Marble cupcakes

What's a girl to do when she has a little bit of heavy cream left in the fridge? I could have tossed it into a bit of pasta sauce for dinner or maybe whipped it up to serve alongside any number of chocolate desserts that I can't seem to resist making regularly, but instead, I thumbed through my little collection of cookbooks for something to bake.  And in this case, I wound up making a batch of marble cupcakes.
I've made marble loaf cake before and interestingly enough, I realized (literally only as I'm writing about it now) that it was right around this time last year, after Hurricane Sandy, that I did that for the first time.  I don't know if there was some memory trigger at work that spurred me on to this but marble cake makes an appearance again.  There's something about the black-and-white swirls that appeal to me.  I was happy to learn the simple technique on how they're made a year ago and I was again happy to play around in my kitchen and make the cupcake version a year later.

Marble cakes are simple yet special - to me, anyway.  You get the best of both worlds: vanilla cake and some chocolate at the same time. The chocolate portion comes together from the same batter, with a mixture of cocoa-water stirred in.  Some recipes use melted chocolate but I like cocoa because it gives a nice strong flavor without adding more sweetness.  Plopping the alternating batters into the muffin liners and running a skewer through it, it's fun to see how they bake up and turn out.  No two are quite the same. 
These cupcakes have richness from butter, whole eggs and a mixture of milk and cream (that's where the extra cream in the fridge came in).  I think they're just right without the need for any glazes or frosting.  These are my kind of simple snack cakes to have around the house, to enjoy any time of day.  I can't seem to have enough of those!  


Recipe:

Marble Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

- Makes 16 cupcakes -

1 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/3 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/3 cup boiling water (original recipe uses 1/4 cup but I find that makes a very thick paste and using a bit more water makes it looser and easier to incorporate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line standard-size muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.  Combine milk and cream in a measuring cup.

Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high speed until mixture is pale and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.  Beat in vanilla.  Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk and cream mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients and beating until incorporated.

To make chocolate batter, remove 1 cup of batter to a separate bowl.  Mix cocoa and boiling water together in a small bowl and add to this reserved batter, stirring well to combine.  

Fill paper liners with alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate batter, filling each about three-quarters of the way.  Using a skewer or the tip of a paring knife, make a figure-eight motion to create a swirl effect.  Don't over do it (since you want distinct swirls, not a muddy look).

Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until tops are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer tins to cooling racks and allow to cool completely before removing the individual cupcakes.  

Store cupcakes overnight in an airtight container or freeze for up to 2 months.






62 comments:

  1. These look so yummy! I have such a fondness for marble cake...and it's even more fun in cupcake form!

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    1. Glad you share my fondness for them, Sara. Thanks!

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  2. I love the idea of cupcakes without frosting! I'm not big on super sweet things and these little cakes look just right. not to mention how pretty they are :)

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    1. Yes, it's satisfying enough without the frosting for me...and if I can't have ganache frosting, I might as well go without. : P

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  3. These marble cupcakes look fantastic Monica - I love the pretty swirls in here! I totally agree and think marble cake is the best of both worlds :) I am so indecisive when it comes to choosing between chocolate and vanilla cake so getting to sample both flavors at a time in cupcake form sounds perfect! These would be totally be my choice for a simple snack cake to have around too, thanks for sharing Monica :)

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    1. Thanks, Kelly. These types of cakes don't win any "wow" factor but I like reliable and simple most of the time. Simple snack cakes are good to have around, aren't they? There's always a need for a mid-afternoon snack cake break!

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  4. Monica, these cupcakes look wonderful especially if they taste rich and buttery...yum! Love the simplicity of it and perfect with a cup of tea or coffee...yum!
    Hope you have a great week ahead...and thank you so much for all the support.

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    1. Hi Juliana - hope you're doing well! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you are relaxing and enjoying some simple snack cakes and a cup of tea or coffee yourself! : )

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  5. These cupcakes look simply delicious! An excellent afternoon snack for me ;)

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  6. I love marbled desserts...and you're right...these cupcakes are especially special because no two are the same! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. They're fun to make and I love to see how they come out. Little things like that make me smile.

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  7. I have not had marble anything in so long, you just took me back to a happy place! Thank you! They look great!

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    1. So true, Pamela...marble cakes and things make me go way back, too... : )

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  8. I totally agree with you when you say that you get the best of both worlds in a marble cake. Your cupcakes look moist and buttery with the right amount of vanilla and chocolate. I'd love to have some now. And this was such a great way of using up cream.

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    1. Thanks so much. I hate to waste and when I have extra ingredients, I'm always thinking about what I can make with it. : ) These little cakes went down easy. : )

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  9. I love marble cake - reminds me of when I was little and my mum would bake it! tehse look divine x

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    1. Yes, something about marble cake makes me think of childhood! : )

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  10. I'm a big fan of marbled baked goods, and these look amazing! And so adorable as well, I love them. I bet the heavy cream in the batter makes them super moist and fluffy, yum!

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    1. I don't see marble baked goods around all that much so it's nice to make it when I think of it. : ) These are nice and moist, not overly rich. : )

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  11. Beautiful marbled muffins! I bet they are as delicious as they look.

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  12. Marbled cake or cupcake was my sister signature sweet bites....
    Thx for remind me about my childhood, she always obsessed with marbled and stuffed anything...hehehe

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    1. Your sister sounds like a fun gal! I love hearing that.

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  13. I've always loved the marble effect in baking but have never actually tried it out myself, at least not yet anyway. These are so beautiful and delicious-sounding it's making me want to add them to the top of my "to bake" list (and it's a very very long list)

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    1. Same here until last year when I made the marble loaf cake. It's really so easy...I just have to remind myself not to over do it and swirl too much. It's kinda fun...Thanks, Aimee!

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  14. Not only does it sound fun Monica - but it looks wonderful! It is truly the best of both flavors in a gorgeous cupcake - yum!

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    1. Thanks, Tricia! It's simple but just a little bit special (I think anyway).

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  15. These are adorable--- waaay to pretty to frost!

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  16. I love marble cake, so cupcake versions are even better!

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  17. I completely agree with you - there is something about marble cakes that are so special! I adore the way they look - and you get some of each flavor in each bite! I love that these are individual cupcakes - perfect for snacking!

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    1. Thanks, Ashley. They're kind of retro or something. Just fun to look at and good to eat so why not! A cupcake is good portion control, right? ; )

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  18. I am a big fan of marble cake but I would have never considered it in a cupcake. Good job Monica! These look wonderful! Fab photos too :-)

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    1. Thanks, Jo. I think I'm good at scouring around for recipes so hopefully that makes up for my general lack of creativity for the most part. : ) Have a good week!

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  19. I do love marble cake, I remember the first gluten free cake that I made was land o lakes recipe of gf marble cake. These cupcakes looks impressive.

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    1. That's really cool, Balvinder! Thank you!

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  20. I prefer marble cake to just plain vanilla or chocolate. These cupcakes look so moist! I want to grab a few and devour them :)

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    1. I wish I could share some with you. : )

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  21. can you believe i've never actually eaten marble cake?! no idea why, i know i'd love it! i'll definitely save this recipe :D thanks for sharing!
    the hobbit kitchen x

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    1. I think it may be the kind of thing those of us in the US associate with childhood. I hope you try it one day. Nothing earth-shattering, just good moist cake.

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  22. I kind of want one of these now for breakfast :-) Great way to use up some cream!

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    1. Thanks, Dawn. My husband is big into sweets for breakfast so he loves saving these types of cupcake/muffins for the morning. : )

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  23. I love looking back at my old posts from the year before and it really is eerie how often I make similar things at the same time each year. I guess my cravings are cyclical? Lovely muffins! The marbling is so fun.

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    1. Love that you noticed that, Joanne. I was scratching my head like "wait a minute..." and I'll tell you something else, there was another coincidence like this a bit later. I don't think I'm doing it on purpose. It really could/must be a cyclical craving thing like you said...especially for me, who's pretty predictable and patterned when it comes to what I do and eat. : )

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  24. Perfect marbling and I love that this cupcake doesn't have any frosting!!

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    1. It's nice when a cake is flavorful and moist enough not to need anything on it.

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  25. These look so yummy Monica! I love marble cakes and making them smaller makes them so much fun to eat. Your swirl them beautifully! Have a great weekend.

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    1. Yeah...I hadn't done cupcakes before so I thought why not. They're cute little snack cakes. : )

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  26. i love marble cake too - simple but special, i agree - and your cupcakes look like they have a marvelous texture to them. I've never tried marble cupcakes, but i'm definitely going to now.

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    1. Yes, they're moist but not too rich. Good balance, I think.

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  27. These look so wonderful! You see a lot of marble cakes, but I hardly ever see marble cupcakes. Great idea!

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    1. Hi Christin! Thank you - making individual cupcakes always takes a bit more work but it's pretty easy when there's no frosting involved. I liked seeing the individual ones and comparing how they looked. : )

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  28. What a lovely recipe. I adore the black and white swirls in the marble cupcake...simple but elegant, and tasty (: If I had heavy cream leftover, I'd make these cupcakes in a jiffy (: Hope you're having a great day, Monica!

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    1. Thank you, Monica. I'm glad you like them. Black & white is classic. : )

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  29. Thanks for this best and delicious recipes.It remained my childhood when my mom bake it and i was standing beside her and waiting when it completely and i will grap:-)..Thanks
    Childhood Time

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    1. What lovely memories...happy baking and cooking to you!

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