Ultimate Marble Cupcakes

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! 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:

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. 

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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
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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!



  • 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
  • 1/4 cup (21g) 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


  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 extremely 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.


  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:


  1. These look so amazing – I am gonna have to try these this weekend!! 🙂

    1. Let me know how you like them, Alicia! Have fun – they’re a fun recipe to make!

      1. Hey,
        I was wondering where you can or have purchase cupcake boxes from? I want to make sure it is a reliable source.

  2. Absolutely beautiful! I love the swirl look, in addition to the potential for so many combinations! Strawberry and vanilla? Strawberry and LEMON? Maybe chocolate and orange, to appease all the chocolate-crazy people in my life ;). These photographs are so gorgeous…you are so artistically (and baker-ly 😉 ) talented! The one with the cupcake sitting on its partially-removed paper liner is my favorite because the liner is like a reflection in water of the lines on the cupcake, and all the swirls are gorgeous. 😀

    1. Thanks Caley! Love the idea of a strawberry and vanilla swirled cupcake! Thank you for the kind words about the photos too. I shot these yesterday and it was so gray and gloomy outside then the sun came out for the afternoon and I took advantage of the afternoon light (usually I shoot in the morning because of how my apartment faces the sun). Thank you!!

  3. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says:

    These are SO pretty! And the frosting swirl is perfect! Love it all 🙂

  4. These are so gorgeous sally! ❤❤ theyre perfect

  5. Wow, these just blew my mind. Ive made your vanilla and chocolate cupcakes staples, but Ive never thought to combine them! Genius! I cant wait to try them!

    1. Enjoy, Barbara!

  6. These look amazing! I might have to try them out this weekend 🙂

  7. I’ve been looking for a moist marble cake recipe and cannot wait to try yours!

  8. Averie @ Averie Cooks says:

    I love that the cupcakes AND the frosting are both swirled! Marble cake is one of my faves & you did it proud! I love the 1M tip too (when Im not to lazy and just plop it on with the back of a spoon, which is usually…LOL). So pretty Sally! pinned of course 🙂

  9. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness says:

    I love all the swirl here!
    It’s like McDonalds swirled ice-cream cones (that they took away 🙁 )! But better ’cause it’s a cupcake!
    I totally just came back from the gym which means the calories in these don’t count. YES

    1. Shows how oblivious I am, I had no idea McDonalds took away the swirled cones! So upsetting.

  10. Oh gosh how I want one of these right NOW! Those Death By Chocolate ones look about my speed too! 🙂

    How ungrateful am I? The entire time I was reading this post I was thinking, “WHY don’t I have any best friends who want to bake for ME?” ha ha ha!!! OH, wait, I am THAT friend who bakes! 🙂 Have a great day, Sally! Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

    1. I’m THAT friend too, Christine! And when my fiancé wants to get me a cake or something for my birthday, he always gets so intimidated and doesn’t know what to get me. I usually bake it myself!

      1. Oh gosh, welcome to my world. I am a silver jewelry designer and my husband just tells me to make myself something nice. ha ha!

  11. Julie @ Lovely Little Kitchen says:

    This is such a clever recipe, Sally. Love your detailed step by steps too! So fun!

  12. Del's cooking twist says:

    Wow, they are so pretty! I love them already. Happy Birthday to your friends, then 🙂

  13. Kelly - LEFT SIDE OF THE TABLE says:

    Sally these are perfect!! Swirled frosting sounds complicated but you make it all easy! Sometimes you just don’t know what you feel like chocolate or vanilla, why not both?! Thanks 🙂

  14. Kerry @ Kerry Cooks says:

    WHOA! These look soo delicious and decadent! I love the idea Sally!

  15. WOW!! um no words. . . I have never thought of mixing swirly cupcakes with swirly frosting! I guess is takes a genius:P Man, I can never decide between chocolate and vanilla, with these I guess my first world problems are relieved!

    1. Megan, you’ll love these cupcakes!

  16. Sally, I recently discovered your blog and have bookmarked several of your recipes to try. You have a very beautiful blog and I am happy for you that you recently published your own baking book. I noticed that you have the ingredients listed in grams and volume on this recipe. I was one of those people who didn’t want anything to do with a kitchen scale, but I’ve changed my mind. It seems to me, after reading a few blog posts, that weighing your baking ingredients is a good thing to do. Keep up the good work.

    1. It is SO important to weigh your ingredients! You can’t get the measurements wrong when you weigh them. My kitchen scale is the handiest tool in my kitchen! So happy you found my blog.

  17. Melissa {Persnickety Plates} says:

    I LOVE marble cakes/cupcakes & these are absolutely gorgeous, per usual, Sally =) I can’t wait to try them.

  18. LOVE LOVE LOVE the swirled icing!! Can’t wait to give it a try! Jen x

  19. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says:

    These are super gorgeous Sally! I so love a good marbled cupcake – they’re the best of both worlds. Happy birthday to your girlfriends! 🙂

  20. Hi Sally! These look amazing! Whenever I do the two-toned swirl, I put my frostings in two 12″ disposable bags, and then place them together into a 16″ bag. It works perfectly! Thank you for the one-mix cupcake recipe! One thing I hate about baking is the cleanup!

  21. Oh my goodness those look amazing!

  22. Erin | The Law Student's Wife says:

    Your friends are two lucky ladies! I’m the queen of indecision when it comes to dessert (I love them ALL), so this recipe is perfect for those days I just can’t choose.

  23. I love marble cakes! What a simple, yet genius idea to turn them into cupcakes! I’ve recently bought the Wilton frosting kit and I’m practicing like crazy, frosting everything in my way! Thanks for sharing your techniques!

    Happy baking everybody!

    1. Practice makes perfect! Enjoy these cupcakes, Sharon.

    2. I make mine by putting the 2 flavors in a big open end pastry bag carefully side by side then pipe in liners. Some my mix a little but no harm

  24. Alexe @ Keys to the Cucina says:

    These look beautiful Sally! I think that chocolate and vanilla is the best combination ever, I always get black and white milkshakes during the summer because it’s just so irresistable!

    1. Mmm I love black & white milkshakes!

  25. I have been waiting for you to bring a marble something and I cannot tell you how excited I was when I saw this! Definitely made my day and I cannot wait to make these. They look sooo good!!

    1. Enjoy, Nadia!

  26. So beautiful! I once tried a marble cake from scratch that was a total disaster. My “tell it like it is husband” asked, “where’s the marble?” Oh my. Must try your recipe soon. I know I can’t lose with the steps and pictures you provided!

    1. Let me know when you give them a try. You can definitely see the marbling in this recipe. 🙂

  27. Marie @ Little Kitchie says:

    I’m a teacher and make cupcakes for my class often. I never can decide whether to make chocolate or vanilla, so these are perfect!! Happening next time!

    1. Awesome! Hope the kids love them.

  28. Julianne @ Beyond Frosting says:

    Marbeled cupcakes are so good! I am dying to try these! Plus, piled high frosting is the best.

  29. Shiran @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet. says:

    These are absolutely gorgeous, Sally!

  30. Oh my word! These are just drool-worthy..

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