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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:

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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 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.

70 comments on “Chocolate Layer Cake with Ganache”

  1. Happy Birthday, Thomas. How blessed he is to have such a talented, caring mom. Love that swirl effect on top of the cake…and looking forward to making that white ganache =)

  2. Happy Birthday to your Thomas , Lizzy ! He’s so lucky to have a Mom who’s such an amazing baker/cook 😉 …. Anyway , that cake looks utterly delish ! Love the generous frosting so as that yummy filling !

  3. Wow, this is a perfect birthday cake with the white choco filling. Just the combination for a chocoholic. I don´t see the holes really… Happy Birthday Thomas! I wish I´d had a mom who baked me these cakes Liz!

  4. Happy Birthday to your son!! What a perfect birthday cake and treat. Lizzy, you worked until the last day of your pregnancy… tipping my hat off to you. I can’t imagine being on my feet that last month of pregnancy as a nurse. I know you are a hard worker…. I see all the hard work you put into your fabulous blog and all amazing things that come out of your kitchen. You are a force to reckon with… take a bow Mom… I think Moms forget to get patted on the back on a child’s birthday. You did all the hard work after all. 😉

  5. Happy New Year! That cake looks just stunning!

  6. Happy Birthday Thomas! My mom has her 3 baby’s birthdays this month. My brother just turned 34 yesterday, my sister is 29 today and I am 28 on the 19th! She was just telling us how much she can’t believe that she is old enough to have kids that are all so grown up!

    What a lovely birthday cake!! I wouldn’t have shared it either! 😉

  7. That icing looks deliciously thick – I want to stick a finger into the screen and scoop some out!

  8. This cake sounds fabulous, Liz! I adore white chocolate ganache, but I’ve never tried it inside a cake before. Pinning 🙂

  9. I know exactly what you mean about the air holes in the frosting! I often have that problem especially with buttercreams! Looks great though, and we can’t even tell!

  10. Lizzy,
    The cake looks amazing! My hubby would love it and his birthday is next month, so guess what he’s getting.
    PS: Happy Birthday Thomas. Are you sure you have a 26 year old? You look so young.

  11. That cake looks scrumptious, but the photo is awesome. Your photography skills are really good. Just had to mention it.

  12. What a lucky son! 🙂 My Beloved gives me boring quotes like that, too. “Mmmmm. Nice, sweetie,” just doesn’t cut it! lol

  13. Perfect looking chocolate cake for a birthday!

  14. Happy 26th to Thomas! Time flies, doesn’t it? I’d be thrilled if my cake decorating turned out like that one. It’s gorgeous. White chocolate ganache, huh? If you have any left over, can I have the tub and a spoon? 🙂

  15. Awwww how sweet! Happy birthday to your boy! He was lucky indeed to have such an AMAZING cake!!

  16. Wonderful and delicious!
    happy 2013

  17. Aww, happy birthday to your son! What a wonderful post, Liz, and a stunningly decadent cake! I think your frosting looks gorgeous, so don’t let those air bubbles get you down. And I love that you made your husband give you a sexier quote for the blog, lol.

  18. I enjoy reading the story about the day your son was born… so cute that he loves chocolates since when he was young. As a mom we remember some interesting moment of our kids and we treasure it even when kids are older… Happy Birthday to your son and I love your chocolate ganache filling!

  19. Looks so…………. yummy!!!! Wow, I can see why they didn’t want to share it. I think our Nicks have similar tendencies when it comes to sweets. One time when my Nick was in college, I made a LARGE pound cake for him to share with his housemates. They never saw it because he hid it. He did share a bit with his girlfriend (who’s now his wife) but she told me that he only gave her a few “slivers”. What a brat! 🙂

  20. Such a gorgeous and decadent cake, perfect for a birthday celebration! 🙂

  21. Happy Birthday to your son, Liz!!! How lucky to receive this beautiful cake! I would give anything for a slice if there’s any left over!!!

