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Chocolate Layer Cake with Ganache

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This Chocolate Layer Cake with Ganache was created for my oldest son’s birthday a few years ago . Like his dad and brother, he’s a major chocoholic and there was no shortage of chocolate in this Old Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake!

A Moist Chocolate Layer Cake is ideal for birthdays and special occasions, and when there’s a surprise white chocolate ganache filling, every bite is sheer bliss.

Chocolate Layer Cake with Ganache on a white ceramic cake stand

Old Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake with Ganache

It’s pretty much a tradition to have a chocolate layer cake two days after Christmas. Still full from all the holiday over eating, we have one more special event to celebrate before the New Year. I can hardly believe it’s been 26 years since I gave birth to my oldest. When he asked for a chocolate cake filled with white chocolate ganache, it was pretty much a done deal.

He wasn’t due till after New Year’s Day so since Bill was scheduled to make rounds over the holidays, I hopped in my little red Toyota and drove over the snow covered interstate to visit my parents.

After celebrating  Christmas with my family, I returned home to work a full evening shift on the oncology ward. Bill and I were both exhausted  as we fell into bed late on the 26th after a full day of caring for patients. Hours later I awoke to labor pains and little Thomas was born before noon the next day with a head full of wild brown hair and his dad’s beautiful eyes. I was smitten.

White Chocolate Ganache slice on a dessert plate with a red handled fork

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Like his father, Tom was an instant fan of chocolate. Well, it did take a few months before he first indulged. As a toddler, I remember him pounding on the refrigerator door saying, “puddy, puddy, puddy” over and over. The stash of chocolate jello pudding cups I kept on hand for quick snacks had become a favorite treat.

Birthdays demanded some sort of chocolate cake or pie, so the birthday boy got his request of a chocolate layer cake. But with a surprise in the middle.

Chocolate Layer Cake with White Chocolate Ganache

I tweaked an old-fashioned chocolate layer cake recipe by adding a thick, decadent filling of white chocolate ganache. Besides an extremely rich chocolate buttercream frosting, it was this surprise filling that pushed this chocolate cake over the top!

Although hubby jokingly declared the frosting to be “a chocolate party in his mouth” (after I told him, “good, really, really good” didn’t make for a very interesting blog quote), it was so moist, it was difficult to slice.  Still the combination of cake, filling and icing made for one spectacular tasting cake. Maybe not up to my picky standards when it comes to perfect slices, but definitely worth sharing due to the amazing flavor.

I sent the leftovers of this chocolate layer cake home with the grown up version of the guy below, and he and one of his roommates elected not to share it with any of their friends. I consider that the highest compliment! 

Tips for Making a Moist Chocolate Layer Cake

  • Lining your baking pans with rounds of parchment paper help minimize any sticking when removing the baked cakes from their pans.
  • The pans should also be greased and floured or sprayed with an oil and flour non-stick baking spray.
  • Make sure to cool your cakes on a rack for about 10 minutes before turning them out of the pans to finish cooling.
  • As with most baking recipes, unless otherwise specified, have your eggs at room temperature for the best incorporation.
  • After adding the dry ingredients, just mix until well combined. At this point, do not beat as this will activate the gluten as well as add air to the batter.
  • PRO-Tip: This recipe uses both baking soda and the less used baking powder. Before you even start mixing, check the expiration date on the baking powder. It often expires while sitting in your pantry.
  • The combination of buttermilk, oil, and an extra egg yolk ensure a super moist and tender cake.
  • PRO-Tip: Did you know that coffee intensifies the flavor of chocolate? I could not detect any coffee flavor despite the 1 1/2 cups of coffee in the batter. The cocoa and chocolate provide the majority of the flavor.
  • Over-baking your cake will make it drier. Check the cakes at about 35 minutes with a toothpick. If it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs, your cake is done. If there’s batter on the toothpick, you definitely need to add more time.
The birthday boy as a child in a red shirt and jeans with a big smile

You may need these supplies to make this chocolate layer cake recipe:

Progressive Eats Logo

Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is all about an elegant summer evening celebration, and our host is Barb who blogs at Creative Culinary. This event is celebrating five years of bringing together great cooks, concepts, and especially great food through the collaboration of Progressive Eats.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. A theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the deliciousness we’ve put together for our celebration inspired dishes!

Elegant Summer Evening Soiree!




Main Courses

Side Dish


More Birthday Cake Recipes

This Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe was originally shared in January, 2013. The photos and text were updated in 2019 after sharing this decadent cake with neighbors at our annual 4th of July party. There was nothing left but crumbs!

Chocolate Layer Cake Filled with White Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Layer Cake Filled with White Chocolate Ganache

Tender, moist chocolate cake filled with white chocolate ganache and finished off with a thick layer of chocolate frosting!

