For batter amounts and baking times, see Cook's Note below; this recipe can be multiplied.



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper; butter parchment. Dust with flour, and tap out excess; set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside.

  • Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing until combined after each. Mix in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk and cream.

  • Stir cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in 1 cup cake batter. This will make about 1 cup batter; to make larger amounts of chocolate batter, repeat with additional cocoa powder, boiling water, and cake batter using the same amounts.

  • Fill prepared cake pans by alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate batters in a checkerboard pattern. Run a skewer through batter in a figure-eight motion to create a marble pattern. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean. Let cool completely in pans on wire racks. Run a knife around edges to loosen, and turn out cakes onto racks.

Batter amounts and baking times for hexagonal pans
  • 9-inch, 4 1/2 cups vanilla batter, 1 cup chocolate batter, 50 minutes; 12-inch, 7 cups vanilla batter, 2 1/4 cups chocolate batter, 1 hour; 15-inch, 9 1/2 cups vanilla batter, 3 1/2 cups chocolate batter, 1 hour 20 minutes