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!

More Christmas Dessert Recipes


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


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.


  • 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.


  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


  1. Oh Sally, you’ve really outdone yourself this time! This is gorgeous and mouth-watering and all the yummy-looking adjectives I can think of. I wish I was in charge of dessert for Christmas dinner – this would be on my list!

  2. If I make a double cake with smaller pans.. would the temperature need to be changed? Two of my kids birthdays are coming up. Dec 22 and Dec 23. I want to chest and make the same cake. But there is really no need to have such big ones. I actually have mini pans too. Almost the same volume as a big muffin. Would you reduce the heat then? Thank you!

    1. Hey Samantha! No, the temperature would not change. I’m unsure of the bake time, but just use a toothpick to test for doneness. Cute idea!

  3. This looks delish, as always! I’m definitely going to try this sometime.

    Also, just curious: how much butter do you go through a week (or month)? I can’t imagine going through as much as someone who literally bakes for a profession!

  4. Sally – this cake is so impressive!! Very beautiful! Your photographs are stunning! Think I have just found my Christmas dessert!!

    Merry Christmas!!!

  5. I have to say, your piecrust has became a staple in our house. Anytime I need inspiration on what to make for the holidays, I come to your site. Thank you for sharing and my apple pie dessert was out voted this morning once I showed my husband this tuxedo cake! Cannot wait to make it Christmas Eve!

  6. I can’t wait to try this. I will make the cake today and freeze until Christmas day. I am a little nervous about that. I love your site. You have wonderful recipes and tons of notes for each. This makes everything so much easier. I enjoy following your recipes.

  7. Awesome job, Sally. I’m so glad I stumbled across this recipe. Definitely going to have to make it for Christmas dinner!

  8. I made this cake yeaterday for a xmas eve gathering. It was really amazing and everyone loved it! Thanks Sally for sharing this wonderful recipe! Happy holidays

  9. I made this cake for Christmas Day! It turned out just as described! This was the first time I ever made my own cake batter from scratch. It was moist and the whole thing was rich but not too sweet. Just like I like my chocolate. Thanks Sally. P.S. your chocolate chip cookie recipe is perfect. It’s the only cookie recipe I use since discovering your website a few years ago. You rock! 

  10. My niece made this for our Christmas dessert. It was fantastic!. She says she did sub almond milk for whole milk, and used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, but otherwise followed exactly. This was sensational. Exactly the kind of dense, and very moist cake that I love!

  11. Will anything change (apart from cooking time) if I make this in 2 layers instead of 3? Will the white chocolate ganache hold up? Hoping to make this for a final holiday gathering this weekend! 🙂

  12. I made this cake yesterday for company and it was a huge hit. I don’t think I’ve ever made a cake as moist as this one. The white chocolate ganache was a great feature of the cake.

  13. This cake looks so delicious! I want to try to make it this weekend but I don’t know if I have the right pans. Can I use 1.5” deep 9” round pans or do I need to use 2” deep pans? Thanks!!

  14. I made this for Christmas Eve and it got rave reviews! I found I only needed to bake the cakes for 18 minutes in my oven. The white chocolate ganache was such an elegant touch. I will definitely make this again! Thanks for the great recipe.

  15. Baked this cake for my mom’s birthday – and it was DELICIOUS! The cake itself, the ganache, and the icing were all knockouts. Garnished raspberries along the edge per your suggestion for the perfect touch. Will definitely be a do-over!

  16. Can I just make 1/2 cup of espresso coffee and use it for this cake? I have had a lot of problems finding instant espresso powder. Thank you Sally.

  17. Thank you Sally for another incredible recipe! I am making this for our NYE party! I make your recipes all year long and we are gonna end 2017 on a high note. All the best in 2018

  18. Can I make the ganache and/or frosting a day before? I already make the cakes and froze them. I have two littles and work full time I have to bake in stages haha!

    1. Absolutely. Both will be pretty solid, so set out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before assembling/decorating the cake.

  19. I made this cake with gluten free flour for my daughter who cannot eat wheat flour. It turned out amazing. Very moist. Absolutely delicious. I had to be super careful when I stacked the cake as it was so soft. I love the recipe for your chocolate buttercream icing. I always get rave reviews on that. Many thanks for posting this recipe.

  20. This was really awesome.  Superb.  Made one last week and another today.  Will make one for everyone I love until they are all sick of it, even though I doubt I ever will be.  Probably the best chocolate cake ever.

  21. Hi Sally, your chocolate cream cheese bundt cake was a hit with my family. I intend to bake this for a birthday celebration. I have a small oven, can only bake 1 pan at a time. Is it alright to leave one sitting on the counter while baking the other one?

      1. Thanks for your reply, Sally. Another question is how much ingredients should I increase to for a 3-layer 10 and 11 inch pans?

  22. Hi Sally, I’d like to make this cake for a baby shower; however, I’d like to make it as a two layer half sheet cake. I’m thinking if I double the recipe, I should be ok. Does that sound about right to you? My only concern is that sheet pans are pretty shallow and I’m not sure if there will be enough room for the cake to rise. Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Doubling it should be ok. I don’t think it would be enough batter to fill the pans all the way to the top so they should have room to rise. Let me know how it works!

  23. Made this cake tonight
    and a little cupcake so I could taste it, of course! Super good, made just as written. I did end up
    melting the white chocolate and heavy cream over a double boiler. Turned out great! Taking to work tomorrow for a birthday. Beautiful, easy and very moist!

  24. Is this tuxedo cake similar to a mudcake in texture? Or is your triple chocolate cake more similar to a mudcake?

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally