down below will touch on that.
The long answer is:
- If you use unsweetened chocolate, the pound cake will yield an incredibly rich chocolate flavor. Unsweetened chocolate is just that—completely unsweetened, which makes it slightly bitter. That bitterness makes for an unmistakably rich and chocolatey cake.
- If you use bittersweet chocolate, you get an intense chocolate flavor that is slightly sweeter than unsweetened chocolate. This pound cake was rich and chocolatey as well, but it was slightly less rich and the chocolate pound cake was a bit sweeter, yielding an overall sweeter cake.
- If you use semi-sweet chocolate, the chocolate pound cake is unmistakably sweeter in nature. If you’re looking for a sweet pound cake that is full of chocolate flavor but not as intense and rich, use semi-sweet chocolate. I used semi-sweet chocolate for this Chocolate Pound Cake recipe (and it was ah-mazing!).
Due to the fact I love my chocolate as rich as possible, the unsweetened chocolate was probably my favorite. But, I certainly wasn’t turning down any of these pound cakes.
Now, let’s talk about how this marble pound cake bakes.
- The batter for this chocolate vanilla pound cake will fit perfectly into an 8×4 baking pan. You can use a 9×5 baking pan, but the pound cake will cook slightly faster (and it will be a bit longer and thinner than what is pictured here).
- Baking pound cake can be tricky. Due to how thick and buttery the batter is, often times the outside cooks significantly faster than the inside, which leaves you with a dark brown crust on the outside of the pound cake that isn’t all that pretty and sometimes can taste burned.
- The way to counteract that? Bake it low and slow.
- This pound cake bakes at 350 for 15 minutes. The higher heat gives the top of the pound cake the chance to rise and create a dome. Then, you turn the oven down to 300 and bake for another 55-60 minutes. The lower temperature allows the cake to finish cooking evenly, from the middle to the edges without the outside of the cake getting overdone.
Tips and Tricks for this Vanilla Chocolate Marble Pound Cake:
- Both the vanilla and chocolate pound cake batter begin with the same base batter, which makes this a super easy pound cake recipe.
- For the chocolate pound cake batter, all you need is cocoa powder, melted chocolate and milk. I also added some espresso powder, but that’s completely optional.
- The chocolate batter will be slightly thicker than the vanilla batter, and when it’s baked, it’s a bit more dense and fudgy than the vanilla portion (it’s awesome).
- If the top of the marble pound cake begins to get too dark, tent a piece of non-stick foil on top and continue baking.
- The ganache on top is optional. It’s great plain and it’s great with the extra chocolate decadence.
After this Marble Pound Cake, I’d suggest trying this Peach Pound Cake and these Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake Trifles!
- 3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 oz melted chocolate (you can use unsweetened, bittersweet or semi-sweet, see notes in the post for more details)
- 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp espresso powder (optional)
- 3 Tbsp milk
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x4 baking pan with parchment paper (or grease well).
- With a standing mixer or hand mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add in granulated sugar and brown sugar; cream the mixture until well combined.
- Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add in flour, salt and baking powder and mix until just combined.
- Mix in milk and vanilla extract.
- Remove 1 cup of batter and set aside in a medium sized bowl.
- Melt chocolate in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl. Once melted, allow the chocolate to cool 1-2 minutes.
- Sift cocoa powder and espresso powder (if using) into the 1 cup of batter, and mix until combined.
- Add in milk, and mix until combined.
- Lastly, mix in melted chocolate, mixing until combined.
- Spoon 1/3 of the vanilla batter into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
- Dollop half of the chocolate batter on top.
- Spoon 1/3 of the vanilla batter on top.
- Dollop the remaining chocolate batter on top.
- Spoon the remaining 1/3 of vanilla batter on top of the chocolate.
- With a knife, swirl the batter together.
- Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 and bake for another 55- 60 minutes, or until a cake tester comes clean. If the top of the pound cake is browning too quickly, tent a piece of non-stick foil on top.
- Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
- Heat heavy cream in the microwave until just under a boil.
- Pour over chocolate and allow the mixture to stand 1 minute or so, until the chocolate has melted.
- Whisk the mixture together until completely smooth.
- Pour ganache over the pound cake (alternately, you can use a knife to ‘frost’ the pound cake).
- Allow the ganache to set before slicing.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.
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