Triple Layer Mocha Marble Cake

Marble Cake — My Latest Cookie Madness Obsession

If you like marble cake and want to make it completely from scratch, here’s a good recipe. I created it by combining two of my favorite scratch cake recipes, a homemade mocha frosting (used as filling) and a new chocolate frosting which is now my favorite. So if you don’t make the cake, at least make the chocolate frosting.

Marble Cake

But back to the cake. I have two shallow(ish) 9 inch cake pans and three 8 inch cake pans. I used the 8 inch pans and got a tall three layer cake, but I might buy a couple of deep, 9 inch round pans and make it as a two layer.

Okay, now that you’ve clicked through to see the actual recipe, don’t worry about its length! I broke it into parts so the ingredients in the chocolate batter are pretty much the same as the ingredients in the vanilla batter, save for a couple of things (like cocoa and baking soda). So it looks long, but it’s not. And I made both cakes with just a handheld mixer, so don’t worry about pulling out the stand mixer unless you just feel like it.

4.6 from 10 reviews
Triple Layer Mocha Marble Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Triple layer scratch marble cake filled with mocha frosting and covered with chocolate frosting.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
Yellow Cake Batter
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk or sour milk
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Chocolate Cake Batter
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
Mocha Filling
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant coffee (Starbuck’s Via)
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ to 3 tablespoons of room temperature heavy cream (as needed)
Chocolate Frosting
  • 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup natural style cocoa powder
  • lpinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 or 6 tablespoons of room temperature heavy cream plus more as needed.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray 3 8 inch round baking pans with flour-added cooking spray or just grease and flour. Alternatively, you could use 2 slightly deeper 9 inch pans, but the cakes will be thicker and need a little more time in the oven.
  2. Have ready two large mixing bowls. In the first bowl, mix together all dry ingredients for the yellow cake batter (flour through salt). In the second bowl, mix together all dry ingredients for the chocolate batter (flour through salt).
  3. Make the yellow batter first. Whisk the eggs, yolk, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the milk together in a small bowl. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and mash it around, then stir in the egg mixture until it’s as blended as you can get it. Add the remaining buttermilk and beat with a handheld mixer until smooth.
  4. Repeat the same procedure with the chocolate batter. Whisk the egg, vanilla and all the buttermilk together in a small bowl. Add the butter to the dry mixture and mash it around. Add the egg mixture and blend it as much as you can, then add the coffee and beat with a handheld mixer until smooth. Now you should have a bowl of vanilla batter and a bowl of chocolate batter.
  5. Starting with the vanilla (it’s thicker), layer the two flavors of batter into the pans, dividing evenly among the pans.
  6. Bake the cakes for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then carefully invert onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely, then fill with Mocha Filling, stack and frost with Chocolate Frosting.
  7. Make the mocha filling first. In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter, coffee, confectioners’ sugar and about 1 tablespoon of the cream. Beat until well mixed, then gradually add the cream, scraping sides of bowl often, until you get a smooth, spreadable consistency. Frost the tops of two cakes.
  8. Make the chocolate frosting. In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter, sugar, cocoa, salt and 3 tablespoons of the cream as well as you can, then beat with a hand-held mixer until pasty and thick. Continue adding remaining cream until you get a nice, smooth, spreading consistency


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  1. Ela says

    I love marble cakes, be it layered, loaf or bundt. Your cake is a must try. Looks so pretty to eat.

  2. says

    I agree with Dorothy above…there is something extra-special about a tall cake…I love how many flavors you have going on–the chocolate and vanilla of the cake with the mocha filling and chocolate frosting…

  3. says

    WOW! That looks delicious! I wish I had a piece for breakfast this morning.

  4. says

    Mmmm….yum. I have someone with a birthday this week at work. If I find out she likes chocolate, I am making this. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. says

    I make a chocolate frosting very similar to yours and it too is my favorite!

  6. tessa says

    You should have them turned it into a kindle book as well. im making this tonight my bday is tuesday so hopefully i can make my own cake. Love this.

  7. Gayle says

    I thought this cake turned out great, however my family thought it was too sweet. The mocha frosting was fantastic and an awesome idea to put it in the middle. Recipe for chocolate frosting could have been cut by 25%. It made a lot more than you needed. I did do 3 layers so can’t imagine but probably even more leftover if just a double layer. I would love to find a frosting that wasn’t so sweet. The cake itself was a 5+. Chocolate batter was very runny compared to vanilla so I was a little worried about how it would marble but I used a knife and made some swirls and everything turned out looking great.

  8. says

    Hi Gayle,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write a thorough and helpful review. I’ll make a note about the icing since it does make a lot. I must have made more than needed so that I could pipe a border or use it for decorating, but I don’t remember. But I’ll go ahead and add a note.

  9. Pam says

    I just made this cake for my husband’s birthday. He always requests marble cake, and I’ve had a hard time finding a recipe that turns out moist and with a nice flavor–and this one fit the bill, perfectly! He always requests my almond buttercream frosting, however, so I just made the cake (minus the filling and your chocolate frosting.) I used the technique of greasing and flouring my pans–but I put a piece of parchment on the bottom to ensure the cake will release from the pan. In doing this, I put the yellow batter in first, and then put the chocolate on top and cut through, swirling with a knife, rather than layering the batters, as you suggested, and the marbling still turned out beautifully.

