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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

White chocolate ganache filling for tuxedo cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

White chocolate ganache filling for tuxedo cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 sallysbakingaddiction.com

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?

Tag @sallysbakeblog on Instagram and hashtag it #sallysbakingaddiction.

© 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 sallysbakingaddiction.com



  1. Suzi on May 17, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    Hi Sally, I made this cake and it was delicious! Can this cake be covered with fondant as well? Thank you.

    • Sally on May 18, 2018 at 9:26 am


  2. Mary on May 21, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    Can cacao powder be used in place of the cocoa powder?

    • Sally on May 22, 2018 at 9:56 am

      It can, yes.

  3. Shel on May 22, 2018 at 1:39 am

    I only have 2 9 inch pans can I bake for longer one pan and then cut in half

    • Sally on May 22, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      I would suggest baking two layers first and then when the pan cools back down bake the third layer.

  4. Cntry84grl on May 24, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Do you know how many cups of filling this makes?

    • Sally on May 26, 2018 at 9:58 am

      I’m unsure exactly how much, sorry!

  5. Dibs on May 26, 2018 at 8:15 am

    I only have a 9×13 pan, how would that work?

    • Sally on May 26, 2018 at 9:41 am

      Hi Dibs! You can pour this batter into a 9×13 pan. I’m unsure of the exact bake time. You can slice the baked and cooled cake in half to create 2 layers and fill with ganache, then frost the cake.

  6. Jennifer Jordan on June 5, 2018 at 12:05 am

    Hi Sally!
    Would you happen to know how many cups of batter this makes ?

    P.s I cant wait for your new mini series.

    Thank you

    • Sally on June 7, 2018 at 11:58 am

      I don’t have that in my notes– so sorry!

  7. Amelia Sadler on June 6, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Sally,

    I’m looking to make a naked chocolate cake for my sister’s wedding. Would you recommend this cake as a base? I am wondering if you’d consider it too crumbly to hold up to the construction and crumb coating of a naked cake or if it’s dense and durable enough for the job. If not, do you have a chocolate cake you would recommend for the construction of a wedding cake?

    Thanks so much!


    • Sally on June 7, 2018 at 11:49 am

      Hi Amelia! I fear this cake would be too fragile to be the base of a tiered wedding cake. If you’re interested, I love this marble/zebra cake. It contains chocolate and is pretty sturdy.

  8. Nahina Nizam on June 7, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Hi Sally! Do you bake the three cakes in batches or all 3 at once?
    And I have another question. What type of bakeware do you use for baking cakes, brownies, bars, jelly rolls etc? Aluminum or non-stick? Please help me out. I have no clue what to buy.

  9. Suzi on June 11, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    Hi Sally,

    Can I use low fat sour cream instead of full fat sour cream in this recipe?

    Thank you!

    • Sally on June 12, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      I recommend using full fat for the best taste and texture!

      • Suzi on June 12, 2018 at 9:23 pm

        Thank you!

  10. Destiny on June 14, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    The Dark Chocolate Silk Frosting is so delicious that it literally needs to be put in the frosting category by itself. It has become my go to chocolate frosting. Can this recipe be placed in the frosting category? This would help to quickly locate it.

    • Sally on June 15, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion, Destiny! I’m working on bulking up the frosting section of the site!

  11. Sue on June 18, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Sally. Such a yummy cake!!

    I baked this for my Dad fir Father’s Day

    Whole family lived it

    Thanks so much for all your great recipes and blog


  12. Sally on July 12, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Making this a second time for a friend’s birthday. We happen to be in a cottage this year and I was wondering if I can make the chocolate silk frosting the night before? Since I don’t want to bring my stand mixer to the cottage haha..

    • Sally on July 12, 2018 at 8:53 pm

      Hi Sally! Yes, you could make it the night before. Let it sit at room temperature for about an hour so it slightly softens up and is easier to spread.

  13. tina on July 17, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Does this have to be refrigerated?? I do lots of fondant covered cakes and i cant wait to try this….. but i dont refrigerate my fondant cakes… thoughts???

    • Sally on July 17, 2018 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Tina, If you have not decorated it with fruit or anything perishable then you do not have to refrigerate it before serving!

  14. Jure on July 20, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    I live in the Netherlands, so I’m pretty much stuck with dutch-process cocoa powder. I don’t think I can buy natural cocoa powder in the supermarket here. Can I use dutch-process cocoa powder for the cake and replace (some of the) baking soda with baking powder? If yes, how much?

  15. Helmut on July 24, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Hi Sally,

    Do you think it would be possible to add raspberries to the white choc ganache (you see, I am trying to make something that is chocolatey, decadent, and has some fruit it)?And if yes, fresh or frozen?

    Thank you!

    • Sally on July 24, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      That sounds DELICIOUS! I would use fresh raspberries or thawed frozen raspberries 🙂 Let me know how it turns out. I love chocolate and raspberry together.

  16. Kristen Cox on August 12, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Just finished making this cake, so it is chilling and I haven’t tried it yet. I did try the frosting and oh my gosh, it is delicious. I am not really a fan of frosting in general but I could eat this by itself as my dessert.



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