Filed under: Bundt Cakes
May 15, 2021

Marbled Sour Cream Pound Cake

A marble bundt cake has both chocolate and vanilla pound cake batter layered together to make a two-toned, perfectly moist and classic sour cream pound cake.  

4.89 from 27 votes
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I love this pound cake so much that days after I took all these photos, I went back and made it again – marbled and everything, simply because we didn’t get enough of the first and wanted more. Many of you loved my blood orange pound cake and this recipe uses the same base so I know you’ll love it too. Plus, it’s half chocolate pound cake! 

Recipe Origins

To get a moist pound cake you need to use the good fats, hence sour cream pound cake. Butter is a given, but adding sour cream will make for a richer, super moist and tender cake. In my experience, a sour cream pound cake is far and wide better than one made with milk or even heavy cream because it leads to a moist, melt-in-your-mouth bite. 

Also similar to the blood orange pound cake, I use cake flour here too; the fine mill of cake flour and the added starch to it make for a tight, tender crumb. This is the way to get that iconic pound cake texture just so.

Recipe Ingredients 

Butter: I used american style butter here. It should be unsalted so you can control the amount of salt added to the batter and it must be at a soft room temperature. 

Sugar: fine granualted sugar. Reducing the sugar will affect the structure and texture (moisture level) of the cake. 

Cake flour: cake flour is more finely ground than all purpose, and made from a softer wheat. It gives this cake a super tender texture. If you can’t find it you can swap it for all purpose. 

Cocoa: dutch process cocoa has a richer flavor so it’s my preference for this cake. 

Vanilla: pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Use good quality! 

Salt: fine sea salt. Fine means it will dissolve better into the batter. If you’re using table salt, halve the amount. 

Eggs: whole large eggs. Bring them to room temperature before you begin. 

Sour cream: full fat, also bring it to room temperature before you begin. 

How to make marble pound cake\

This is a lengthy but simple process: the butter and sugar need to beat really really well, then the eggs go in (one by one), beat again for awhile, and then sour cream. Divide the batter into two and add just flour to one and a mix of flour and cocoa to another. Then you’ll layer the batters into a bundt cake. 

Most important: have EVERYTHING at room temperature. This enables the batter to blend easily together. We’ll talk about what to do if the batter splits, but it’s really best to avoid that happening. 

Start by

Prepping the bundt pan: either use a baking spray or butter the pan well then flour it (baking sprays have both flour and oil in them). 

Add the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. 

Beating the sugar and butter for at least 10 full minutes in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. It should be VERY light and airy. 

Beat the eggs in one by one, to allow them to emulsify into the butter. 

It might start out like this: 

But as you beat it, it will look more like this: 

Add the sour cream and baking powder and then divide the batter in half, keeping one half in the mixing bowl. 

To that batter, sift in the greater amount of cake flour and then beat to combine

Transfer it to a bowl then add the second half of the batter (that doesn’t have flour) back into the mixer bowl. Sift into it the cocoa and cake flour and beat to combine

Then layer the batters into the bundt pan, beginning and ending with vanilla. 

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean or the top springs back, about 50 minutes. 

 

 

Details on getting the ‘Marbled’ look

I was aiming for more of a ‘zebra’ like cake, which I still believe is possible but you’ll need to layer your alternate batters more thinly than I’ve done here. It’s such a striking cake as it is though, even with just 3-5 layers it will turn out absolutely gorgeous. There is something rather special about a classic marble cake, or any swirled cake, it’s eye-catching but also it gets you excited about each bite knowing it will have two different flavors. 

 

Troubleshooting pound cake

My batter split 

Split batter happens when the eggs with their high water content, won’t emulsify into the butter. You’ll see this once all the eggs are in and the batter will be rrough looking (even if it’s aerated) and noticeably separated. This is what split batter looks like: 

(I didn’t do this on purpose but how lucky for us to have visual cues lol). To fix it, we’re going to set the bowl over a pot of simmering water, this is going to partially warm up the batter so that we can bring it together. Once you see a bit of the butter melted, remove the bowl from the heat. It’ll look something like this: 

From here you can proceed with adding the dry ingredients and it will come together smoothly. 

My cake didn’t rise 

After receiving many comments like this, I recently added a leavening agent to the recipe although traditionally pound cakes don’t have any as they rely on the aeration of the batter for volume. Sufficiently creaming the batter and whipping the eggs for as long as needed will give you a traditional rise, which is honestly very little. That’s the beauty of a pound cake – a tight crumb! They aren’t meant to be fluffy. That said, you now have a teaspoon of baking powder in the batter to just help the cake along, if needed. 

My cake is raw in the middle 

This might happen if the cake pan was too small (less than 10 cups) or if the cake was taken out too early. If you are finding that the cake is over-browning but a cake tester is still coming out with liquid then cover it with foil and allow it to continue to bake until the tester comes out clean. 

FAQ for Marble Pound Cake 

How to soften butter quickly? 

My cheat way of doing this is popping butter (in it’s paper wrapper) in the microwave for 10 seconds or less. Never to the point of melting it, but just so that if I press it it leaves an indentation. 

Why do we beat pound cake batter so long? 

