Black-and-White Layer Cake

Total Time:
3 hr
1 hr
1 hr 20 min
40 min

8 to 10 servings

  • For the cake:
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for the pans
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the pans
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:
  • 8 ounces white chocolate, chopped, plus shaved chocolate for topping
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Shaved dark chocolate, for topping
  • Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch-round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess. Combine the butter, milk and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Transfer to a large bowl, add the cocoa powder and granulated sugar and whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the eggs and vanilla into the cocoa mixture, then stir in the flour mixture in two additions until just combined (it's OK if there are a few small lumps). Divide the batter between the prepared pans; tap the pans against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 35 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in the pans, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack to cool completely.

  • Make the frosting: Put the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring, until smooth; let cool. Beat the butter and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the melted white chocolate until combined. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until smooth and fluffy; beat in the vanilla. (If the frosting is too soft to spread, chill about 15 minutes.)

  • Place one cake layer on a platter and spread with one-third of the frosting. Top with the second cake layer; cover the whole cake with the remaining frosting. Top with shaved white and dark chocolate.

  • Photograph by Ryan Dausch

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