1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup cocoa powder

For the ganache frosting:
2/3 cup of heavy cream
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon corn syrup (optional)

9″ x 5″ loaf pan
Pastry brush or folded paper towel
Stand mixer or mixing bowl
Measuring cups and spoons
Three small bowls
Wooden spoon
Small sauce pan



  1. Prep.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour the loaf pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light lemon-colored and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Measure the flour and crack the eggs.  While the butter and sugar are creaming, measure out the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and whisk lightly to combine. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the vanilla.
  4. Add the eggs.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between each addition and scraping the bowl as needed.
  5. Add the flour and buttermilk, alternating.  Add 1/3 of the flour to the batter and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Then add 1/2 of the buttermilk and beat.  Add another 1/3 of the flour, and beat, and then the last of the buttermilk and beat.  Finally, beat in the last 1/3 of the flour.
  6. Add the chocolate. Transfer roughly 1/2 of the batter to a separate bowl. In a small bowl or ramekin, mix the cocoa powder with 2 tablespoons of hot tap water until smooth. Add this chocolate mixture to the remaining batter.  Beat to incorporate.
  7. Spoon into the prepared pan, creating a two-layer checkerboard. Beginning with the vanilla mixture, place four spoonfuls of batter into the pan, spacing them far enough apart so that you can create a checkerboard when you add the chocolate batter.  Add the chocolate batter into the empty spaces to fill the bottom of the pan in a checkerboard pattern.  Repeat with the second layer, alternating the vanilla and chocolate batter. (See notes, above)
  8. Swirl.  Using the handle of a wooden spoon, swirl the batter to create a marbled effect. (See notes, above.)
  9. Bake the cake.  Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, rotating the pan half way through.  The cake is done when it has browned slightly and a cake tester comes our clean when inserted into the middle.  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then unmold and let cool completely.  → At this point, the cake can can be wrapped in plastic and stored for a few days or frozen for several months.
  10. Make the ganache.

    Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Remove from heat, and add chopped chocolate and corn syrup (if using).  Let sit until chocolate is melted and then stir gently to combine.  Let cool slightly until ganache has thickened to a pourable consistency.

  11. Frost.  Place the cake on a serving platter.  Pour the ganache over the cake and spread lightly as needed.  Allow it to drip down the sides here and there.


Recipe taken from