  22. My friend Liz.
    First, happy 2013 to you and the whole family.
    Then congratulations to his son Thomas for his 26 years of age and have the joy of being a child of a mother as wonderful as you.
    Beautiful and tasty cake, well suited for a celebration.
    Kisses of Gina

  23. Lucky boy to have such an incredible baker for a Mom, such a gorgeous cake. BTW, you are far too young to have a 26 year old, far too young. XO

  24. What a perfect chocolate lover’s cake for his 26th birthday!!! I can see why he and his roommate decided not to share!!! I must say too – you look far too young to have a 26 year old! It’s hard to make a Christmas birthday special but I think you did it!

  25. A gorgeous looking cake!! Perfect for celebrating a birthday! Happy Birthday to Thomas!

  26. I love any kind of chocolate cake but this really looks sensational. I’m saving this recipe to try for the next birthday. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Love the quote. Sometimes you just have to put a husband’s words back into his mouth and tell him to try again. I’m glad Tom(my) has gotten to the age where he realizes he doesn’t have to share everything. The cake looks delicious and very, very picture-presentable.

  28. So your oldest has just turned 26? My oldest is about to turn 20. Both seem to have a healthy appetite for chocolate. What a gorgeous looking cake and I love how the centre is filled with a white chocolate ganache – it just adds to the decadence of this wonderful treat xx

  29. Another gorgeous cake Lizzy! I am sure that anyone would like it!

  30. Happy birthday to your son, what georgeous Mom you are!!

  31. Happy birthday to you son. The chocolate cake looks beautiful and delicious I love it.

  32. Aww! Happy birthday to your baby!

  33. Oh man, I’d have a hard time sharing that cake. Though eating that all by myself would only speed up getting diabetes…

  34. Lizzy, I won’t want to share this cake with anyone either! Very smart boys 🙂

  35. Your frosting looks intense but oh so good. What a wonderful birthday cake? Remember mine falls in September. (wink, wink)

  36. Happy birthday to Tom and what a cake – no wonder they didn’t share, hehe. Yes, it also has to be said here that I could hardly believe it myself that you have a 26 year old when I met you in Paris last summer. You’re such a belle famille and the only layers you’ll find around you is with cakes!

  37. Now , thats how you frost a cake! Wow!.Looks good.

  38. First off Happy New year. Second I am not getting your feed in my feed reader anymore (thought you were away). And finally Happy Birthday, Thomas, what an amazing cake!

  39. Awe, what a sweet story. Happy birthday to your “little” guy and that’s a hell of a cake!

  40. Happy Birthday to Thomas! That’s one good looking cake, that thick layer of frosting looks pretty tempting!

  41. Happy Birthday to Thomas! He is so lucky to have a great mom who bakes such fabulous treat like this cake!!

  42. This looks so good, but now it’s just becoming torture for me to look at!

  43. Happy birthday Thomas. Time does fly, my eldest is almost a teen so it won’t be long before she grows up and flies the nest. The cake is stunning and so decedent. I love the white chocolate ganache filling too, that creamy touch of extra chocolate. Perfect.

  44. Party cake for sure! Love the thick layer of frosting–perfect. You do know how to bake it right Lizzy.

  45. Happy birthday Thomas! Wow, this looks divine! Truly wicked. Loving the layers and that smooth, ganache swirling…wow!

  46. I wish someone would make me this cake for ~my~ b-day! It sounds amazing:@)

  47. Cake it one of my favorite things. I love the look of yours, especially the stark contrast between the filling the cake. Before I met my husband, I almost always added coffee to chocolate cakes for the same reason that you do, but believe it or not, my husband – who detests coffee, but I married him despite that – can totally detect it. I’ve tried and tried to test and trick him, and he can always tell. So I’ve had to give up on that little trick.

  48. I love that layer of white chocolate ganache! Looks so delicious.

  49. That middle layer makes this a wowser cake, and I would do as your son and not share the leftovers. Call me selfish, or call me smart. LOVELY cake, and I want it for lunch today!

  50. Chocolate cake is such a weakness of mine, then you put that white chocolate ganache layer in the middle and I’m undone. Looks like the ultimate birthday cake to me, Liz!

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