Marble Pound Cake Magic And How To Get PERFECT Marble Swirls

Marble Pound Cake

This marble pound cake is soft, buttery and delicious. Made with swirls of vanilla and chocolate pound cake it is covered in a chocolate almond shell. If you love soft, velvety pound cakes then please give this cake a try! I'll also show you how to get the perfect marble swirl. This is dense, velvety and moist and perfect for serving with a cup of tea or coffee or for Mother's Day coming up.

Dear Reader, I have to confess that I made sooo many marble cakes before I finally got to this one. Each marble cake was different - some had a mix of oil and butter but didn't have a good flavour to them, others were baked too long, others just didn't get the right marble swirl. I swear my friends nicknamed me the "marble cake lady" behind my back because every time I'd see them I'd bring along an experimental pound cake. But then I got to this one which is velvety textured and full of butter flavour and as soon as I took a bite, I knew this was the one!

Tips For Making A Marble Pound Cake

Marble Pound Cake

1 - This cake is made using the reverse creaming method where we add cubes of soft butter to a mixture of flour and sugar. This gives the cake a better texture and keeps it soft and velvety.

2 - The loaf tin dimensions are important for cooking times. I use a long, thinner loaf tin (26.5x7.5cm/10.2x3inch) that requires less time to bake. If you have a shorter, higher loaf tin you will have to bake your pound cake for longer.

3 - I use custard powder to soften the flour. If you don't have custard powder you can replace it with cornflour or fine cornstarch.

4 - The butter must be soft so that if you pass a butter knife through it, it offers no resistance. Just having it room temperature isn't soft enough because it depends on the temperature of your room.

Marble Pound Cake

5 - Roast the almonds until nice and toasty. Obviously you don't want to burn them but I bake them at 160C/320F fan forced for 8-9 minutes until they look like this.

How To Get A Beautiful Marble Effect

Marble Pound Cake

I've read all sort of methods for getting a marble effect from one on youtube doing alternate scoops and honestly it turned out to be a horrible disappointment and I ended up with big blobs, not the marbling effect I was after. Then I remembered my zebra cheesecake from so many years ago and I realised that that was the best way! Literally, look at the marble swirl! I'm going to show you how it's done.

a) Both batters must of the same consistency to work.

b) I make slightly more chocolate batter than vanilla batter as I like to finish the outside on chocolate. I measure around 1/3 of vanilla and 2/3 of chocolate (I eyeball it, no need to get the scales out).

c) You will have 4 layers of chocolate and 3 layers of vanilla batter. Start with the chocolate batter. Take one quarter of the chocolate butter and spread it out on the base of the tin spreading it out with a palette knife. Then take one third of the vanilla batter and spread out on top of the chocolate layer. Finish on the last quarter of chocolate batter.

d) Then take a butter knife and make curl patterns around the batter twice but not more than this. Any more and your batter will mix together.

e) Then bake! Half of the fun is the anticipation when you cut into the cake to see the swirling pattern.

Marble Pound Cake

The prize is of course one of the end pieces with lots of chocolate on it! And after almost losing my marbles over this cake, I was happy to sit down to a slice of this cake after so many attempts. On the topic of losing one's marbles, I recently encountered someone that lost their marbles. I was on a plane and the overhead locker above me was full so I turned to face the opposite side. The bin was open and I could see there was some space. I had a backpack with me and after unloading my book and laptop, it just had a puffer jacket in it so I turned to put my backpack in the opposite bin. There was a man sitting in the seat under the bin watching me do this. I placed my backpack in the bin and sat down.

"Thanks for putting your bag on top of my laptop," he hissed sarcastically, eyes narrowing at me.

"What? My bag literally just has a puffer jacket in it," I answered him. Also his laptop was in a thick black satchel style of bag that was at least 12cm or almost 5 inches thick so it was well protected.

He rolled his eyes theatrically at me and let out a disgusted snort. I couldn't believe how dramatic he was being and I was starting to become a bit exasperated at his show. I said, "You saw me put it in, why didn't you say anything?" because sometimes people will just let something happen so that they can have the upper hand and tell you off. Also at this point I was 1000% sure there was no danger to his laptop and he was just picking a fight with me.

