Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Tuxedo Cake

Dramatic and delicious tuxedo cake featuring moist chocolate cake, white chocolate ganache filling, and dark chocolate silk frosting. Not for the faint of heart! Cake recipe on

What are you serving for Christmas dessert? The grand finale to your epic holiday feast? I plan to bring out a big platter of cookies for our families, but there has to be something else with a major WOW factor to celebrate the day. Cranberry orange cake is awesome, Christmas cupcakes are cute, but let’s get serious. We need a dramatic and fancy showstopper to fill these big shoes.

And I know exactly what should be on the menu.

Dramatic and delicious tuxedo cake featuring moist chocolate cake, white chocolate ganache filling, and dark chocolate silk frosting. Not for the faint of heart! Cake recipe on

This is a tuxedo cake. Striking black and white contrast is the idea behind this sultry beauty. “Tuxedo cake” is really for your own interpretation, as long as white and black coincide together. ♥ To me that means 3 layers of homemade chocolate cake dressed up with creamy white chocolate ganache filling and a layer of dark chocolate silk frosting so thick, it makes a fat marshmallow look like a string bean.

Remember when I told you I baked a chocolate cake and forgot to add the sugar? That really happened. And this is that cake. Not the actual cake you see in these pictures, but the cake that came right before it. It was, as you can imagine, completely revolting. If you’re ever wondering what chocolate cake tastes like without sugar, the answer is bitter salty cardboard.

However. When you add all the ingredients like you’re supposed to, this chocolate cake is a DREAM. A dark crumb with pronounced chocolate flavor. Each forkful is soft, velvety, and majorly moist. Nothing about this cake is for the faint of heart.

How to make chocolate tuxedo cake on

3 Parts to Tuxedo Cake

  • chocolate cake
  • white chocolate ganache
  • dark chocolate silk frosting

First, the cake.

The chocolate cake is like my chocolate cream cheese bundt cake (same picture of the batter ↑), which stems from this triple chocolate cake. The difference between those two is the sour cream. I sub out some liquid and sub in sour cream. Why? Sour cream yields a slightly denser cake and an even moister crumb. A crumb so moist, it sticks to the fork and melts on your tongue. I highly recommend enhancing the cake’s chocolate flavor with espresso powder. The cake will not taste like coffee at all; rather, the espresso powder adds depth to the cake’s chocolate flavor.

In addition to buttermilk (this acid is a must!), you’ll need hot liquid in the cake batter. Why? The hot liquid encourages the cocoa powder to bloom and dissolve instead of just sitting there. For the hot liquid, I highly recommend hot coffee. Again, the cake will not taste like coffee! 🙂 Or you can use hot water.

Natural cocoa or dutch-process? Use natural cocoa. Remember why?

Dramatic and delicious tuxedo cake featuring moist chocolate cake, white chocolate ganache filling, and dark chocolate silk frosting. Not for the faint of heart! Cake recipe on

And now the white chocolate ganache.

Two ingredients: real white chocolate and heavy cream. With only 2 ingredients, make sure you’re using the right ones. And the best possible ones, too! Use quality chocolate to ensure a smooth and delicious (!!) white chocolate ganache. And reach for heavy cream to produce a stable ganache.

White chocolate ganache filling for tuxedo cake on

White chocolate ganache filling for tuxedo cake on

Warm the heavy cream, pour over chocolate, stir to combine, then let it completely cool into thick and smooth ganache. This stuff is dangerously creamy!!! We’ll spread it between the cake layers.

White chocolate ganache filling for tuxedo cake on

White chocolate ganache filling for tuxedo cake on

Finally, the dark chocolate silk frosting.

It starts as a basic buttercream, then transforms into a frosting so rich, it should be illegal. A smidge of corn syrup creates a silky texture and shine. Don’t have corn syrup? Use honey instead. Since there’s no leavening occurring, you can use either natural or dutch-process cocoa powder. Since you need it for the cake batter, natural cocoa powder is probably most convenient. I had a container of Hershey’s special dark cocoa, so I used some of that. Whichever cocoa powder you choose, the frosting will still be silky and shimmery.

Dark chocolate silk frosting for tuxedo cake on

Dramatic and delicious tuxedo cake featuring moist chocolate cake, white chocolate ganache filling, and dark chocolate silk frosting. Not for the faint of heart! Cake recipe on

Serve with fresh raspberries, sprigs of mint, and any leftover white chocolate ganache that you didn’t use (or eat). Christmas dinner deserves a black tie ending!