  10. Anita says

    I made this for my husband’s birthday, marble cake is his favorite. I used two 9 inch cake pans and baked for 25 minutes. The cake turned out beautiful and most importantly delicious! So moist and tender, the mocha filling makes it even more special. It is a bit time consuming but well worth it.

  11. says

    I have been looking for a good marble scratch recipe for a layer cake (not loaf or bread) for awhile now and I think I’ve found it. The cake make a nice layer cake that is moist. I bake celebration cakes and this will work out perfectly. It is sturdy enough for heavy butercream and fondant coverage. The batter consistency was very nice. The chocolate batter was overwhelmed with the flavor of coffee but once it was baked, it isn’t noticeable. I will likly replace the coffee with water for children’s cakes. I’ll have to test that out to see. I usually tweak my recipes a bit but I think this is pretty good as is.

  12. says

    I’m so glad you liked it! It’s hard posting a scratch yellow cake recipe that actually works for everybody. Chocolate cakes are so much easier to make, but yellow cakes require more attention to detail. I’m glad this one is so doable.

  13. Josette L. says

    I love this cake recipe. I have not made the frosting or filling but it is my go-to recipe for a marble cake. They even take good alone. Save this recipe forever.

  14. Beth says

    Any idea if this single recipe would fill a 1″ 1/2 sheet – I need a double layer 1/2 sheet cake. Trying to determine if I need to make this recipe times 2 or 4.
    Thank you

  15. Debbie Weaver says

    I just found this cake recipe actually the site. I have to make a marbled birthday cake for my grand-daughter and this sound wonderful. I have a question about the filling. The recipe says to use 3/4 teaspoon of instant coffee does this mean to use the granules or to make the instant coffee and use 3/4 teaspoon of made instant coffee. It may be a stupid question but I am confused.
    I will be back to rate after I have made it.
    Thanks for the help and the recipe.

  16. says

    Hi Debbie,
    It means 3/4 teaspoons of the granules. Good luck! Hope you like it. Feel free to email me with any questions.

  17. Beth says

    Cake was delicious. Chocolate batter recipe could be halved. I didn’t layer I swirled it in my batter and ended up with to much chocolate and unfortunately not enough yellow batter. Trial on my own, 1 recipe batch will not fill a 1/2 sheet pan.

  18. Marie Merten says

    Wondering if cutting the chocolate recipe worked for Beth? I made it yesterday, very moist cake, my husband thought it was “eggy” or rubbery. I followed the recipe to a “t”. Could it be mashing the butter in with the dry ingredients? I usually cream the butter with the sugar, add eggs and dry ingr. alternating with wet that could have caused this? I might try it again and decrease the chocolate recipe, too.

  19. says

    Love this cake! I just took out my layers. It’s moist, flavorful, and easy to make. There will be no more box marble cakes for me!

  20. Sheila says

    Hello. Does anyone have the appropriate liquid substitute if I don’t want to use coffee in the chocolate batter?

  21. Foxyvee says

    This cake is really good. The reverse creaming method causes the cake to be a very tender crumb. I greased my pans but the cake still stuck a litte but it’s fine because I covered it with frosting! The flavor is outstanding! My son said it was delicious. I made two 8 inch layers and a 6 inch. Thanks for the great recipe. I did use a different frosting recipe, the chocolate from the Wilton website. Thanks again!

  22. Leanna says

    I made this cake for my son’s 12th birthday. I’ve been searching for several years for a layer marble cake without much luck. I will not need to look any further. This cake is AMAZING!!! I did not make the mocha frosting, just made a standard chocolate frosting. This cake is both visually stunning and it tastes fantastic. Thanks for the great recipe!

  23. kris says

    Is it possible to make the cake without the coffee? Would you substitute water or milk for the 1/2 cup coffee? I want to make this for my son’s bday, and coffee is out of the question!

  24. Brandy says

    I absolutely lived this cake! My son had asked that I make him a marbled cake for his birthday and I got worried because I’ve never made one before. I found your recipe and decided to try it out. I was so happy with the ease of the batters coming together so well. I didn’t use a stand mixer or a hand mixer… Just my whisk… I did reduce the leavening because of my elevation and they came out perfect. I also just made a buttercream frosting and held off some to add cocoa to for the layers. When I frosted it I made the outside look marbled too. It was perfectly moist and everyone agreed that it is one for the keeping!!! Thank you so much!

  25. Alice says

    I just tried this recipe last night because I am looking for a marble cake for a friend’s birthday. It tastes wonderful, but I’m afraid it will be too moist to layer into a tall cake. Have I done something wrong? I cooked it for the amount of time shown in the recipe. Wondering if I should have cooked it a little longer, or whether I can make any substitutions that might firm it up? Has anyone used this recipe in any shaped cake pans?

  26. says

    Hi Alice, I’m not sure what went wrong. It’s moist, but I always make it as a layer cake and have never had problems. Can you at least freeze it and stack it?

  27. susan says

    I used this recipe for a baby shower cake I just did and everyone loved it! One lady said that she usually doesn’t like chocolate cake but she loved the subtle flavor the coffee made in this. Living at 6,000 ft elevation I had to do the typical high elevation adjustments so it wasn’t dry and didn’t cave in (as most cakes up here do). I also stacked it as a 3 tier cake and it was very sturdy! Thanks for sharing, it is a fantastic recipe!

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