Brown Butter Marble Cake

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A simple, kid-friendly bakery staple, elevated by nutty liquid gold.
brown butter marble cake recipe: four slices of chocolate and vanilla marble cake
Yossy Arefi/Snacking Bakes

It never hurts to have a little something sweet to snack on alongside a cup of coffee, especially if you have company. This simple-yet-elegant brown butter marble cake from Yossy Arefi’s new cookbook, Snacking Bakes, is sure to impress without overworking you.

“This diner classic gets a little boost from one of my favorite ingredients, brown butter,” writes Arefi. “Browning the butter takes about five minutes, but it adds so much flavor to this marbled chocolate and vanilla cake.”

Dollops of each batter bake into an asymmetrical pattern reminiscent of cow spots. Slice and serve the cake with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, a smear of berry jam, a drizzle of mocha glaze or nothing at all. Either way, your guests will ask for seconds.

Snacking Bakes” Copyright © 2023 by Yasameen Arefi-Afshar. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.


10 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, plus more for greasing

¾ cup (150g) sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup (230g) sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1¼ cups (160g) all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray or brush with butter. Line the pan with a strip of parchment paper that hangs over two of the edges.

2. In a small skillet or saucepan with a light-colored interior, melt 8 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Once melted, cook the butter, stirring constantly until the milk solids are deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the pan and swirl until the butter melts.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs until pale and foamy, about 1 minute. Add the sour cream, brown butter, vanilla and salt and whisk until smooth and emulsified.

4. Whisk in the baking powder and baking soda. Fold in the flour with a spatula and mix until well combined. Scoop about 1¼ cups of batter into a medium bowl and stir in the cocoa powder until smooth.

5. Scoop alternating dollops of each batter into the prepared pan and use a skewer to swirl the two batters together. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to settle the batter.

6. Bake the cake until puffed and golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few chocolatey crumbs, 30 to 35 minutes.

7. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for about 15 minutes, then use the parchment paper to lift the cake out and onto the rack to cool completely. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Store loosely covered at room temperature for up to three days.

Nutrition Facts
  • 202 calories

  • 12g fat

  • 21g carbs

  • 3g protein

  • 11g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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