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!

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Tuxedo Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Yield: serves 10-12
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Tuxedo cake is the most special and celebratory dessert! It’s moist chocolate cake with a thick white ganache filling and dark chocolate fudge frosting.


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.


Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | 2-cup Glass Measuring Cup9-inch Round Cake Pan | Frosting Spatula | Custom ForkBlack Plate
  3. 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.
  4. Espresso Powder: 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.
  5. White Chocolate: 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.
  6. Cocoa Powder: 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!
  7. Corn Syrup:Corn syrup or honey is what gives the frosting its silky texture and pretty shine.
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

200 Comments

  1. Hi, I’m going to make this cake for a retirement party this weekend, and I’m wondering if just greasing, and not flooring, the pans will suffice? Thank you

  2. Made this cake for my mom’s birthday and it was a HUGE hit!!! My dad is requesting it for his birthday! It is decadent! Thank you Sally

  3. Sally… thanks for the recipe. THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER!!! Now this chocolate cake becomes favorite in my family (espessialy my youngest son, 4 yo, he loves this cake sooo much).
    Thank you Sally & keep inspiring!! xoxo

  4. Hi Sally, I’m making this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday this weekend, but only have 2, 8 inch cake pans, is it possible to use those? I saw on a previous comment its possible to use 3, but was wondering how much less of the recipe I should make for 2 pans. Or is it better to just buy a 3rd?

    He got me a kitchenaid stand mixer for Christmas, and the first thing I tried to make were your Chai Latte Cupcakes, a new favorite of mine! So naturally I have to try your recipe for his favorite dessert, chocolate cake, next! Idk if you have considered it, but would love if you taught a baking class (we are in the DMVbut he’s from Maryland too)!

    1. Hey Jessica! I recommend getting that 3rd cake pan. I can’t say for sure how to reduce this recipe down so it’s the perfect amount for 2 8-inch cake pans. Let me know if you try it and what you think. It makes a super special birthday cake!

      1. I’ve made this cake twice, both times I made it in 2 9″ round pans, works great, just need to bake for 3-6 minutes more (I just keep my eye on it after 25 minutes).

    1. Hi Sandy, I recommend making two separate batches. If you work with too much batter at once it’s very easy to either over or under mix it!

      1. Hi, Sally! Thanks for the response, I did end up making two 9×13 cakes with separate batters. They were perfect. So, I carved the cake into a 2D chess piece this morning (first ever attempt at a carved cake) and wondered, if I wanted more definition of the shape, if I could pipe the chocolate silk frosting, or if you would not recommend that.

  5. Hi Sally

    I need to make some rich chocolate cupcakes. With so many chocolate cake and cupcake recipes on your blog I’m a little confused. Can you please advice which recipe would be best for rich moist Chocolate cupcakes.

    Thank you very much for all your recipes. I’ve tried several and they are quite amazing.

    1. Parchment paper rounds! They are cake life savers 🙂 Cut 9-inch circles from parchment paper, grease your pan, add the parchment, then grease the parchment too. Seamless cake removal, I promise.

    1. Hi Leah! Cocoa powder, taking the place of some flour in this recipe, is already so light. Cake flour would simply be too light paired with the cocoa powder. I recommend sticking to all-purpose.

  6. Sally,
    instead of the chocolate frosting I wanted to make a raspberry buttercream frosting. Would leaving out chocolate powder and adding raspberry puree work for this recipe?

      1. Sally,
        if using the raspberry frosting, would covering with chocolate ganache (like the black forest cake) work?
        Thank you

  7. Does this tip on your tips page apply to all your recipes including this, “If you use a convection oven, always reduce the oven temperature by 25°F. Best to reduce the baking time as well– for cookies, it’s around 1 minute less. For cakes, cupcakes, bread, brownies, bars, etc (items with longer bake times), it’s usually reduced around 5 or so minutes.”

  8. Hi Sally,
    Could I make the ganache and frosting the day before I plan to assemble? If so, would refrigerating in an airtight container suffice?
    Wondering if the frostings/ganache would harden too much.
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Absolutely. Cover and refrigerate overnight, then bring to room temperature before using. You may need to mix the frosting 1 more time in the mixer to bring it to a creamy consistency again. 🙂

      1. Hi Sally,
        I made this for Easter and it came out fantastic! My husband loved it! So moist, so decadent!
        This definitely would be my go-to chocolate cake in future. Thank you for a wonderful recipe! 🙂

    1. Absolutely! I recommend a 10-12 cup bundt pan. Bake time varies. It should be around 1 hour, but keep your eye on it.

  9. Hi Sally!

    Just pulled my ganache from the fridge and it seems very hard and I am not able to spread it. What should I do? Thank you

      1. I was never able to get it to a easily spreadable consistency and then it got gummy. Any suggestions? Thank you.

  10. Hi Sally,

    I’m wondering why my chocolate buttercream looks different than yours in the photos.

    Mine is pale brown- in the photos it looks deep dark brown, fudgey..

    Not sure if the taste is different, but definitely looks different in color and texture. Wish I could show you a picture.

    Maybe it’s the type of cocoa I used?

    Thanks for your help.

    1. Hey Natalie! The longer you whip chocolate frosting, the lighter in both texture and color it will be. It could also be the variety and brand of cocoa powder, too. If you want to darken the frosting you have already made, 2-4 ounces of melted and slightly cooled semi-sweet chocolate always does the trick!

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