Rich, moist with a tender crumb and a dreamy frosting, Double Chocolate Cake is a chocolate lover’s dream.  Loaded with dark, white and semi-sweet chocolates, this recipe makes the perfect chocolate cake.  Ideal for birthdays, but gorgeous enough for holidays, anniversaries and special occasions this is one lusciously delicious chocolate cake!  

 A large slice of dark chocolate layer cake with white chocolate buttercream with the cake in the background.

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Can we really have any event in the South without a tall layer cake in the center of the table?  This Double Chocolate Cake & White Chocolate Buttercream is guaranteed to be your new showstopper!  Both semi sweet chocolate chips and dark cocoa powder are used in the batter to create rich dark chocolate layers loaded with decadent chocolatey goodness.  Imagine your guests delight as you slice through the stark white chocolate buttercream to reveal that dark 3 layer chocolate surprise!  


Double chocolate layer cake with white chocolate buttercream on a wooden platter.


What You Need To Make This Double Chocolate Layer Cake & Frosting

3 Layer Cake Ingredients (8 inch pans)

This is no shortcut cake, but the easy-to-follow instructions make baking easy! Besides, the chocolatey results are more than worth it.  See recipe card below for exact measurements and instructions.

  • cake flour
  • quality semi sweet chips
  • dark cocoa powder
  • buttermilk
  • sugar
  • butter
  • eggs
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla


How to frost Double Chocolate Layer Cake with white chocolate buttercream


How to Make the Best Dark Chocolate Cake

The batter for these cake layers might look a little thin when mixed up, but don’t let that fool you.  Your cakes will be light and fluffy if you follow a few key rules of thumb.

  • Always use room temperature butter, eggs and dairy products.  For this recipe, that means butter, eggs and buttermilk.  Set them out 15-20 minutes before you plan to bake.
  • Read all the way through the recipe at least twice before starting to make sure no steps are skipped and ingredients are mixed and added in the order listed.  It really does make a difference!
  • When mixing, don’t over beat the batter.  When adding a new ingredient, mix just until incorporated.  Overmixing can lead to a flat cake instead of a light and fluffy one.
  • Don’t overbake the layers.  Overbaked layers = dry cake.  Keep a close eye on your layers while baking.  Start testing them at 20 minutes instead of waiting until 25 minutes.


Using white chocolate buttercream to finish a double chocolate layer cake.

How to Make White Chocolate Buttercream

This white chocolate frosting against the dark chocolate layers creates a stunning cake.  Not only does it hide this cake’s true identity and create a mouthwatering surprise, it’s also the perfect indulgent balance for the darker, less sweet cake layers.  When the cake is chilled, the buttercream eats more like a white chocolate fudge.  Allowed to come to room temperature, the frosting is creamy and luscious!

To make the frosting, mix the ingredients below using a mixer and whisk attachment until light and fluffy.  The salted butter keeps the white chocolate from being too sweet.  Make sure the butter is at room temperature when getting started.  Cutting it into pats and adding it to the mixer a bit at a time also helps in creating a smooth and light frosting. (See recipe card below for exact measurements.)

  • butter (salted)
  • white chocolate baking chocolate (baking bars)
  • confectioner’s sugar
  • half & half
  • pure vanilla extract


Adding pearls to finish the double chocolate layer cake.


Icing a Cake Like A Pro

When icing a cake with a different color frosting than the layers like this Double Chocolate Cake, cake crumbs can be a big problem.  No one wants cake crumbs peppered through out their whipped peaks and fluffy frosting swirls.  To keep those crumbs at bay, freeze the layers of your cake before frosting, and assemble the cake while the layers are still frozen/thawing.   Adding and working with large dollops of frosting helps too!  Trying to spread on a thin layer keeps you working too close to the cake and those pesky crumbs.  It also helps to move the icing in one direction when frosting instead of using a back and forth motion.



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The dark chocolate inside of a 3 layer chocolate cake with white chocolate buttercream.

We added some coarse sugar and sugared pearls to sides of this cake and a little on the top to create a pretty touch that gave our white cake some depth.  But there are a variety of things you can do to kick this cake up a notch.

Variations & Additions

  • Omit the cinnamon, if you like.  But it does heighten the chocolate flavor and gives your cake that little je ne sais quois that makes everyone go back for more!
  • Add 1 Tbsp instant espresso for an even richer, dark chocolate flavor.
  • This cake is delicious with dark fruit fillings like cherry.  Add a little cherry pie filling between layers and pool it on top for a stunning and sumptuous twist!
  • Making a double batch of buttercream is key if you want to decorate this cake with piped edges or swirls.


A slice of dark chocolate layer cake with a fork


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Double Chocolate Layer Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream

This easy to follow recipe makes an elegant, rich chocolate cake ideal for every occasion. Moist & tender with dreamy, creamy frosting, this chocolate lover's dream is loaded with dark, white and semi-sweet chocolates.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: birthday, holiday, party
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Frosting Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 people


  • (3) 8 inch cake pans


  • 9 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 C bleached cake flour
  • 2 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 1 C hot water
  • 2 tsp vanilla

White Chocolate Buttercream

  • 3 sticks salted butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz white baking chocolate, premium baking bar chocolate
  • 5 C confectioner's sugar
  • 3 Tbsp half and half
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Grease cake pans using shortening or butter. Lightly flour pans and set aside.
  • Microwave chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, using 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds until chips are melted.
  • Using a mixer, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each. Using a rubber spatula, add melted chocolate and mix just until blended.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt & cinnamon with a fork. Alternate adding 1/3 flour mixture and 1/3 buttermilk to wet ingredients until all of both ingredients have been added, starting and end with flour. Mix just until blended after each addition.
  • Mix on low while pouring in hot water. Add in vanilla. Continue to mix until blended.
  • Add 1/3 batter to each greased pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on cooling rack.

White Chocolate Buttercream

  • Chop white chocolate. Place in microwaveable bowl with 2 Tbsp of half and half. Microwave in 15 second increments until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir after each 15 seconds. The chocolate will continue to melt when stirred. Do not overheat the chocolate.
  • Using a mixer, whip butter until smooth. Add confectioner's sugar 1 cup at a time until all has been added. Using a rubber spatula, add the white chocolate. Add vanilla. If frosting is too thick, add another Tbsp of half and half. Beat on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes until frosting whips up smooth and creamy.

Frosting the Cake

  • Place 1 cake layer on a cake pedestal or platter. Top with large dollops of buttercream. Spread to edges. Repeat with second cake layer. Top with third cake layer. Add several large dollops to top of cake. Using an offest spatula, frost top and sides of cake with remaining buttercream. Add sugar pearls to sides of cake for a finished look.


To eliminate any problems with crumbs when frosting, freeze cakes before frosting.


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This easy to follow recipe makes an elegant, rich chocolate cake ideal for every occasion. Moist & tender with dreamy, creamy frosting, this chocolate lover's dream is loaded with dark, white and semi-sweet chocolates.