Ultimate Marble Cupcakes.

For when you can’t decide if you want a chocolate cupcake or a vanilla cupcake!

Ultimate Marble Cupcakes! Chocolate and vanilla swirled frosting on top of chocolate and vanilla swirled homemade cupcakes!

Tuesday was my friend Kristin’s birthday and Saturday is my friend Erin’s birthday. Going out tonight and Saturday night to celebrate my two best gals.

But first… cupcakes. Very confused cupcakes. Are they chocolate? Are they vanilla? Who cares! Have both flavors and eat them too because today you don’t have to choose!

It’s party time. 

Ultimate Marble Cupcakes by @sallybakeblog. For when you can't decide if you want a chocolate cupcake or a vanilla cupcake!

I have a few kitchen-tested, reader-approved, very trusty cupcake recipes on my website. Two favorites? These vanilla funfetti cupcakes and these chocolate cupcakes. I knew I wanted to make one of them, but was having trouble deciding which. Kevin told me to just make both, but that sounded like too much work– even for bakeaholic me.

So I decided to jazz things up. Throw a curveball and surprise everyone with an irresistible medley of both chocolate AND vanilla. Ladies and gents, I bring you…

Ultimate Marble Cupcakes.

Ultimate Marble Cupcakes by sallysbakingaddiction.com. Surprisingly simple to make!

Lucky for both you and me, these cupcakes are a snap to make.

What You’re Gonna Do:

First, you do NOT have to make a vanilla cupcake batter and a chocolate cupcake batter. Thank goodness! Rather, you’ll simply make my trusted vanilla cupcake recipe and add cocoa powder to part of its batter. Less dishes, less time, less headache!

The vanilla batter is all mixed together by hand in under 5 minutes. Once mixed, measure 3/4 cup of the batter and add to a medium mixing bowl with cocoa powder and a touch of milk. Since you’re adding more dry ingredients to this portion of the cupcake batter (the cocoa powder), you’ll need a touch of milk to thin it out.

The marbling part is not tricky at all. You’ll simply spoon some vanilla batter into your cupcake liners, then some chocolate batter, then some more vanilla batter on top. Take a toothpick and gently swirl it all together a couple times. I only swirled a few of my cupcakes because I wanted to see how each (swirling vs no swirling) turned out. The swirling looked the prettiest when baked up! Here are some visuals:

How to make Homemade Marble Cupcakes - get the recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Now, let’s talk frosting. No cupcake is complete without it. If you’re anything like me, you like a little cupcake with a lot of frosting.

You’re going to make two frostings. My favorite vanilla frosting and my favorite chocolate frosting. There are a few options for frosting these cupcakes:

  • Make both frostings and spread them each on your cupcakes however you’d like.
  • Make either the vanilla frosting or the chocolate frosting (double the frosting recipes below to make sure there is enough for all 12 cupcakes) and frost the cupcakes with a knife or piping tip.
  • Make swirled frosting using my How to Make Swirled Frosting page as a guide.

You’ll need a Wilton 1M piping tip and a piping bag if you choose the third option. All you do is spoon some vanilla frosting into one side of your piping bag and chocolate frosting into the other side. Then, pipe onto cupcakes in a swirl pattern:

How to Make Chocolate and Vanilla Swirled Frosting by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Again, here’s a page with more visuals to help guide you with the swirl frosting.

I also include how I use the Wilton 1M swirl piping tip. If you’re ever curious about how I frost my cupcakes, that’s a handy page to read!

Ultimate Marble Cupcakes by @sallybakeblog. For when you can't decide if you want a chocolate cupcake or a vanilla cupcake!

So there you have it. A simple one-batter marble cupcake with velvety rich chocolate and vanilla frostings on top. Buttery vanilla paired with swirls of chocolate throughout every super-moist bite. Does it really get any better than this?

Oh yes, it does.

Top with a sparkly pink candle and celebrate your ultimate awesomeness.

Ultimate Marble Cupcakes. Super-moist, super simple, and super swirled chocolate and vanilla cupcakes!

I can hardly wait for the birthday girls to taste their marbled treats!

*Don’t be overwhelmed by the ingredient list! A lot of the ingredients are just repeated for each part of the cupcake/frostings.


Ultimate Marble Cupcakes

Chocolate and vanilla marble cupcakes with chocolate and vanilla swirl frosting on top! These cupcakes are perfect for when you can't decide between a chocolate or vanilla treat!

Yield: 14 standard cupcakes or 28 mini

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes, plus cooling



  • 1 and 2/3 cups (210g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60g) yogurt*
  • 3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon (195ml) milk, divided*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder

Milk Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (210g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream or half-and-half*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (210g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream or half-and-half*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste


Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners and an additional pan with 2 liners. This recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set them aside.

