Black and white cake features white cake layers filled with whipped ganache and topped with white chocolate buttercream. It’s a fancy dessert that’s actually pretty easy to make!
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of those links I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I only link to products I love and use myself. For the full disclosure,see here.
You GUYS! I have such a treat for you today! BLACK AND WHITE CAKE! Isn’t it beautiful? I love a dramatic layer cake—and when it tastes good I love it that much more.
This one seriously tastes like it came from a bakery even though the cake layers are made with a cake mix. It’s a wonder what adding a few extra ingredients can do with cake from a box 🙂
Here’s what’s going on with this gorgeous dessert:
- White cake layers
- Whipped ganache filling
- White chocolate buttercream
Why you’ll love this black and white cake
- The cake layers are a doctored up cake mix—so they’re easy to make
- You don’t need a stand mixer to make it!
- You can make the cake layers ahead, then frost and fill them when you’re ready to serve
How to make black and white cake
I love this doctored cake mix recipe; it’s really easy but tastes like it’s from scratch. However, if you’re opposed to using a cake mix under any circumstances, feel free to substitute your favorite white cake recipe. As long as it makes two layers thick enough to split in half, you’re fine!
- Start by combining white cake mix and a few other standard cake ingredients in a large bowl.
- Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat again for a few seconds; you want to be sure all the ingredients are well combined.
- Spread into 8-inch cake pans and bake for about 45 minutes.
Be sure you cool your cake layers completely before you fill and frost them; you don’t want the frosting to melt!
- Combine hot heavy cream and finely chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl.
- Let that sit for a few minutes, then whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixer is smooth.
- Beat with an electric mixer until it just begins to thicken, then add powdered sugar.
- Beat the mixture until it becomes thick and fluffy. See how the chocolate is fairly pale in that last picture? That’s what you’re going for.
Baker’s tip: If your ganache filling is still on the thin side after you’ve beaten it for awhile, pop it in the fridge to set up a bit. Once it’s spreadable, you’re ready to fill and frost the cake.
The white chocolate buttercream couldn’t be easier to make.
- Just beat room temperature butter with an electric mixer until it’s creamy.
- Add powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, salt, and melted white chocolate and beat until smooth. Easy peasy.
Baker’s tip: I mention this every time I post a white chocolate recipe but it bears repeating. MELT WHITE CHOCOLATE VERY SLOWLY. It scorches easily and you don’t want that. Melt it in 15-second intervals on 50% powder, stirring after each interval and you should be fine.
How to assemble black and white cake
To assemble the cake you first need to split your cake layers in half. I highly recommend using a sharp serrated knife to make sawing through the cake easier.
You can eyeball it if you want, or put toothpicks all around the middle of the cake, then use them as your guide.
But my preferred way to split cake layers is to use these cake slicing guides and a really long serrated knife (as seen in the photo above). The guides also work to trim cake layers if they’ve domed—they’re really handy.
Once that’s done, transfer about 1 cup of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe a circle of frosting around the perimeter of the cake, then use a small offset spatula to spread half of the filling inside the circle.
If you don’t have piping bags and tips you can just spread the filling on top of the cake layer, leaving about an inch all the way around so the filling doesn’t leak out into the frosting.
Top with a second cake layer and spread a layer of buttercream over that. Then a third layer, and repeat the piping and filling step. Top with your last layer and your black and white cake is almost done!
Just frost with the remaining frosting and decorate as desired. Note: if your cake is wobbly when you’re frosting it, pop it in the fridge to set the buttercream and filling. This makes life a lot easier when it’s warm in the house.
It’s easier to slice your black and white cake neatly if you refrigerate it for an hour or so to let the ganache and buttercream set fully, but this is optional.
How to divide the work up over a couple of days
Baker’s tip: If you want to store the cake layers overnight, no problem! Once they’re cool, wrap them tightly with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap should go around the cake entirely—don’t let any little bits of cake go uncovered. Leave them on the counter at room temperature and you can store them overnight or even up to a day or two.
