Marble cake (Κέικ βανίλια και σοκολάτα)

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Marble cake

A swirly vanilla and chocolate cake made with olive oil 

We admire professional bakers, and those non-professionals who have spent years perfecting their fondant skills and can transform flour, butter and eggs into edible works of art, like toilets and Chanel purses.  Having tried our hand at sculpting with gum paste and molding with chocolate, we certainly recognize the talent that is behind baking and creating this way.  Amazing!  But, the truth is, while we can appreciate and marvel at these jaw-dropping desserts, we tend to crave the mouth-watering desserts we grew up with…and let’s be clear, our parents wouldn’t know fondant if it hit them in the face.

Our parents would probably never describe themselves as bakers, and in fact, most Greek desserts like galaktoboureko, baklava and bougatsa are not baked in the cake-type of baking we usually think of.  There is no sticking a toothpick into the custard center of a galaktoboureko to see if it is done for example, and there is no worrying that opening the oven door too often will cause your baklava to fall.  But, having said that, our parents do have a few more traditional cake recipes in their arsenal, amazing desserts like revani, pantespani and a wonderful lemon flavoured olive oil cake.  So, although they may not consider themselves to be wonderful bakers, we sure do.

Marble cake

As children one of our favourite cakes was this marble cake, which in our Greek home was referred to as a vanilla cake, with chocolate.  It was the cake that we would ask for on our birthdays, our namedays and when we would have new, non-Greek, friends over; this was a dessert they could relate to.  In fact, it was one of these friends who first told us that this was called a marble cake.  We found that to be a pretty funny, yet kind of perfect, name for a cake.

Helpful hints

As with most of our parents’ baked goods, this cake does not contain any butter.  Instead, olive oil adds the necessary fat, and contributes to making a cake which is light, moist, and delicious.


Our parents always use vanilla powder; in fact, we were both adults before we realized that vanilla extract was also a thing.  If you have vanilla powder, great.  If not, substitute with double the amount of vanilla extract (the flavour in the powder tends to be more concentrated).

Our parents have made this cake with whole milk, lactose free milk and skim milk; there is barely a difference in outcome so use whatever milk you have on hand.

We always thought that the marbling effect was created by running a knife through the batter in the cake pan prior to baking the cake.  But, as our parents taught us, simply alternating the batter which is poured into the bundt pan is enough to give the swirly, marble effect.  If you feel better running a knife through the batter however, we suppose you can.


This cake freezes really well.  Allow your cake to cool and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.  When you are ready to serve, simply defrost your cake on the counter for a few hours or overnight.  At this point you can sprinkle with icing sugar if desired.

Marble cake

Looking for some more cake recipes? We think you’d enjoy these!

Double chocolate zucchini cake

Neopolitan marble cake

Greek mountain tea cake

Marble cake

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Marble cake

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5 from 11 votes

Marble cake

A swirly vanilla and chocolate cake made with olive oil .
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Greek
Keyword: Cake, Greek desserts, marble cake
Servings: 12 pieces
Author: Mia Kouppa


  • Bundt pan


  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) cocoa powder
  • 2 ½ cups (500 grams) sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) hot water
  • 3 cups (450 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup (250 mL) olive oil
  • 1 cup (250 mL) milk
  • 1/3 cup (45 grams) icing sugar, optional


  • Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a medium sized bowl combine the cocoa powder, 1/2 cup (100 grams) of sugar and the hot water.  Stir well to combine and set aside.
    3/4 cup (90 grams) cocoa powder, 1/3 cup (80 mL) hot water
  • In another small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, vanilla powder and salt. Whisk until well combined.
    3 cups (450 grams) all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • In the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the remaining sugar (2 cups or 400 grams) and the eggs until well combined.  Slowly pour in the olive oil and continue to mix.
    5 eggs, 1 cup (250 mL) olive oil
  • With the speed set to low, carefully add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the oil/egg/sugar combination in the stand mixer.  Beat until well combined.  Pour in 1/2 cup (125 ml) of milk.  Continue beating and then add the remaining flour, followed by the remaining milk.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula and then beat well for a minute until all of the ingredients are well combined.
    1 cup (250 mL) milk
  • Remove approximately 3 cups of this cake batter and add it to the bowl which contains the cocoa powder, sugar and water.  Using a whisk mix it well by hand so that all of the plain batter is combined with the cocoa batter.
  • Grease a bundt pan.  Pour enough of the plain batter into the pan to cover the bottom surface.  Then, using a large spoon, drop spoonfuls of the cocoa batter on top of the plain batter.  Leave approximately 1/3 of the cocoa batter in the bowl.
  • Pour the remaining vanilla batter into the bundt pan, and then pour in the rest of the cocoa batter.
  • Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the bundt pan for approximately 5 minutes before removing it.  Set it to cool on a baking rack.
  • When your cake has completely cooled, dust it with icing sugar.
    1/3 cup (45 grams) icing sugar,
  • Enjoy!