Make the cupcakes: in a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Whisk in sugar - mixture will be gritty. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 minute. Stir in egg, yogurt, 3/4 cup milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick. Transfer 3/4 cup of batter to another medium bowl. Mix in cocoa powder and 1 Tablespoon milk until combined. Chocolate batter will be extremely thick.

Spoon 1 Tablespoon of vanilla batter into each cupcake liner. Top with a spoonful of chocolate batter, then more vanilla batter on top until all batters have been used up. At this point you may swirl the batters together very lightly using a toothpick or leave them as is, as I explained in the post. Bake the cupcakes for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Bake for 8-9 minutes if making mini cupcakes.) Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

For the chocolate frosting: sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder to assure there are no lumps. Set aside. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sifted sugar/cocoa powder alternately with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition. Once all added, beat on high speed until creamy and combined for at least 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.

For the vanilla frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.

Frost cooled cupcakes with a knife or with a piping bag/tip. If you'd like to just make 1 kind of frosting and not both, make sure you double the frosting recipe of your choice to make sure there is enough for all cupcakes. To swirl the two frostings like I did, here is how I made the swirl frosting. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake.

Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refrigerator up to 5.

Additional Notes:

*To make into a single-layer cake, simply layer the chocolate and vanilla batters into a 9x2 inch cake pan or 9 inch springform pan. Fill the pan 2/3 of the way full. There will be leftover batter for an additional cupcake or two. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes. 

*For the cupcakes, you may use any kind of yogurt you like - Greek, regular, vanilla, plain, nonfat or low fat. You may use any milk you like - buttermilk, skim, 1%, 2%, almond, soy, etc.

*For the frosting, heavy cream or half-and-half will give your frostings the creamiest texture. You may use milk instead, keeping in mind the frostings won't be as creamy.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


A few more cupcake recipes you’ll love:

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Funfetti Cupcakes

You will never make boxed Funfetti Cupcakes again after you try this homemade recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com


Death by Chocolate Cupcakes

My Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting


See more cupcake recipes.

Ultimate Marble Cupcakes by @sallybakeblog. For when you can't decide if you want a chocolate cupcake or a vanilla cupcake!





192 Responses to “Ultimate Marble Cupcakes.”

  1. #
    Sondosposted January 15, 2015 at 6:03 am

    Can i use any tip or the one you mentioned only ?


    • Sallyreplied on January 15th, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Any piping tip is fine.


  2. #
    Saposted January 16, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Does this frosting stay. I would like to use wilton 1 M tip for making roses


  3. #
    Melissa Costonposted January 18, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Can I use salted butter or is unsalted one of those necessary imgredients?


    • Sallyreplied on January 18th, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      You may use salted; reduce salt down by 1/4 teaspoon.


  4. #
    Aislynnposted January 30, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    For this recipe, is it mandatory to have yogurt in the cupcake mixture?


  5. #
    Danitraposted March 14, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Hi! Thanks for sharing your recipe. Would it be possible for this recipe to be baked in a bundt pan as well? Or do you suppose it would not cook thoroughly ?


    • Sallyreplied on March 14th, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      It could, yes. But you’d likely have to 1.5x or double the recipe for a bundt pan. Not sure of the outcome, Danitra. I’ve never tried it before.


  6. #
    Maggieposted March 19, 2015 at 10:55 am

    I made these yesterday for an upcoming baby shower and hands down this is the best cupcake I have ever tasted (and there has been a lot). I couldn’t scrape that bowl once they were in the oven quick enough. These will be a forever go to recipe. And super easy! I did add a little instant coffee powder to the milk you add into the chocolate batter. I don’t have anything to compare it to…all in all just fantastic!


  7. #
    Britanyposted March 19, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Dear Sally I love your recipes and enjoy making them. Do you think I can double this marble cakes recipe and prepare it in a bunt pan ? Thank you :)


    • Sallyreplied on March 19th, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      Hi Britany. Doubling the recipe will yield a little too much batter. You’d likely have to 1.5x or double the recipe for a bundt pan. Not sure of the outcome because I’ve never tried it as a bundt before. I simply recommend cupcakes or the single layer cake recommended in the notes.


  8. #
    Linthaposted March 20, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Hey… i was just wondering.. can we use any neutral oil instead of butter for the cupcakes?? If so what would be the measurements??


  9. #
    Ashleyposted March 24, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Hi, Sally, I was just wondering if it’s possible to complete the cupcake part of this recipe without an electric mixer?


    • Sallyreplied on March 24th, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      You do not need a mixer for the cupcake batter.


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