Easy Trini sponge cake recipe - Plain & Marble

31.5.22 | Recipe by Renz

This marble sponge cake is another Caribbean dessert favorite. Popular at birthday parties and around Christmas time, this deliciously moist and buttery cake is the perfect treat. 

A slice of marble sponge cake on a plate showing the marble with the remaining cake in the background.

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My fondest memories of any kind of party included having cake. And I don't mean the birthday cake for the celebrant.

I'm talking about the cake that they serve you a few slices during the party or they send you home with, in your snack box.

This type of cake is also popular around Christmas time and might be referred to as Christmas sponge cake. If people don't want to eat some black cake/rum cake then they can get a slice of plain cake instead.

So here I am sharing with you not just a Caribbean sponge cake recipe, but one that you can easily turn into a marble sponge cake by adding some colors.

It's a delicious marble cake recipe, that you can make at just about the same time you will make a box cake.

This basic sponge cake recipe is a great after-dinner treat. In this recipe, we turn a basic plain sponge cake into a colorful treat.

What is marble sponge cake?

For us Caribbean folks, a sponge cake is a light and moist yellow cake made with flour, sugar, eggs, and baking powder.

This classic favorite is also amped up with colors to make a marble sponge cake. We are a colorful set of people, so we grab pinks and some greens and add them to our cake batter, and then mix it up and make it marble.

Sometimes you might just see colors of vanilla and chocolate too. But for our Trini sponge cake, we resort to colors like it's carnival.

Ingredients for sponge cake

To make the traditional plain cake, the ingredients are pretty basic.

Picture of ingredients for Trini marble sponge cake.

  • Granulated sugar - If you have brown sugar, you can use that, it will just make the color of the original batter a little darker.
  • Unsalted butter - You need your butter to room temperature. So make sure to take it out a few hours before or even overnight.
  • Flour.
  • Baking powder.
  • Eggs.
  • Vanilla essence.
  • Nutmeg.
  • Cinnamon powder.

Then to turn this into a colorful marble cake:


How to make marble sponge cake

I think making this cake is pretty easy. It's a simple recipe with the regular basic steps for making a sponge cake.

Make sure to check out the tips and tricks area to learn some things to avoid that I learned while doing a few tries of this recipe.

Grease your cake pan(s) well and set aside. I normally use two regular 8-inch pans. And turn your oven on so it can preheat. Make sure you grease well with either butter alone, butter and flour, or parchment paper.

In your mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, cream sugar, and butter together until combined.

Then add your eggs to the creamed butter mixture one at a time, making sure to incorporate them well into the mixture. Also, add your vanilla.

Creamed butter and sugar and a tablespoon of vanilla essence.

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients of flour (sifted), baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Step by step process of sifting flour, adding baking powder and adding spices.

Take your flour mixture add it to the creamed butter mixture and combine well.

Picture of adding flour and spices to creamed butter and sugar.

So this is now the cake batter as if we were making a Caribbean sponge cake recipe.

How to make a marble sponge cake?

Now we want to make this into a marble sponge cake. So to transform it from a plain cake recipe, we are going to add some color.

We will separate the batter and then recombine it with the different colors.

I like having three colors in my marble. The original "yellow cake" and then two other colors. I know some people prefer just to have plain vanilla and chocolate but we grew up with colors.

Separate the mixture into three separate bowls. Add two different colors separately to the two bowls and mix well. Make sure the color is evenly distributed.

Collage of pictures of adding coloring to the original cake batter.

In your cake pan, take a cupful of one color and drop it in one area. From another color, take a cupful and drop it next to the first amount. Then from the third color, drop some batter.

Repeat this until the pan has all the batter from the three bowls. Make sure it is not filled more than 3/4 way up.

Process for layering marble cake into pans prior to baking.

Once this is done, you can take a rubber spatula or a thin knife and create a swirl pulling all three colors around in the pan to make a marble effect.

You can take it from the bottom and bring up the batter to the top, then swirl the pan around with a knife in the batter.

Picture of swirled batter for a marble cake prior to baking.

