My Recipe Box

Flourless Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake


Serves sixteen

Yields one 9-1/2 inch cake

  • To learn more, read:
    Make and Freeze Desserts
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 54

This dense, luscious cake has a texture a little like fudge and a little like cheesecake. A small slice goes a long way.

For the vanilla batter:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the chocolate batter:
  • 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 5 oz. (10 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. dark rum or espresso
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch table salt
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
To slice the marble cake neatly, use a hot knife (run it under hot running water and dry it). Wipe the blade clean between slices.

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease a 9x2-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment.

Make the vanilla batter: In a medium bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and continue beating until well blended and no lumps remain. Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until blended. Set aside.

Make the chocolate batter:  In a medium bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in a large metal bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. Whisk until smooth and set aside to cool slightly. With a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs, sugar, rum or espresso, vanilla, and salt on medium high until the mixture is pale and thick, 3 to 4 min. With the mixer on low, gradually pour in the chocolate mixture and continue beating until well blended.

Combine and bake: Spread about half of the chocolate batter in the bottom of the pan. Alternately add large scoopfuls of each of the remaining batters to the cake pan. Using a knife or the tip of a rubber spatula, gently swirl the two batters together so they're mixed but not completely blended. Rap the pan against the countertop several times to settle the batters.

Bake until a pick inserted about 2 inches from the edge comes out gooey but not liquid, 40 to 42 min.; don't overbake. The top will be puffed and slightly cracked, especially around the edges. It will sink down as it cools. Let cool on a rack until just slightly warm, about 1-1/2 hours. Loosen the cake from the pan by holding the pan almost perpendicular to the counter; tap the pan on the counter while rotating it clockwise. Invert onto a large flat plate or board. Remove the pan and carefully peel off the parchment. Sift some cocoa powder over the cake (this will make it easier to remove the slices when serving). Invert again onto a similar plate so that the top side is up. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight, or freeze.

Sprinkle cocoa on the bottom of the cake before inverting it onto another plate; the cocoa will keep the cake from sticking when you slice and serve it.
Make Ahead Tips

Wrap the cooled cake (unmolded as directed in the recipe) in plastic and refrigerate until firm and well chilled. Slide the cake from the plate and wrap it again in plastic. Freeze for up to a month. To serve, unwrap the cake and set it on a flat serving plate. Cover with plastic wrap and thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or at room temperature for an hour or two.

Photo: Anna Williams


An amazing recipe. I'm a cook, but not a baker. I always hesitate to bake something and usually ask someone else to bring dessert. But will make this recipe again and again and again. It's fool proof - even for non-bakers. Initially, I was nervous that I didn't get the cool pattern as shown in the picture. I had to dig deep to get the fun presentation. I made it the week before the party and froze it as per the directions provided. It was perfect. Served it with ice cream and fresh fruit.

This was awesome! The colder the better. I made 2 for 2 different parties and there wasn't much left, even though it is a super rich dessert.

This is fabulous! I served it at a dinner party sitting on a swirl of raspberry coulis and topped with a dollop of whipped cream. It was a big success, everyone wanted the recipe.

Easy to make and fabulous!

I have quite a few family/friends who cannot eat wheat so this is staple. Usually I feel like I am having to compromise to accommodate but not with this recipe - great texture, gorgeous flavour!

So amazing, and quite easy to make! I love flourless chocolate cakes as a rule, but the vanilla batter just gave it that extra "oomph". I also love that you can make it ahead of time and save it for later. A perfect cake for a special occasion!

I've made this twice, following the recipe exactly. Everyone has LOVED this cake. Now, if only I could make the marbling as pretty as the picture ... Thanks for our new favorite special occasion cake.

This is delicious! I've made it a number of times and it's very special. It's really more of a confection than a cake, in my opinion. That's why it serves 16. Even a little slice is very satisfying. It also freezes incredibly well, so it's a great make-ahead dessert perfect for special occassions or whenever you want to pamper your family or your guests.

This is wonderful, dense and luscious! It gets raves whenever I make it!

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