With layers of moist dark chocolate cake, white chocolate mousse, and the most delicious chocolate buttercream, this Tuxedo Cake is a rich and decadent dessert that will have you dreaming of cake long after it’s devoured.
My friend, Lisa, recently returned home from a trip to Amsterdam, where she visited the most incredible bakery. How do I know it’s incredible? I know because Lisa brought me home cookies from Van Stapele Koekmakerij, the bakery. (Talk about an amazing friend!).
This bakery is well-known for their cookie (singular)… this cookie is ALL they do.
Their famous cookie is a soft, bittersweet chocolate cookie with milk chocolate chips and a white chocolate center. It’s incredible! The moment I took a bite, I knew I needed to recreate the cookies and make a cake inspired by it.
I haven’t gotten to the cookies, but I made the cake the very next day.
My new cake, inspired by these decadent cookies, is my Tuxedo Cake.
What is a tuxedo cake?
There are a few variations of tuxedo cake: you’ll see some recipes with a white chocolate ganache between chocolate cake layers, some recipes use white chocolate and regular chocolate ganache, and some use mousse fillings.
For my cake, I knew immediately that I wanted to use a white chocolate mousse in between my dark chocolate cake layers with a chocolate buttercream. I could literally taste the cake in my mind as I thought about the textures and flavors together.
How to Make a Tuxedo Cake
To make a tuxedo cake from scratch, we’re going to start with my dark chocolate cake layers.
What makes the best chocolate cake?
Moisture: this cake is incredibly moist thanks to a combination of buttermilk, hot water (or you can use coffee), oil, and eggs.
Richness: we’re using a high fat, dark chocolate cocoa powder. It’s important to note that this recipe uses dark chocolate for a reason. Because we’re adding all the other ingredients to the cocoa powder, if we used a basic cocoa powder, the chocolate flavor would get diluted. Additionally, if the cocoa powder is low in fat (like most grocery store brands), you run the risk of drying out the cake. My go-to cocoa powder is Extra Brute Cacao Barry, or anything similar to richness and fat as this.
NOTE: the cake batter is thin. Don’t let that stress you out. It bakes beautifully.
In addition to the chocolate cake layers, you’re going to make a super simple white chocolate mousse and chocolate buttercream.
Easy White Chocolate Mousse
This white chocolate mousse recipe is incredibly easy. It only has three ingredients in it. Three! You’ll see some mousse recipes cook egg yolks over the stove and require a tempering process, but we’re going to simply make a ganache and fold in heavy whipping cream. So easy!
The Best Chocolate Buttercream
I’m making a lot of big claims today, I know. But friends, I stand by them! This is the most delicious chocolate cake and this is THE BEST chocolate buttercream. You’ll be using 10 ounces of dark chocolate, some heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar (sifted, of course), vanilla and salt. I have some tips below for making the best buttercream frosting, plus, you’ll want to click the Instagram icon below to see how I make it.
Dark Chocolate vs. Milk Chocolate
It’s important to note that this recipe uses dark chocolate for a reason. If you use milk chocolate chips or regular cocoa powder instead of dark chocolate, you’re going to lose a lot of the chocolate flavor. It will be too sweet. Now, don’t get me wrong – I love all things sweet, but it’s important to have balance. The dark chocolate in the layers and the buttercream help provide a balance to the sweetness because dark cocoa is bittersweet. However, the cake and buttercream frosting don’t taste bittersweet because we’ve added other ingredients to them (i.e. sugar!).
So trust me on this one. Use dark chocolate!
How to Make the Best Buttercream Frosting
To get this silky smooth buttercream, make sure you follow my tips: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM
- Sift your powdered sugar
- Use slightly cold butter
- Use heavy whipping cream
- Beat for 5 minutes
- Stir by hand
You’ll want to check out the post linked above for more details on each step to make sure you get the best buttercream frosting. And remember, these steps can be used for any buttercream recipe on my blog.
IMPORTANT For chocolate buttercream specifically, remember to heat the cream and chocolate together first. You’ll then stir the mixture until it becomes a smooth ganache. Once the ganache has cooled slightly, you’ll add the mixture to the butter and continue making the buttercream according to instructions.
Tender and moist chocolate cake layers with white chocolate mousse filling and a silky, smooth chocolate buttercream.
FOR THE CAKE
- 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cups (88.5 g) dark cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (5.6 g) salt
- 1 cup (240 g) buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 cup (236.6 g) hot water
- 1/2 cup (109 g) vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- 1/3 cup (77 g) heavy whipping cream
- 10 oz. dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, slightly chilled
- 5 cups (625 g) powdered sugar, measured then sifted
- 1 tablespoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping you’ll want to make an extra ½ batch.
For the White Chocolate Mousse
- 7 ounces good quality white chocolate chips
- 1 cup (240 g) heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) vanilla extract
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray, line with parchment paper, and spray again. Set aside.
- Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
- In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, water, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Divide the batter between the three pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumsb on it.
- Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and the cream for about one minute. Stir until mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 2 minutes on medium-high speed.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the ganache. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and then mix on medium-high speed for about a minute, until the mixture is smooth.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, followed by the vanilla and salt.
- Buttercream can be store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.
- When you’re ready to frost the cake, bring the frosting back to room temperature and mix by hand with a wooden spoon to push out all of the air pockets.
FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
- In a microwave safe bowl, or in a saucepan over medium heat, heat ¼ cup heavy whipping cream to the start of a simmer. Do not boil.
- In a medium size bowl, pour the warm heavy whipping cream over the white chocolate chips and stir to melt the white chocolate chips. The mixture should be smooth like a ganache. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a stainless steel bowl, whip the remaining heavy whipping cream and vanilla until medium-stiff peaks form.
- Once the white chocolate has cooled to room temperature, gently fold in the heavy whipping cream.
- Mousse can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Place the first cake layer, top side up, in the center of a cake board or cake stand.
- Evenly spread 1 cup of the white chocolate mousse over the cake layer.
- Place second cake layer, on top of the mousse, and spread another cup of the mousse over the cake. Place the final cake layer, top side down, on the mousse filling.
- Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
- Once the crumb coat is set, finish frosting the cake with the remaining buttercream.