Tuxedo Cake


  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 cup (65g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional)*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (180g) full fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) hot water or coffee*

White Chocolate Ganache

  • three 4 ounce (340g) white chocolate bars, finely chopped*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream

Chocolate Silk Frosting

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 and 1/2 cups (540g) confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup (65g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream or whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup or honey*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • optional for garnish: fresh raspberries and mint


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease three round 9-inch cake pans. Set aside.
  2. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder (if using) together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or you can use a whisk) mix the oil, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, and vanilla together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the hot water or coffee, and whisk or beat it all until the batter is completely combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly between 3 pans. Bake for 21-25 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely in the pan.
  5. As the cake cools, prepare the white chocolate ganache so it can cool and be ready at the same time. Place chopped white chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it begins to gently simmer. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil-- that's too hot!) Pour over white chocolate and stir until completely combined and chocolate has melted. Cover and refrigerate until it's thick and a spreadable consistency, about 1-2 hours. You don't want it runny.
  6. Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on high speed until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add 4 cups confectioners' sugar, the cocoa powder, milk/cream, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes until combined and smooth. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar. (I add it.)
  7. Assemble and frost: Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with 1/2 of the white chocolate ganache. Top with 2nd layer and evenly cover the top with remaining ganache (if there is too much ganache, serve a dollop/spoonful with each slice!). Top with the third cake layer. Spread the frosting into a thick layer all over the top and sides. Garnish with raspberries and mint, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before slicing or else the cake may gently fall apart as you cut.
  8. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Make ahead tip: Prepare cake through step 4. Wrap the individual baked cake layers tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature, make the ganache and frosting, assemble/frost, and serve. Frosted cake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature or serve cold.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Why room temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information. Instead of sour cream, try using plain yogurt. The cake won't taste as rich, but it's a fine sub. If needed, you can use whole milk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice instead of buttermilk.
  2. Espresso powder and coffee will not make the chocolate taste like coffee. Rather, they deepen the chocolate flavor. I highly recommend them both. If coffee isn't your thing, you can leave out the espresso powder and use boiling hot water instead of the hot coffee.
  3. White chocolate bars are typically sold in 4 ounce bars. I suggest Ghirardelli, Baker's brand, or Lindt. They are found next to the chocolate chips in the baking aisle. Finely chop the white chocolate so it melts easier and quicker.
  4. Use natural cocoa in the cake, not dutch-process. There is no leavening occurring in the frosting, so you can use 3/4 cup of either. In the pictured frosting, I used some natural unsweetened cocoa (1/4 cup) and some Hershey's special dark cocoa (1/2 cup). Yum!
  5. Corn syrup or honey is what gives the frosting its silky texture and pretty shine.

Did you make a recipe?

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | 2-cup Glass Measuring Cup9-inch Round Cake Pan | Frosting Spatula | Custom ForkBlack Plate

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Dramatic and delicious tuxedo cake featuring moist chocolate cake, white chocolate ganache filling, and dark chocolate silk frosting. Not for the faint of heart! Cake recipe on


  1. Hi Sally can I use Cadbury Bournville cocoa is that unsweetened natural cocoa powder?

  2. Hi Sally,
    Delicious cake! I made it and it was a super hit.
    My chocolate frosting doesn’t have that rich dark chocolate color. It’s always a lighter color like a milk chocolate frosting. What can I use or do to get that dark deep chocolate color in my frosting? Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Sue! I find that the longer I whip my chocolate frosting, the lighter in color it is. So even a minute or 2 less beating will help.

      • I will try that. Hopefully it will work. Will using dark coco help? I have to make this cake again 🙂 for a friends bday party. She wants me to make a bigger cake since she has over 15+ guests. Any suggestions on how to make a bigger cake? Just 1.5 times the recipe? Or will that ruin it? Best, Sue.

  3. I will try that. Hopefully it will work. Will using dark coco help? I have to make this cake again for a friends bday party. She wants me to make a bigger cake since she has over 15+ guests. Any suggestions on how to make a bigger cake? Just 1.5 times the recipe? Or will that ruin it? Best, Sue.

  4. Hi Sally! Can I use Greek yogurt as a substitute for the sour cream? Can’t wait to try this!

  5. If I were to use only two pans because I want a shorter cake, can I just proportionally reduce all the ingredients for the cake by 1/3? Or does it not work like that

    • You could, but some of the measurements might be weird, like the eggs. You can freeze the top layer for another time or make cupcakes with the extra batter!