17 responses to “Marble cake (Κέικ βανίλια και σοκολάτα)”

  1. indianeskitchen Avatar

    Wow what a piece of art! This looks so good and with white and chocolate everyone will be happy!
    Thank you for the recipe!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thank you so much! We hope you get a chance to enjoy it one day 🙂

  2. Bojana Avatar

    this recipe is very similar to my mother’s marbled cake, which she made so often when i was growing up. i have to remind her to make it again. she used to bake it in a rectangular pan, but yours is more beautiful baked in a bundt.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thank you so much! This seems to be such a popular cake recipe, for so many people, with so many memories attached. 🙂

    2. miakouppa Avatar

      Oh we’re happy this cake brought back happy food memories 🙂 Bundt or rectangular pan…this cake is delicious for sure 🙂

  3. Megala Avatar

    Wow! This looks stunning! You are an amazing baker.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      You’re too sweet! We love baking and are really happy to be able to share some of our family’s favourite recipes 😉

  4. Mary Liontakis Avatar
    Mary Liontakis

    Can I use corn oil instead of olive?

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      We think that you could, although the olive oil really does give this cake a delicious flavour. 🙂

  5. Peter Avatar

    Great recipe as are many on your website! Thank you so much. We made a couple of changes; there’s a hazelnut farm nearby to us so used fresh virgin hazelnut oil, and we used the pulp from a fresh vanilla pod in the egg / sugar / oil mix.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Peter! Thank you so much for trying our recipes, and your kind words. So happy that you are here with us. The changes you made to our marble cake sound amazing! A hazelnut farm nearby!! How lucky! and the fresh vanilla – yum. Glad you enjoyed the cake 🙂 Have a great day!

  6. Mary Avatar

    Your website is wonderful! I’ve just discovered it. Have been excited to try your marble cake recipe as my grandmother from Cephalonia used to make this for us when we were children and have never been able to recapture the flavour. It looked like a huge cake to us, because of the hole, and she used to put granulated sugar on it which gave it a lovely crunchy top. I’m in the UK and spent ages working out the equivalent weights and volumes for US cups, and trying to work out what size tin would hold it. I think I must have made a mistake with the chocolate part though, as the amounts of cocoa and sugar didn’t mix into the small amount of water – presumably its meant to be a paste before you add the batter? So the chocolate part was much much thicker than the white part. I ended up adding milk to make it more manageable, but it was still thicker than the white part. Should it be? It took longer to cook too and so has ended up quite dry. The family like it but I don’t think it’s as it’s meant to be. Any ideas?

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Mary!! Thank you so much! We’re so glad you found us! We are so sorry you had trouble with the conversion of the measurements. In fact, we’ve had lots of requests asking us to include measurements in grams as well as cups; We are slowly trying to edit each dessert recipe to include these measurements. We just edited the Marble cake recipe. 🙂 We hope it helps you out next time you hopefully try it. Have a super day, and thanks again for reaching out 🙂

  7. Aimée Avatar

    Hi, what size Bundt tin should I use??

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      You can use a typical bundt pan which is 10 inches across and which holds 10 – 12 cups batter. A little smaller, or a little larger is fine. Have fun baking and we hope you love the cake! xoxo Helen & Billie

  8. aritimmymom Avatar

    This is the cake our family in Crete makes for us when we visit to have with our breakfast. My cousins and their children are visiting us in California for the first time, and I am going to make this for them to have while they stay. Thank you! Maybe I will have to make a “test cake” first (for us!)

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Yay! That’s wonderful to hear. We think that a test cake is an incredible idea! Let us know what you think, and what your family thinks 🙂 xoxo Helen & Billie

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