We celebrated my friend Ginny’s birthday this last week.  🙂  When I asked her what sort of food she wanted for it, she thought for a minute, then said she wanted a cake that combined her three favorite flavors — dark chocolate, coffee, and cherries.  What was more, she wanted to make a marble cake.  It sounded like an absolutely fantastic idea to me and we started making test cakes straight off the bat.

This cake is based on the chocolate cake I made for Ginny’s birthday last year; the coffee frosting is based on this recipe I found online.  The results speak for themselves; once the cake was cut, by the time I was able to take a picture there were only two slices left!

But enough chatter; let’s get to the good stuff.  🙂

Marbled Cake With Coffee-and-Cherry Frosting

Yield:  2 9-inch rounds


for the cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups dough mix
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 2 T hot water

for the frosting:

  • We used 3 batches of this coffee butter frosting recipe as our baseline, but used dark chocolate cocoa powder, and pureed some maraschino cherries into part of it (as described later on).  You’ll need:
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered or confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 T dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 T strong brewed coffee
  • maraschino cherries


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease and “flour” (with dough mix) two 9-inch cake pans, and set aside.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together all the dry ingredients for the cake except the cocoa powder — that is, sugar, dough mix, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  At the same time, start your cup of water boiling, either on the stove or in the microwave, whichever you’d rather.

3.  Mix in eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla with the stand mixer’s paddle attachment; then, add and gently whisk in the boiling water.  The batter will be pretty thin, but don’t worry, that’s a good thing.

4.  Reserve 2/3 cup of the batter, and divide the rest equally between the two prepped cake pans.

5.  Gently whisk the dark cocoa powder and 2 T hot water into the reserved batter.  Then, dividing the reserved batter equally between the two pans, pour a thin stream of the batter around and through the pan.  Don’t let more than a spoonful of the reserved batter fall in more than one place, but otherwise it doesn’t matter much.

Take a fork and gently thread it through any thick patches of the cocoa-ful batter — carefully spreading this batter through the rest, without letting it actually incorporate all the way, is what will get the marbled effect in the finished cake.

6.  Bake the rounds for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

7.  While the cake cools (you want it to cool completely), go ahead and make the frosting.  I used the dark chocolate cocoa powder in the frosting as well.  I frosted the cake completely with that frosting (it took between 2 and 3 batches of the amounts given on allrecipes.com), reserved a little of the extra just in case, then used a blender to puree some maraschino cherries (and red food coloring) into the rest of the frosting, just enough to give the rest of the frosting a nice cherry taste to go with the coffee and dark chocolate.  I don’t have an exact amount to give you here; it’s more a t0-taste thing.  🙂

The result was a somewhat thinner frosting that I layered lightly over the already-frosted cake:

It may not look too neat, but it tasted superb.  🙂  The dark chocolate, coffee, and cherries came together just right.  It was a pleasure to make and a pleasure to eat.  I hope you enjoy it too.