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!

Marble Cupcakes by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Homemade Marble Cupcakes by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

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.

Homemade Marble Cupcakes by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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. 


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 (210g) 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:

Learn how to make the BEST homemade marble cupcakes. Easier than you think! sallysbakingaddiction.com


    1. I have made this recipe multiple times and if I didn’t have yogurt, I would use sour cream or greek yogurt. But if you don’t have neither, you can just substitute the yogurt for an extra  1/4 cup of milk. The yogurt however makes the cupcakes more moist.

  1. 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 ?

    1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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 🙂

    1. 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.

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

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

  6. Hi Sally,

    I have a question regarding frosting in general, have you ever made a swiss meringue buttercream? I’ve noticed on a lot of your cupcake recipes, it is usually some modification of an American Buttercream and I was just curious what your thoughts were/are on a swiss meringue in terms of taste and texture.

    Thanks again!!


    1. I love swiss meringue buttercream but much prefer simple vanilla or chocolate frosting over it. Especially on cupcakes. I don’t have a perfected recipe for it at this time either.

      1. Hi Sally! Thanks for your response. I’ve never made a swiss meringue and see that different recipes for it do differ quite a bit, I plan on trying my hand sometime in the near future. I just keep hearing about this silky heavenly texture so I feel have no choice but to test it out!

        Thanks again!

  7. I plan on making these a day before and then icing them in the morning.
    Have you got any tips on keeping the cupcakes moist and fresh?

  8. HEY SALLY! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your recipes! For this recipe, can I not use yoghurt? Or can I at least have a substitute? Thanks in advance!

  9. Hiiiee sally!! I really love ur recipes :* i tried this once but i changed the flour to cake flour since i only have that at that moment. The cupcakes didnt rise properly. Do u think thats the reason why?

  10. Hi Sally! I made these and they tasted great! But my marbling didn’t quite work. Instead, the chocolate batter sunk, so the cupcakes had a massive chocolate blob at the bottom. Did I use too much chocolate batter? Because you do mention that the chocolate batter is thicker than the vanilla batter, so it’s not really that surprising… Should I use more milk to thin the chocolate batter out?

    1. Nikki, you could try to thin the batter out with a little milk, yes. Try to use a little more vanilla batter in each cupcake. Maybe you’ll have a little extra chocolate batter leftover to make plain chocolate cupcakes then. Enjoy!

  11. I made these cupcakes a few weeks ago and they were a lot of fun, but I found they were dry.  Can you tell me what I would need to alter to avoid that in the future? It seems the review are primarily that they are moist so I think it’s baker’s error…..

    1. Do you think you overmeasured the flour by chance? Always try to spoon and level. Meaning, do not scoop your flour. Spoon it into the measuring cup. This prevents it from packing into the cup, which often results in a dry baked good.

  12. Hi!

    These cupcakes are so delicious! I’m not really a cake or cupcake fan, but I definitely suggest these 🙂

  13. Love your recipe, just made it for my daughter birthday ….the recipe so good !! Thank you for sharing ….

  14. These look wonderful!  I was hoping to bake the cupcakes inside plain cake ice cream cones so they end up looking like twist ice cream cones in the end.  Do you think that work work with this cake recipe?

  15. Cant wait to try one of your recipes with real ingredients! For your yellow cupcakes you say cake flour is ok to use if you up it a little. Would the same hold true for these marbled ones? Thanks!

  16. Hi Sally,
    I am 11 years old and love to bake! I am wondering if I could add pink food colouring to this recipie so I could have 3 colours a bit like the tidie cupcakes?
    I love your website and won’t your recipie book for my birthday. It’s my sisters birthday soon and I am going to make so many things from your website!
    Thanks Ella

  17. Hi Sally, I tried the dual flavor frosting last week and it was amazing! im thinking of baking these again but with piped it into roses in cupcakes, will the frosting hold its shape or should I add a little more icing sugar? Thanks in advance!

    1. Yes it will hold its shape, Christina. You can try adding just a small amount more of icing sugar, but I truly don’t think it needs it. Happy you tried and loved it!

  18. Hi Sally,
    I hope you are doing fine.Thanks for all the yummy recipies.
    I wanted to know if we can make these cupcakes without baking soda as I don’t have any available right now? Thank you!! 

  19. Hi Sally, thanks for an amazing recipe, was wondering if a ganache and vanilla buttercream swirl icing would work on these cupcakes? TIA

    1. The ganache might not work properly to create an even swirling since it isn’t quite as stiff. But will still be remarkably good! Enjoy.

  20. Hi! Does this recipe scale up well? As in if I was making four dozen, would I be able to multiply the recipe by four and do it all at one time or would you recommend doing individual batches?

    1. I always, always suggest making separate batches when it comes to cakes and cupcakes. When working with a greater volume of batter, you are more likely to overmix creating a dense, flat textured cupcake.

  21. I wanted to make this into a 2 layer cake (9in round pans). How much batter would I need? Also, would i batter each of the vanilla and chocolate frosting be enough? Also, should I just double the vanilla frosting and then add cocoa powder to half of it?? How much? Thanks!

  22. Hi, I’m a beginner baker and I was wondering if I can substitute vegetable oil for the butter (which is one stick, correct?) My son turns 1 tomorrow n i thought it would be special if I made him his cupcake from scratch. I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks in advance 

  23. I made this yesterday but did a 2 layer cake instead of cupcakes and just vanilla frosting. It was the best cake! Super moist and delicious! I doubled the recipe to make the layers. One layer only took 25 mins and the other about 31 mins but I think only because my layers must’ve been a little uneven so I would advise baking at 25 mins and checking from there. I had to triple the frosting recipe because we love frosting and to have enough to decorate the top. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Hello Sally!
    I’m 11 years old and I love, love, love to bake. I’m so happy I’ve found your website! Your recipes are fantastic and all will be bookmarked for sure. My birthday is coming up soon-ish and your cookbook will be at the top of my list!

    Anyways, I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for all of the tips on the marble technique! Do you think there could be a possible substitute for the yogurt?

  25. Hi Sally,
    I just made this for my son’s birthday in his class. It taste so good!!! Thanks for sharing this recipe.
    This weekend he will have the real party, i would love to make the cake with this recipe, is it possible to make round cake with this recipe?


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