  6. Made this cake last night and it started out beautifully until I went to frost it. The sides were falling off and I almost lost the whole thing. I stopped half way around and threw it in the fridge and woke up early hoping for a miracle.  I did manage to make it look more like a cake and sort of glue it back together and while it may not be the prettiest thing it tastes wonderful. I’m determined to make it again.  I’m considering making another batch of frosting and adding another layer to try and hide some of the imperfections. 

  7. Hi Sally! I’m heading to Tahoe from Utah on Thursday and my nephews birthday is Saturday and I’m wanting to make this cake for him while I’m there. I’m wondering if it would be okay if I mixed all the dry ingredients before I head out there and just put it in a ziplock bag so I can just take them like that or does it mess with the ingredients once they’re out of their containers and mixed?

  8. I made this cake for my family for Valentine’s Day (although we had it a day early). This cake is delicious! I loved the rich cake and frosting with the sweeter white ganache filling. It was a great contrast. I thought the filling tasted like the inside of a white chocolate Lindor truffle. I may have over-baked the cakes by a minute or so, so I’ll probably watch it more carefully. It was difficult to know how long to bake them for since I had to rotate the pans. I saw one person comment about having a darker frosting. I followed Sally’s tip to do half dutch-processed cocoa and half unsweetened cocoa for the frosting. Yes, the frosting gets lighter when it’s whipped, but now that I’m looking at my frosted cake and comparing it to Sally’s pictures, I think my frosting looks nice and dark like Sally’s pics. The dutch-processed cocoa really helps get that dark color. In preparing my cake pans, I brushed them with shortening, added circles of parchment paper on the bottom, greased the parchment, and then tapped unsweetened cocoa powder over the bottom and sides of the pans. This helped make sure the cakes released well from the pans. This is definitely another keeper from SBA! Thanks for another great recipe, Sally! Always appreciate your tips!

  9. Do you think I can replace the chocolate frosting with a thickish dark chocolate ganache instead?

    • Definitely!

      • Thanks!! We have gorgeous fresh strawberries available at the moment so I layered the cake with a creamcheese and strawberry frosting and topped it off with a dark chocolate ganache! It was a great hit with all my friends!!

  10. Hi Sally!

    I’m thinking of making this cake for my husband’s birthday. I’m looking for something with dark chocolate frosting since I’m going to try to decorate it like a record. Since he doesn’t really like white chocolate, do you think I could swap the white chocolate ganache with the cream cheese frosting from your cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookies? He really liked that!

    Also, this will be my first time baking a cake. Do you think this is doable or is there another super easy recipe you recommend?

  11. Hi Sally, I made this for Valentine’s day and it was a huge hit! The cake was incredibly moist and the white chocolate ganache was an incredible addition. I decorated it with raspberries too to give it a pop of red for Valentine’s day – so fun. I did have a question though. I don’t typically have milk or buttermilk in my fridge. I’ve been picking them up though for baking projects (like this one) and typically end up throwing away a big portion of the carton after baking something. I heard about powdered buttermilk. You store it in the fridge and mix it with water. The powder lasts for a while. It sounds super convenient. But I’m not sure how well it works. Is the acidity the same? It says it has lower cholesterol – will that mess something up in a baking recipe? Have you ever tried this? Does it work well for baking?

    • Hey Tiffany! This is a great question. You can use powdered buttermilk (mixed with water, of course) to replace regular buttermilk in this recipe. And, well, mostly any recipe calling for buttermilk. I’ve never had any issues with it.

      • Thanks, Sally! I’ll have to pick some up this weekend and give it a try in my next baking recipe that calls for buttermilk

  12. I’ve made this cake twice so far and my family loves it! I decorated them differently each time. Here are a couple pics –

  13. I made this yesterday for my mother-in-law’s birthday and it was a huge hit. I tried to speed up the cooling process for the ganache by putting it in the freezer. I left it in too long and it was a little tough to spread around the cake but I made it work. We all loved the taste and texture of the cake!

  14. I made this cake last week and it was amazing!!! Fantastic composition of flavours 🙂 The texture of the chocolate silk frosting is sublime! Made making the “naked” cake look really easy. I only used 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar. The tartness of the raspberries complimented the chocolate cake really well. Overall excellent cake recipe and thank you Sally so much for posting this <3

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