You can also make the white chocolate buttercream ahead and store it in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, overnight. When you’re ready to use it, beat with an electric mixer for a few minutes to warm it back up. You might need to add a little more milk to make it spreadable.
How to make chocolate curls
I used chocolate curls to decorate my black and white cake. So how did I make them? My favorite way, and the only way I’ve ever successfully made chocolate curls, is to run a vegetable peeler down the side of a square (or slab) of room-temperature chocolate.
You can even heat the chocolate in the microwave for a few seconds; when I say a few I mean no more than five. You want it to soften a tiny bit rather than begin to melt.
If you’re looking for another method, Ghirardelli has a few.
A few tips for making chocolate curls:
- Almond bark (both vanilla- and chocolate-flavored) often makes nicer curls than real chocolate does because it’s really soft and has a wider edge than most baking chocolate
- The chocolate curls better if you run the peeler slowly down the square of chocolate
- Chocolate curls are delicate so before transferring them to a cake, pop them in the fridge to harden
- Use a toothpick to transfer the curls to your cake if you’re really concerned that the curls keep their shape
OK, so who’s baking a black and white cake sometime this week? My hand is actually raised because I foolishly gave my leftovers to a neighbor without keeping a piece (or five) for myself. Live and learn, amiright?
Did you make this black and white cake? That’s great! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. And post a pic on Insta! Tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see your creations!
Black and White Cake is a fancy dessert that's easier to make than it looks. And it's totally delicious!
- 1 (16.25-ounce) box white cake mix*
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1 cup water
- 5 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract clear if you have it
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 5 1/2 ounces dark chocolate finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 4 ounces white chocolate finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- 3 to 6 tablespoons milk or cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- chocolate curls for decorating if desired
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper, then spray the paper with more cooking spray. Set pans aside.
Combine the cake mix, flour, sugar, sour cream, water, egg whites, vegetable oil, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.
Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes—the batter should be very smooth and well mixed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix a few seconds more.
Pour into the prepared cake pans and bake 42 to 48 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool for 20 minutes in pans, then run a knife around the edge of the pans and carefully invert onto a wire rack to cool completely before assembling your cake. (Once the layers are cool you can wrap then tightly with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for a day or two.)
While your cake layers are cooling, make the filling. Place heavy cream in a small saucepan set over medium heat and heat until the cream just starts to steam.
Place chocolate in a medium heat-proof mixing bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Allow to sit for 4 minutes, then whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cool to room temperature.
Beat the cooled ganache with an electric mixer set to low; gradually increase the speed to medium-high.
Add the powdered sugar and continue beating until the ganache becomes light and fluffy; this will take several minutes. (If the ganache doesn’t thicken as much as you’d like, refrigerate it for a few minutes until it’s spreadable.) Set aside while you make the buttercream.
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on 50% power in 15-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until chocolate is melted and smooth. (It will take about a minute and a half.) Set aside to cool.
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer set to medium speed until very creamy. Turn mixer to low and beat in 4 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and the vanilla and salt until well combined.
Add the cooled white chocolate and mix on low until incorporated. Turn mixer to medium and beat until very smoothl. Add additional powdered sugar to thicken frosting or additional milk to thin it out to a spreadable consistency.
Trim your cake layers with a long serrated knife if they’ve domed. Use the same long serrated knife to split each layer in half horizontally.
Place one cake layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake circle. Transfer about 1 1/2 cups of the white chocolate buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.
Pipe a circle (or twof frosting around the perimeter of your cake and use a small offset spatula to spread half of the chocolate filling into an even layer inside the circle.
Top with a second cake layer and spread a layer of white chocolate buttercream over that. Top with a third cake layer and repeat the filling process, using the remaining chocolate filling. Top with the last cake layer and frost the cake with the remaining buttercream.
Decorate the cake as desired and serve. Uneaten cake can be stored in the fridge, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days, or tightly wrapped in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- *I used Betty Crocker
- For tips on dividing this cake up over several days, please see the body of this post
- For tips on making chocolate curls for garnish, please see the body of this post
- Because this is a fairly long recipe, I recommend reading the recipe through once before you start baking
Inspired by Baking from My Home to Yours