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. Hi, Sally! I want to make the mini ones for a birthday, so I have a question. For the regular size ones, it says use 1 tablespoon of each. So how much would you put in the mini tins?

    1. About 1 teaspoon.

  2. Made these cupcakes today. Oh MY GOODNESS!!!!! BEST cupcakes I’ve made in awhile. Beats the box, which used to be my go to years ago. Thanks for such a simple, delish recipe. 

  3. Does this recipe double well? they look so yummy, and I haven’t made marble cupcakes in ages!
    Thank you, and take care!

    1. Instead of doubling, I recommend making 2 separate batters. This way you are working with less batter at a time, which decreases the risk of overmixing (which yields tough, dense cupcakes).

      1. Gotcha. That makes sense! Thank you! 

  4. so i have made quite a few things from your blog now, and so far, everything has been just flawless! i made these for a little work event today, and they were a solid hit. thanks for all the great recipes and helpful tips!

  5. these turned out really well they taste and look great, thanks x

  6. Hi Sally, these looks so good!  Can you tell me if these cupcakes freeze well?  I’m looking to make 150 for a wedding and would like to freeze un-frosted cupcakes until the day before.  At that point I would them frost them.  Thoughts? 

    1. 150!? You’re amazing! You can frost the day before– and yes, they freeze very well.

  7. They turned out looking like soft serve ice cream. Bonus!!

  8. Hi

    Hoping to make these for my children’s birthday party. Do they freeze well so I could do them a week before??

    1. Yep! See my make ahead tip.

  9. Hello soul sister and Happy Monday! SO I am hosting a 4th of July party next weekend and I want to use it as an opportunity to bust out my cupcake tower. I am looking for a good recipe that I can get creative with and make red white and blue cupcakes. Can you tell me if I am onto something here: I like this recipe as it seems very versatile. I think that what I want to do is transform your chocolate portion of the cupcake to red velvet, and let the vanilla alone- red and white done- and then make some of the frosting blue… or maybe all of the frosting blue… that’s still debatable. Do you have any suggestions? I of course am starting my search on your blog because A- I love you and B- your cakes always come out flawless. The last recipe I tried were your Margarita cupcakes in May and my family said it was the best thing I have made to date. So naturally I need to top that statement 🙂 Thank you in advance!

    1. Angela, not sure if you’re interested in making my tie-dye cupcakes? They’re decorated for the 4th! Super easy.

      You can also try your red velvet/vanilla version. I’d color all of the frosting blue and decorate with 4th of july sprinkles 🙂

      1. Well I went ahead to the next page and found them right after I posted this. Duh. Monday problems. I’ll try the tie dye version and will be sure to tag you on Instagram as I usually do when I rock your recipe!!

      2. Haha sounds great! And thank you 🙂

  10. Is the yogurt necessary or is it optional? If it is required, is there anyway that I can substitute it?
    Thanks for reading this and in advance for answering.

    1. You can use sour cream instead.

  11. Hi Sally,
    I have 2 questions for you:
    Can you recommend a good brand of chocolate? I made these with Nestle’s and I did not like the frosting at all.  I always make Nestle’s Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies and liked the chocolate chips but I don’t know if it was the same flavor or as the cocoa or not. All I can say is that Nestle is not right cocoa. 
    Can I use the very vanilla recipe with this recipe instead of this one?

    1. I know there are higher quality products out there, but I really like Hershey’s Special Dark– or even their regular natural unsweetened. You can definitely use the very vanilla for these. The two recipes are quite similar.

  12. Can I make this recipe in a smaller layer cake? 

  13. Hello, 
    I just wanna say I made this this evening and they were delightful. So often I’m disappointed by recipes this was well writen and perfect as is. I didn’t make the frosting but the cupcakes were amazing! Thanks! 

  14. Hi I made these and even though I haven’t tried them yet I’m sure they are amazing. The one problem is that when I made them they stayed low in the cupcake liner and did not expand farther than halfway. Im sure that they taste the same but I was just wondering if you knew why this happened and give me a suggestion for next time. Thanks! Ella 
    btw I made the lemon blueberry cake for a party the other night and it was a hit!

  15. Hi, yogurt sweet or unsweetened?

  16. Ingredients list 3/4 + 1tbsp milk, but method only mentions to use 1 tbsp. Think I stuffed it up and should’ve used more milk :/ Chocolate part was lumpy and didn’t ‘swirl’ in at all. Oh well :/

    1. it says to put the 3/4 cup of milk in when you’re mixing the vanilla batter. you only add the extra tablespoon to the chocolate batter to help thin out the batter with the addition of more dry ingredients. 

  17. Franziska Das says:

    Amazing recipe!!!! Love how soft and fluffy they are and not too sweet either.
    Although with the batter I was only able to make about 12 cupcakes. 

  18. This recipe is a keeper! The kids finished it off in no time and i’ll have to bake another  batch again later. Thank you so much!

  19. I don’t have a stand mixer so, I’m just going to use my hand mixer, is that okay?

    1. Absolutely!

  20. Hello! I am making these cupcakes for my daughters party this weekend, and wanted to know how much cake flour to use as apose to regular flour? And, does anything else need to be elimnated?

  21. I only have Dutch processed cocoa, the recipe states unsweetened cocoa?

    1. It should be natural cocoa, sorry! I recommend that– not dutched cocoa.

  22. Hi Sally,

    Can I use cake flour instead of AP flour? Do I need to make any other adjustments to the recipe?


    1. Definitely. I wouldn’t change anything, just an even swap here.

  23. So sad, everything was going relatively well until I realised that I put double cream in the batter instead of yoghurt

  24. Sally! These are soooo pretty! It’s my grandpas birthday tomorrow, and i’m in charge of bringing his birthday cake! i was gonna bake these up as a single layer cake but there’s 17 people so i want to make two. (i’ll frost one vanilla and one chocolate)! in order to make two, would i have to make the batter twice? or would it be ok to double the recipe and split it? 

    1. I would make the batter twice for best taste/texture/results 🙂

  25. OMG I just baked your marble cupcakes and THEY WERE LIKE THE BEST THING EVER! YOU ROCK!

  26. Hi Sally! When making the chocolate portion, can I use strong coffee instead of milk to thin the batter? Also. Do you think it would work if I layered the two flavors without swirling so I got a kind of horizontal line efffect or would it affect the baking somehow? TIA

    1. I can’t see why you couldn’t use coffee. That’s actually a great idea! Layering *could* work but there may be a little swirl and not a clean line.

  27. I made these, and they turned out amazing. Everybody loved them. I am planning on having them for my birthday. Thank you!!!

  28. Hi Sally,
    These cupcakes look so gooodd!!!! I want to eat them now…I just wanted to know can we substitute butter with oil as my grandmother is not allowed to eat butter and I do want to bake these for her.

    1. Unfortunately, butter is needed for the cupcakes. But these chocolate cupcakes are made with oil.

  29. What kind of yogurt? Plain? Unsweetened? Greek?

    1. Any of the above. I typically use plain greek.

  30. Can I use soured cream instead of yoghurt?

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