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 is adapted from my favorite 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.

Just like regular chocolate ganache, white chocolate ganache requires just 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 (340gwhite 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 substitution.
  4. Buttermilk: Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk if needed. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1/2 cup. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the cake won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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

273 Comments

  1. Hi,

    I made this for Thanksgiving as a bundt cake it was perfect. It is a delicious dreamy cake. I used ganache (recipe from this site) as the drizzle and it was beautiful. I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfectly.
    Thanks Sally!

    1. Hi Sally,
      This looks delicious. Can you please let me know if I can skip the sour cream or replace it with something?

      1. Instead of sour cream you can use plain yogurt. The cake won’t taste as rich, but it’s a fine substitute.

  2. Hi Sally, I want to make your Tuxedo Cake …what brand of cocoa powder do you recommend? I have the Guittard but its Dutch processed… I need a brand that is found in a “typical” food store. Thank you.

    1. Hi Kathy! I always use and recommend Hershey’s natural cocoa powder.

  3. Hello Sally,
    I am making a version of this cake for my little sister’s birthday this weekend. I made your blueberry lemon for my older sister (she loved it btw) but my little sister (back to back birthdays is a baker’s dream) has quite simple tastes. She said she wanted a chocolate cake with whipped frosting. I can’t have anything that simple in my life so I plan to use this cake and substitute the white chocolate ganache with your whipped frosting (from the vanilla sheet cake recipe) between layers of chocolate ganache (from the chocolate ganache cake recipe). Do you know if the whipped frosting will hold in layers with this cake? Thoughts? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Hailee! That sounds delicious. Yes, the whipped frosting from my vanilla sheet cake will be excellent between the layers of this cake.

  4. Hi

    This recipe looks delicious but would you know if it would work in cupcake form. I’m tried the chocolate cupcake recipes from your blog but I’m on the hunt for something more moist (those taste great too, but this just looks better).

    1. Hi Meme, you can turn this recipe into cupcakes and even fill the baked cupcakes with the white chocolate ganache. (See Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes for how I fill baked and cooled cupcakes.)

  5. If I am serving this on Sunday, can I make the cakes on Friday and assemble Saturday and keep in fridge until the next day?

    1. Sure can! Keep the cakes covered tightly at room temperature overnight on Friday into Saturday, then you can refrigerate the assembled cake before serving on Sunday.

  6. One more question: can I make the ganache and frosting on Friday to assemble Saturday; just trying to carve out time

  7. I’m making the Tuxedo cake layers today, Friday. Can I also prepare the ganache and frosting and refrigerate over night to assemble cake tomorrow to serve Sunday?

    1. You can, yes. Both will be pretty thick and cold and need to come to room temperature before assembling (the frosting especially). Once at room temperature, you may need to beat the frosting with a mixer for 1-2 minutes if it’s still too thick.

  8. Hi Sally, I just made cupcakes for Valentine’s Day using your white cupcake recipe. They turned out amazing! Thank you!!

    However I have plenty of white chocolate frosting left over.

    Would it be okay to use that instead of ganache in this recipe?

    1. Yes, you can use the white chocolate frosting between the layers of this cake. Enjoy!

      1. Thanks Sally. Also, can you please let me know the brand of espresso powder that you use? And how strong strong is the coffee that you use for this recipe?

      2. Pretty strong. For espresso powder, I like the brand Ferrara.

  9. Hi Sally,

    This recipe looks delicious ! I have a birthday on a Saturday, but I the only time I have to bake the cake is on the Thursday, I’m concerned about the cream filling, will the cake still be good on the Saturday?

    1. Absolutely. Cover and store it in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before serving. I always store cakes in the refrigerator in cake carriers.

  10. Hi Sally I made this cake yesterday with my 11yr old son. It was his first baking project and he picked this recipe. It turned out delicious. I think the cake taste even better today than it did yesterday.

  11. This cake is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. It’s soft and fluffy but still firm enough to be layered. It’s chocolatey but not overpowering so. I made it with the espresso powder but used hot water only. I tasted the espresso in the batter but not a bit of it once it had baked. All of this and it’s ridiculously easy to make. I made it in the stand mixer but you could absolutely make it by hand or using a hand mixer. Sally – this might be your best recipe yet! Thank you for making such a great chocolate cake!

  12. Can I halve the recipe and fit into two 6-inch round pans?

    1. Hi Rupini, For 6 inch cakes I recommend using my chocolate cupcake batter, although this will make three 6-inch layers. For other

  13. Shoneth Leadbetter says:

    After two failed attempts at your Zebra Cake (I still don’t know what I did wrong), I hit a home run with this one! Winner winner! This might be a new go to! My husband says I need to make this icing every time I make cake 🙂

  14. Pooja Bachani says:

    I made this today for my husband’s birthday and it was delicious! My only struggle was with the ganache which did not have a thick creamy consistency but was more the consistence of a glaze, maybe the cream wasn’t warm enough? Either way it didn’t matter because my husband LOVED it!

  15. I’m planning to make this cake as part of a 3 tier wedding cake. The other two are red velvet and tiramisu cake. Is this cake sturdy enough to hold the other two cakes on top? And i’ll will be covering it with fondant. Thanks.

    1. Hi Rizvi, Unfortunately I don’t recommend this cake for a bottom tier. At this time, I don’t have a sturdy enough chocolate version to use as the bottom tier.

