This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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

marble cupcakes topped with chocolate vanilla swirl frosting

marble cupcakes topped with chocolate vanilla swirl frosting on a white plate

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.

marble cupcakes topped with chocolate vanilla swirl frosting

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! Similar to how you make marble loaf cake, 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:

collage of 5 images showing how to make marble cupcakes topped with chocolate vanilla swirl frosting

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:

filled piping bag to make swirled frosting

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!

marble cupcakes topped with chocolate vanilla swirl frosting on a white plate

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.

marble cupcakes topped with chocolate vanilla swirl frosting with a pink candle

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.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
marble cupcakes topped with chocolate vanilla swirl frosting

Ultimate Marble Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 14 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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!


Ingredients

Scale

Cupcakes

  • 1 and 2/3 cups (209g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 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 pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons (10g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder

Milk Chocolate Frosting

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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners and an additional pan with 2 liners. This recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set them aside.
  2. 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 thick.
  3. 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. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  6. 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.
  7. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refrigerator up to 5.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cupcakes and frostings 1 day in advance. Keep cupcakes covered tightly at room temperature and the frosting covered tightly in the refrigerator. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting and serving.
  2. Yogurt & Milk: Use any kind of yogurt you like – Greek, regular, vanilla, plain, nonfat or low fat. You can use any milk you like too – buttermilk, skim, 1%, 2%, almond, soy, etc.
  3. Cream: For the frosting, heavy cream or half-and-half will give your frostings the creamiest texture. You can use milk instead, keeping in mind the frostings won’t be as creamy.
  4. Single Layer Cake: Simply layer the chocolate and vanilla batters into a 9×2 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.
  5. Mini Cupcakes: For 28 mini cupcakes, bake at 350°F (177°C) for 9-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

Keywords: marble cupcakes

Still can’t decide? Here are a few more chocolate and vanilla cupcake recipes you’ll love:

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi Sally, sorry to check if the cocoa powder is added to the 3/4 batter or 1/4 batter? And also can I replace the butter with oil? Thanks.

    1. Hi Shirley, you’ll want to transfer 3/4 cup (not 3/4 of the total batter) to another bowl and add the cocoa powder to that. For best taste and texture, we recommend sticking with butter in this recipe.

  2. I don’t typically comment on a recipe but this was too good not to. I am an avid baker and bake as a side job for fun and a little extra cash. A coworker ordered 3 dozen marbled cupcakes with buttercream frosting. So while this frosting looked amazing I used my traditional buttercream recipe but used this marble cupcake recipe. I weighed all of the ingredients rather than measuring and they were so moist and delicious!!!! I also used sour cream instead of yogurt since that’s what I had on hand. I hope they’re a big hit at the baby shower I made them for. I thought they were the best marbled cake I’ve had yet! Thank you, Sally for always having a recipe I can count on!

    1. We’re so glad you loved this cupcake recipe, Melodie!

    1. Hi Alicia! Our marble cake recipe would make about 30 cupcakes – much closer to the amount you need. Otherwise we recommend making separate batches of the cupcake batter to avoid over or under-mixing large quantities.

  3. I had a question as a beginner who has never baked before is this a easy recipe to make or do you not recommend it to beginners?

    1. Hi Jake, beginners could certainly tackle these cupcakes! However, this marble loaf cake would be similar and even easier, if you’d like to start there. Here are all of our beginner recipes, too, if you’re interested.

  4. I never comment or review recipes but I just had to for these amazing cupcakes. Took them into work as a treat for my co-workers, and I swear my ego grew 10x as I received so many compliments on my baking and how good they were! They were soooo moist, so perfectly swirled, nice and sweet, easy to make and clean and just delicious. Still getting compliments 2 weeks after I brought them into work. Says it all really. Thanks so much for the recipe.

  5. Hi Sally! I love your recipes, they are so good! One quick question. Is there a significant difference, in your opinion, to using yogurt as opposed to sour cream? I tend to use sour cream is most recipes that call for yogurt but I’ve never really thought about the difference.

    1. Hi Erin, unless a recipe calls for a lot of either (such as 1 cup or more), subbing one for the other won’t really make a huge difference. I do it all the time.

Leave a Review!

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.