Most cakes need air beaten into them in order for them to rise, usually you’ll add baking soda or baking powder to make those air bubbles bigger so the cake rises in the oven. A classic pound cake has no leavening and so we’ll beat as much air as possible into it. That along with the eggs will help it rise and become tender. 

Can I make substitutions for this marble pound cake recipe? 

No substitutions for the eggs, butter or sugar. If you cannot find cake flour, you may use all purpose flour (perhaps even swapping out a tablespoon of it for some cornstarch) and it’s possible a full-fat greek yogurt would work here instead of sour cream, though I haven’t tried it. 

How can I vary up the flavor in this pound cake recipe?

This recipe yields a classic vanilla & chocolate cake but you can add some lemon or orange zest to it, or some spices (cinnamon! cardamom!) to jazz it up a bit. 

How do I know when a pound cake is done baking? 

Use a cake tester or press your finger into the center; if it springs back and feels firm, the cake is done. 

How to make a thick chocolate glaze, as pictured? 

Use less liquid and more powdered sugar. When you stir it with a rubber spatula, it should be stiff but still slightly pourable. 

Marble Pound Cake Recipe 



Marble Pound Cake

Perfectly marbled bundt cake made with both chocolate and vanilla sour cream pound cake batters.
marble pound cake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
4.89 from 27 votes

Ingredients

Marble Pound Cake

  • 300g or 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 339g or 1 ½ cups unsalted butter softened
  • 1 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 5 large eggs
  • cup full fat sour cream
  • 150g or 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (for the vanilla batter)
  • 65g or ½ cup cake flour (for the chocolate batter)
  • 50g or ⅓ cup dutch process cocoa powder

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Flaked sea salt for topping

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 10 cup bundt pan.
  • If your eggs aren’t at room temp, set them in a bowl of warm water.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar, butter, salt, powder and vanilla for a full 10 minutes, the mixture should be very light and fluffy.
  • With the mixer on low, one by one add the eggs, allowing time for each to fully incorporate before adding another.
  • Add the sour cream and beat to combine.
  • Divide batter in half (use a scale if you have it, it'll be around 500g for each half).
  • To one half sift in ½ cup cake flour and cocoa. To the other half sift in 1 cup flour and 2 tablespoons of cake flour.
  • Layer the batter into the bundt pan, alternating between the chocolate and the plain (you should get about 3 layers from each for a total of 6-7 layers, extras can be added on top).
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes, until you can press the top and it feels firm, or use a cake tester.
  • Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then overturn onto a cooling rack.
  • Once completely cool, make the glaze by whisking all the ingredients together. If the glaze is thick, add a bit more milk, if it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar (or cocoa).
  • Spoon glaze on top of bundt and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.

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26 comments

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Recipe Reviews




  1. 4 stars
    In case anyone happens to be in a similar situation: this recipe makes 2 small Bundt cakes (6 cup pan). I didn’t have enough butter, used oil to make up the rest of the fat; used 2% Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Baked for 25-30 minutes.

  2. This pound cake was very tasty. However is it really necessary to add 5 eggs? it is when I added the fifth egg that the batter separated. Most of the recipes I have read for marble pound cake only require 4 eggs. I think the addition of a fifth egg didn’t add anything. It was not any higher than any other marble cake I’ve made and the batter separation has never occurred before.
    I think that the full table spoon of vanilla really gave it a rich flavor. I would make this pound cake again but I’m wondering if I could only use four eggs and still get the same results but without the separation in the batter. The heating of the batter did not work for me. Could you please test this recipe using only four eggs and let me know the results.

  3. I’m actually furious with the description and just wasted $10 of butter.

    Please correct step 3. When “powder” was mentioned, it was only safe to assume it was referring to the only other “powder” in the recipe: baking powder. I realized this once I got to step 5 and had to throw everything out. Thanks.

    • Oh dear, sorry about that. It actually is the powder in step three (there’s no other powder in the recipe; I accidentally mentioned it twice but it can go in in either step 3 or 5, or anytime really). The cake would have been fine to bake.

  4. 5 stars
    loved this recipe, made it several times, one of my favorites, it rose just fine, followed precisely. Thank you!

  5. 3 stars
    I made this to take to a funeral. I had my doubts when there was no baking powder or baking soda. It came out looking like a big donut. 6 eggs and all that butter wasted. Now I have to bake another cake, that looks like a cake.

  6. 5 stars
    l made this cake and it came out great, very moist. The only substitute was that l used all purpose and not cake flour.

  7. All of the recipes I have visited have a way to print. This recipe does not. A little help?
    I love the information you provide with the recipes. I will now buy organic powdered sugar. ?
    Thank you,
    Mary

  8. 5 stars
    This cake is fan-freaking-tastic! It comes together easily and the flavor is phenomenal. The glaze puts it over the top. Definitely keeping this in my rotation!!

  9. Is big country’s cocoa Dutch? If I do not have Big Country, could I use Rodelles Dutch or Guittards Dutch? Thank you! Can’t wait to try.

  10. 5 stars
    SO GOOD! Moist with great vanilla and chocolate flavor. Best chocolate/vanilla pound cake recipe I’ve tried. Will definitely make again.

  11. This looks delicious! Can0t wait to make it. I have a question tho, does this cake taste best the day it’s made? Or do you recommend me to wait til next day so the flavors can mingle?