  16. I made this cake on the 7th of April last, for my birthday the following day. The cake came out perfectly, tasted great and was the perfect lockdown treat. I placed a large chunk of leftover the cake in the freezer and yesterday morning I removed it, having decided that it would be perfect for our Saturday night cheat meal. This cake freezes perfectly, I was amazed at how good it still tasted, the subtle differences between the chocolate layering is still there and the delicate cake crumb survived the freezing process. Thank you Sally, I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful it is to be able to take comfort in a piece of cake during these uncertain times. Take care everyone and happy baking.

  17. I made this for a New Year’s Eve dessert – this was quite fabulous and very elegant. It’s also quite decadent. I’m not sure about the white chocolate layer – but several people liked it. The chocolate cake is super moist. I did experience a slight collapse in the middle – but I’m also baking at 5000 feet altitude.

  18. Hi Sally,
    Do you know how I can convert this recipe to make a 3 layer 6 inch tuxedo cake? I’ve also compared this recipe to your chocolate cupcakes recipe, but that one doesn’t include sour cream, hot liquid and espresso powder and I’d really like to try that out

    1. Hi Chantal, the best amount would be my chocolate cupcake batter but if you’d like to try this recipe, you can try halving it OR using my cake pan sizes and conversions page to help calculate a more accurate amount.

  19. Hi Sally – Can I sub instant coffee for the espresso powder in the cake mix?

    1. Yes, same amount.

  20. Hi Sally! I want to try this recipe and also include the espresso powder, but I’m having a hard time finding it. Does instant coffee work the same, and if so, should I use the same amount or do I need to adjust it at all? I noticed in your double chocolate zucchini bread, you recommended using double the amount of instant coffee instead of espresso powder, so I just wanted to double-check whether I should double it here as well. Thank you!

    1. Hi Veronica! You can use instant coffee instead– same amount or add a little extra for a stronger flavor since it’s not as potent as espresso powder.

  21. Hi Sally, do you use the Ferrara instant espresso powder? Also, what brand of coffee do you use?

    1. I do, yes! I purchase ground coffee from a local bakery/coffee shop. Any brewed black coffee works.

  22. Tatiana Huslage says:

    I only have two round cake pans but I have a square one. Will that work?

    1. Don’t use the square pan if you want all three layers to stack nicely for a three-layer cake. You can bake two layers, leave the remaining batter loosely covered at room temperature, and bake the third layer when your pans are ready.

  23. I made this cake for a friends birthday and it was delicious! The raspberries on top made added a beautiful touch.

    One recommendation would be to grease the cake pans and then dust them with cocoa powder OR don’t let the cakes completely cool before turning them out. Mine all stuck to the bottom and I lost some cake in the process. Fortunately there was plenty of frosting to even out the the top of the cake.

  24. Hi Sally! I made this cake today but when I was trying to frost the cake, it kept tearing at the top as I tried to frost down the sides. The cakes were definitely cooled to room temperature. Do you have any idea as to why this happened or any tips to prevent this from happening? Maybe I just needed to apply a thicker layer of frosting so my spatula didn’t hit the cake edges so much? Thank you so much in advance!

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Veronica, I’m so sorry you’re having trouble frosting this cake! You’re exactly right- next time, apply a thicker layer of frosting and try to avoid touching the actual cake with your spatula as much as you can 🙂

      1. Thanks so much! The cake is so soft and the frosting is really thick so I wasn’t sure if there were any other helpful tricks!

  25. Ashleigh Doede says:

    Hi Sally! I just love your site and have baked your snickerdoodle cookies many times! I’m moving into your cake arena now! I want to make this chocolate cake for my boyfriend’s birthday coming up, but also somehow incorporate mint into it. He loves mint chip! It’s his favorite. Also finding a super moist and delicious rich chocolate cake is hard out there but this looks perfect! Would you recommend me adding a hint of peppermint extract or mint leaves or jr.mints or mint m&ms or something to the filling? Or maybe do the cake as is and just get mint chip ice cream on the side?? :P. Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! – Ashleigh

    1. Hi Asheigh! I’m so glad that you enjoy my snickerdoodle cookies recipe. Thank you so much for trying them! I think a little peppermint extract to the white chocolate ganache filling would be incredible. After you pour the warm cream over the white chocolate, add 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Stir together then taste. Then add a little more peppermint extract for a stronger flavor, if desired. The mint flavor will come through more in the filling than if you added it to the cake batter. A side of mint chocolate chip ice cream would be delicious, too!

      1. Ashleigh Doede says:

        Thank you for your reply Sally!!! I am excited to try this recipe and with the peppermint!!! Thank you for your instruction – I so appreciate it! I will write up a review after I try it out too!

  26. Jojo Mendoza says:

    Hi Sally, i loved all of your recipe, im becomming a baking addict. Last july was my eldest daughters birthday so i baked her your red velvet cake, it was my first time baking a cake but it was very successful, she liked it so much, said it was the best tasting red velvet cake ever. This month I made your strawberry cake for my youngest daughter and it was another success, I think Im getting better and better at baking each time I try your recipe. Next month is my wifes birthday and Im planning to make this cake. She knows Im going to bake her a cake so she requested if I could make her cake keto friendly. Could I substitute the cake flour with almond flour? And perhaps lower the amount of sugar to make it keto friendly recipe.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jojo, Unfortunately almond flour has very different properties and we do not suggest substituting it in a cake recipe. You might be interested in a Flourless Chocolate Cake or even a Chocolate Coconut Almond Tart.
      Also, keep in mind that sugar in baking is used for moisture and texture. So reducing the amount of sugar in a recipe will result in a different textured baked good. Let us know what you try!

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