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Yield 16 servings


  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups very hot coffee
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla


  • 12 ounces white chocolate (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla


  1. To make cake: Preheat oven to 325º. Coat three 8 or 9 inch cake pans with non-stick spray and then line bottom of pans with rounds of parchment paper. Note that this recipe makes 3 layers, but only 2 are needed for this cake.
  2. Put very hot coffee into a medium bowl. Add chocolate, let sit 5 minutes, then whisk until fully melted Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer, combine 3 eggs and 1 extra yolk with the sugar and beat until light and pale yellow, approximately 3 minutes. Add the oil, buttermilk and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder and salt and beat until combined. Add chocolate mixture and mix until just fully incorporated.
  4. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of the oven until a toothpick inserted in a center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Remove to cooling rack. Cool for  about 10 minutes, then remove from pans and allow to cool completely. Carefully peel off parchment. Wrap and freeze one of the 3 layers to use at a later time. You can make a 3 layer cake, but you will need more filling and frosting.
  5. To make filling: Melt cream and white chocolate in microwave, stopping and stirring at 30 second increments till smooth and melted. Refrigerate mixture till cool and thick (you do not want the filling to be hard, but if it is too runny, it will run down sides of cake when second layer is placed over it).
  6. To make frosting:
  7. Place chopped chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave, stopping to stir frequently, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Let the chocolate cool until lukewarm, stirring occasionally.
  8. Beat butter in large bowl until smooth and creamy (I used my stand mixer with the paddle attachment). Sift powdered sugar over butter and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add melted chocolate and beat until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  9. Frost as desired.


This recipe makes an extra layer which you can wrap and freeze to use later.
I had leftover frosting and calorie count is based on using all the frosting.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 714 Total Fat: 30g Saturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 16g Cholesterol: 60mg Sodium: 336mg Carbohydrates: 109g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 86g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 8g
This recipe was originally shared in January, 2013. The photos and text were updated in 2019.


Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

72 comments on “Chocolate Layer Cake with Ganache”

  1. Liz this cake looks fantastic! My sons bday is coming up I may consider trying this, he loves chocolate too! It’s looks perfect!

  2. Love this cake Lizzy ! looks stunning!! are you in summer holidays??
    We are in winter.
    Hop eto make other post soon. Still my arm hurt me sometimes but Im better!! hugs and love my friend

  3. There is nothing better than an old fashioned chocolate layer cake – except this version with the white chocolate ganache filling. It is spectacular! I want a couple of slices right now! 🙂

  4. How in heavens name to you get such a clean and perfect slice with no crumbs on the white chocolate? I am in awe.

  5. OMG!!! This looks like the best chocolate cake ever!!

  6. I wish I could taste this beauty! The photos are gorgeous! I’m a chocaholic too, and while I rarely eat sweets, if I do, they are bound to have chocolate… I love your “tips” section, especially the fact that coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate. BTW, your son is a lucky guy!

  7. Chocolate party in the mouth is a GREAT blog quote! And this is a great cake — looks spectacular, and given that quote, I know it tastes terrific. Thanks!

  8. Liz, I have so enjoyed reading this post! What a cutie your little guy – now big guy – was! They’re wonderful years, aren’t they? This cake is just irresistible and so decadent! Love it!

  9. A cake involving ganache is my favorite cake. 🙂 A chocolate party indeed. This is definitely one I would make for a celebration. 🙂 ~Valentina

  10. A good, classic chocolate cake has always been one of my favorites! The addition of the white chocolate ganache layer inside really elevates it making it so perfect for a summer special occasion!

  11. There is nothing better for dessert than a slice of chocolate layer cake in my book, except perhaps 2 slices:) This cake is a classic, and a wonderful way to celebrate our 5th anniversary as a group. Bravo!

  12. There’s nothing better than chocolate cake with ganache! This is an absolute dream! 🙂

  13. Question: it says to prep 3 pans but the picture shows only 2 layers. Im a new baker, am i misinterpreting something?


    • Hi, Lauren,

      This cake recipe makes 3 layers, but only 2 are needed for the cake. Store the extra layer in your freezer when you want to have a one layer chocolate cake for dessert. I mentioned that somewhere in the post, but I’ll go edit the recipe so it’s not so confusing! Hope you enjoy this cake!!

  14. That thick layer of White Chocolate Ganache is worth each extra minute spent working out. I’m looking forward to trying this!

  15. This cake looks perfect. That white chocolate ganache layer though — that’s what’s calling my name most. YUMMMM!

  16. This looks delicious! I plan on using this recipe for my sons birthday cake and was just wondering if you use instant or brewed/ground coffee for the cake batter?

    • Hi, Sophie,

      We’re not coffee drinkers, so I always use some instant coffee to make enough for my recipes. Either brewed or instant work well. Hope you enjoy—this is a super rich, super delicious cake!!!

  17. Liz-
    What is meant by melting the cream?
    What type of cream is used ? I bought heavy whipping cream but would like to know the correct  Ingredient! 

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