Every time I walked past him he glared at me giving me death stares. I went to sleep wondering if something would happen while I was asleep so I left a little message in my notes app about him because I couldn't text anyone. I woke up and then had breakfast and got ready and we landed soon after. And that's when he leaned down to me and whispered, "I'm sorry I lost my marbles at you, that was very poor behaviour on my part." I mean it was quite a ride and a change from the beginning of the flight!

So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever had a fight or disagreement with someone on a plane? Have you ever tried many times to perfect a recipe?

Marble Pound Cake

Marble Cake

Did you make this recipe? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Rated 5 out of 5 by 32 lovely readers. Share your rating:

An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 60 minutes

  • 275g/9.7ozs cake flour*
  • 275g/9.7ozs caster or superfine sugar
  • 40g/1.4ozs custard powder (or fine cornstarch)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 230g/8.1ozs butter, room temperature, cubed*
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 80ml/2.8flozs cream
  • 20ml/0.7flozs lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 cup/25g/1oz cocoa powder, sifted
  • 45ml/1.6flozs hot coffee or hot water

For Chocolate Almond Shell

  • 180g/6ozs dark chocolate
  • 180g/6ozs milk chocolate
  • 100g/3.5ozs slivered almonds, toasted well
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

The temperature of the butter is crucial. It must be soft enough that when you pass a butter knife through it, there is no resistance (but not liquid and melted).

Cake flour can be bought at the supermarket. You can also make it at home. To make 1 cup/150g/5.2ozs of cake flour replace 2 tablespoons of plain all purpose flour with cornflour/fine cornstarch and whisk well. I usually mix up a big batch of this and keep it in a container ready for baking cakes as it produces a softer texture.

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 140C/284F fan forced. Line a 26.5x7.5cm/10.2x3inch loaf tin on the base and sides. In the bowl of an electric mixer whisk the flour, sugar, custard powder, baking powder and salt together with a balloon whisk. In a jug whisk the eggs together and then whisk in the cream, lemon juice and vanilla.

Step 2 - Fit the paddle attachment to the mixer and turn the mixer on low speed with the flour mixture in the bowl. Add the butter in one cube at a time. Then increase the speed to medium and add the egg cream mixture and ensure that there are no lumps in the batter. Do not overmix.

Step 3 - Take two thirds of the batter and place in another bowl. Then bloom the cocoa powder by mixing it with the hot coffee until smooth. Add the cocoa mixture to this larger quantity and stir to combine (again, do not overmix). You will have two batters of the same texture: one larger quantity of chocolate and a slightly smaller quantity of vanilla batter.

Marble Pound Cake
Layering the two batters on top of each other

Step 4 - Add a quarter of chocolate batter to the lined tin and spread out with a palette knife. Then top with a third of the vanilla mixture and spread out. Keep alternating until you finish on a chocolate layer. Then take a butter knife and run it through the batter making swirls twice only. Bake for 45-50 minutes but check at 45 minutes. You do not want to overbake this. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then remove cake gently and gently upturn and cool on a cooling rack.

Marble Pound Cake

Step 5 - Melt the two types of chocolate together in a microwave until smooth and melted and add the coconut oil. Add the toasted almonds and add this to the chocolate stirring well so that the almonds and coconut oil are well distributed. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Marble Pound Cake

Step 6 - Remove the parchment from the cake and place the cake on the cooling rack. Line a baking tray with cling film and place it under the cooling rack and cake to catch any chocolate drips. Spoon chocolate mixture and almonds over the cake pressing against the side (tilt the cake slightly if you need to). Allow to set in the fridge or freezer for a quick set. Trim the cake along the base to release it from the cooling rack. Cut into slices using a hot knife (a knife dipped in hot water and then dried on a paper towel).

Marble Pound Cake

Published on by .

Reader Comments

Loading comments...

Add Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked*