This show-stopping, simple marble loaf cake is more than just gorgeous. It's downright magical. That's right! Layers of rich vanilla and chocolate batter are layered upon one another and with no effort on your part they create the extraordinary tiger-like interior you see below.
Not only is this tiger cake fun, it's exceptionally tender, moist and easy to prepare. And let's face it....who doesn't love a good marble cake? It crosses divides and makes both the vanilla AND chocolate lovers in your life happy.
Ready for a super fun baking project? Let's get started!
Why This Recipe Works
This easy marble loaf cake is bound to become a new favorite because:
- It uses oil rather than butter which results in an exceptionally moist and tender cake crumb.
- A hefty dose of vanilla extract and plenty of cocoa powder ensure delicious vanilla and chocolate flavor.
- The marbling process is pure magic! No need to run a skewer or knife through the batter. This gorgeous interior happens all on its own.
What Makes This Recipe Nordic/Scandinavian?
In the Nordic countries, a vanilla and chocolate marble cake is known as a Tiger Cake (Tigerkaka in Swedish). An appropriate name with its striped appearance but also so much more exciting than marble cake, don't you think? Oh, and it is absolutely fabulous with a cup of coffee.
- All purpose flour forms the base of the cake.
- Cocoa powder, sugar, water and espresso powder form a chocolate base that will eventually be mixed with a part of the vanilla batter so that we have both chocolate and vanilla cake batters.
- Espresso powder deepens the chocolate flavor in this cake without introducing any coffee flavor. This ingredient is optional, but it does bring out the best in the cocoa.
- Instead of butter, this cake uses canola or vegetable oil (read the FAQ section for more on this).
- Buttermilk helps create a tender and moist cake.
- Eggs impart structure, leavening (along with baking powder) and richness.
Special Equipment Needed
How to Make This Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour a standard 9 x 5 loaf pan. Set aside.
- Mix the chocolate base: Combine the cocoa, espresso powder (if using), water and sugar together in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
- Briefly stir the baking powder and flour together in a medium bowl. Sift this mixture onto a piece of parchment paper or wax paper and set aside.
- Add the oil, sugar, vanilla and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed until combined. Add the eggs and the egg yolk one at a time, making sure one egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Continue to mix on medium-high until the mixture is pale in color and thick in texture, about 3-5 minutes.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add one third of the dry ingredients. Wait until it is just incorporated and then add half of the buttermilk. Repeat this process one more time and then finally, add the last third of the dry ingredients.
- Transfer about half of the batter to separate bowl and add the chocolate base. Stir with a rubber spatula until uniformly brown in color.
- Pour one third of the vanilla batter into the prepared loaf pan, followed by one third of the chocolate batter. Repeat twice more.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes-1 hour and 40 minutes.
- Cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Don't over mix the batter once the dry ingredients come into contact with the wet ingredients. This can lead to a not so tender cake. Mix on low and JUST until everything is incorporated. Same goes for when you mix the chocolate base with the batter. Use a gentle hand and a rubber spatula.
- Don't worry about getting the layers of batter perfectly even or having them reach all the way to the edge of the pan....however yours is layered will be just fine.
- There is no need to use a skewer or knife to marble the batter. Some recipes for marble cake require you to run a skewer or knife through batter in a figure 8 fashion in order to create the marbled effect. NO NEED TO DO THAT IN THIS RECIPE! The layers will separate themselves into beautiful marbled appearance magically in the oven! There is nothing you need to do to help make this happen.
- Be sure to insert a tester into the center of the cake to make sure it's done. This cake takes a while to bake so be patient and make certain there is no raw batter that remains in the middle of your cake.
Oil has more fat than butter (butter is part water), and it gives the cake a delightfully moist, close crumb.
This cake keeps well tightly wrapped in plastic at room temperature for about 3 days.
Absolutely! This cake freezes very well. Once it has cooled completely, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in a layer of foil. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Looking for more delicious Swedish cakes to make for afternoon fika? I've got several delicious choices for you here on the blog:
Swedish Tiger Cake (Tigerkaka)
- For the chocolate base:
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder optional
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ cup warm water
- For the cake batter:
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon fine salt
- 3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour a 9 x 5 standard loaf pan. Make the chocolate base: Whisk the cocoa powder, espresso powder, sugar and water together in a medium bowl until smooth until smooth. Set aside.
- Make the cake batter: Sift the flour and baking powder together (a fine mesh strainer works great for this job) onto a clean piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
- Combine the sugar, canola oil, vanilla and salt together in the work bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until just combined. Add eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, making sure that each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Continue to mix on medium high until thick in texture and pale in color, about 3-5 minutes.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add one third of the flour mixture followed by one half of the buttermilk. Add the second third of the flour mixture followed by the remainder of the buttermilk. Finally, add the remaining third of the flour mixture. Mix until the cake batter just comes together, being careful not to overmix.
- Transfer about half of the batter to the bowl with the cocoa powder mixture and fold together until the batter is consistently brown in color.
- Add one third of the plain batter to the prepared pan followed by one third of the chocolate batter. Repeat twice more, alternating plain and chocolate batters.
- Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes and then run a knife around the sides of the cake to make sure it is not stuck to the sides. Carefully transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
If you loved this recipe, give it a star review! Also, snap a picture of your Swedish Tiger Cake and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #truenorthkitchen and tagging me @true_north_kitchen.
This cake looks fantastic! Can't wait to try it. I'm just curious about why you recommend sifting the flour and baking powder onto a piece of parchment paper rather than in a clean bowl?
Thanks for your question! Really there is no reason. I just like to be able to fold the parchment over and let the flour pour into the bowl that way but it totally isn't necessary. You can totally sift into a bowl. Let me know what you think of the cake if you try it!
I have just found your website and all your recipes look amazing. With the baking - are the oven temperatures stated for a fan forced oven ?
Thank you, Karolina
Thanks for your nice note! The oven temperatures are for a conventional oven not a convection oven. Hope this helps!
A great cake! I added cardamon to the batter because - well, I love cardamon. Thanks for some great recipes!
Cardamom is always a good idea! Thanks for your comment and I'm glad you enjoyed the cake!
This was so good! The perfect moisture level and crumb! I've been trying every recipe I can find for Tiger Cake for my daughter after her trip to Sweden and all the others have been too dry. My Swedish husband even gave this cake the ultimate compliment--he said it was this close | | to being as good as his mother's!
Thanks for the feedback, Carrie! So happy you and your family enjoyed it!