Place into the preheated oven, on the middle rack, and bake for 40 minutes. It's ready when, using a butter knife or a wooden pick, it comes out clean from the center and the cake has left the sides of the pan. If the pick comes out with wet dough still then give it a little extra time to finish up. About 5 minutes.

Take it out of the oven, and let the cake cool for about 10 - 15 minutes. Then remove it from the pans, place it on a cooling rack, and let it continue to cool.

How to store marble sponge cake

Once fully cooled, you want to store this delicious cake in a cool area.

I like to wrap it with plastic wrap which helps to keep the cake moist while stored. It stays very well, once wrapped, on the counter for up to five days.

After that five days, or even before if you wish, place the properly wrapped cake in the fridge.

It is good for up to a week, once you continue to make sure it's wrapped tightly. Or you can place it in an airtight container like a cake pan.

A plain sponge cake changed into a marble cake on a cake stand with a green spatula.

What to eat with marble sponge cake?

I love, love love this cake when warm, all by itself. Then cooled, it's amazing with some ice cream like vanilla or soursop.

You can also use the actual sponge cake, after baking, to make an ice cream cake of layered ice cream and cake.

It's also great to pair with some drinks. Grab a glass of mauby or a nice non alcoholic fruit punch.

Why is my sponge cake rubbery?

Cakes can get rubbery from overmixing. Flour has gluten and this is activated when mixed. If it is overmixed and the gluten is activated too much then the cake will become rubbery and hard. 

So make sure to not mix too much, especially the butter and the sugar. Use butter at room temperature. 

Also, make sure to not overbake. 

Close up of a slice of Trini marble cake with green food colouring.

Tips for making Trini sponge cake

* Do not fill pans up past 3/4 way. I had an accident with one of my testing of this recipe where the cake rose well over the edge of the pan making a big mess. So remember that. Don't fill them all the way up. I always get two pans worth of batter.

* Sift your flour. Sifting the flour (especially if using all-purpose flour) will help with making the cake a light cake.

* Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature. It's important to have this happen because ingredients that are at room temperature actually combine better together. Because they are warmer, they are able to create this even textured batter that is smooth and uniform.

Sally's baking addiction has some great tips on room-temperature ingredients for baking.

* If you have a hand mixer, you can beat your eggs in a separate bowl then pour the egg mixture into the creamed sugar and combine.

Make sure you crack your eggs one at a time into a cup and then into the bowl to avoid getting a bad egg and spoiling your whole batch.

* Make sure colors are mixed in well. When adding the food coloring to the separated batter, make a well in the middle and add some coloring, then add some at the top and mix. Make sure you get all the coloring dispersed through the batter.

* If you are mixing and you see curdling while mixing in your eggs, add a little flour to the batter. Using your mixer at a high speed when adding the eggs would help eliminate the curdling effect.

* Make sure you properly grease your pans. I normally do spray pans with Baker's Joy spray. You can also use parchment paper to line the pans or grease the pans and then flour them. Some people even grease the pans add the parchment, then batter.

* Make sure there are no air bubbles in the batter. Sometimes you can get bubbles in your cake batter from too much mixing. Sometimes it's even from the baking powder in the mixture.

If you see bubbles after you put it into the pan (especially if just making a plain sponge cake) you can drop the pan a few times on the counter to help push the air out.

* If you want to add additional flavor.  For some extra flavor, you can add some lemon zest or orange zest to the mix.

* If you have cake flour. I always use all-purpose flour but you can definitely use cake flour instead. I heard it gives a much lighter sponge cake too. Cake flour is not 1 for 1 with all-purpose. You can get more information with the substitution of flour from Southern living

Here are some more cake recipes:

Here are some other Trinidadian desserts that you MUST try:


  1. How many CUPS is 1 pound of butter?

    How many CUPS is 1 pound of sugar?

    How many CUPS is 1 pound of flour?

    1. HI. You can use a converter https://www.inchcalculator.com/convert/pound-flour-to-cup-flour/ BUT it is much better to weight the ingredients as I have listed in the recipe.


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