Chocolate Cake with White Frosting

Four soft, moist and deliciously rich layers of chocolate cake are enveloped in a smooth, sweet, white buttercream. Impress your guests with this easy chocolate cake with white frosting.

Chocolate cake often is paired with chocolate frosting. But sometimes a stark contrast is what you need, and this Chocolate Cake with White Frosting will give you exactly that. With four layers of cake and white frosting in the middle, it makes the perfect base for a simple cake…or decorate with candies or sprinkles for a special celebration.

a cake on a table with two slices cut

Why you’ll love this cake:

  • 100% homemade
  • Tall and elegant with 4 cake layers
  • Buttermilk and sour cream leave the chocolate cake rich and moist
  • Smooth buttercream with a simple vanilla flavor

How to Make Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Line four 8” cake pans with parchment paper and spray with baking spray.
  • In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, vegetable oil, brown sugar and melted butter.
  • Add in the eggs and yolk and whisk to combine.
  • Next, add in the buttermilk and sour cream and stir to incorporate. Then stir in the vanilla.
  • Add in the flour mixture and cocoa and whisk just until incorporated. Lastly, stir in the hot water. At this point, the batter should be fairly runny. Don’t overmix the batter or your cake may end up tough.
  • Evenly divide the batter into the 4 prepared cake pans. Place into the preheated oven to bake for 26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with moist crumbs. You can also touch the top center of the cake. It will spring back when it is baked through.
  • Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

How to Make White Frosting

It’s best to use a stand mixer or a high powered hand mixer when making homemade frosting. This will help the ingredients cream together for the best textured frosting.

  •  In a stand mixer bowl, with the mixer on medium speed, whip the butter for 2 minutes until it is almost white in color. 
  • Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla and 3 tablespoons cream. Beat on low speed for 2-3 minutes, adding in the last tablespoon of milk if the buttercream needs to be thinner. Then beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until the frosting is fluffy and spreadable.

Note: The longer you whip the buttercream, the fluffier and the whiter it will become as more air is incorporated. Do not over whip it though as eventually it will break and separate. I recommend only whipping it for up to 4 minutes after adding the sugar and cream.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Use cake flour instead of all purpose flour for a lighter crumb.
  • Melted coconut oil in place of vegetable oil is delicious if you don’t mind a hint of coconut flavor.
  • We often use salted butter in our baking since that is what we keep on hand. You can use unsalted butter if you’d like. Don’t make any changes to the cake, but you add ½ teaspoon of salt to the frosting if you use unsalted butter.
  • Use plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • Enhance the chocolate flavor by using hot coffee in place of water in the cake. Don’t worry…you won’t taste the coffee, but it will just make the chocolate flavor a little more robust.
a slice of cake on a plate with a fork

Other Frosting Ideas

4 layer chocolate cake with white frosting
4 layer chocolate cake with white frosting

Chocolate Cake with White Frosting

4.41 from 5 votes
Four soft, moist and deliciously rich layers of chocolate cake are enveloped in a smooth, sweet, white buttercream. Impress your guests with this easy chocolate cake with white frosting.
Servings 15
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes

Ingredients
 

Cake:

  • 2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • cup vegetable oil (or canola)
  • cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup salted butter (melted)
  • 3 large eggs + 1 yolk
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • cup hot water (or hot coffee)

Buttercream:

  • 1 ½ cups salted butter (room temperature)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4-6 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions
 

Make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Line four 8” cake pans with parchment paper and spray with baking spray.
  • In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, vegetable oil, brown sugar and melted butter.
  • Add in the eggs and yolk and whisk to combine.
  • Next, add in the buttermilk and sour cream and stir to incorporate. Then stir in the vanilla.
  • Add in the flour mixture and cocoa and whisk just until incorporated. Lastly, stir in the hot water. At this point, the batter should be fairly runny.
  • Evenly divide the batter into the 4 prepared cake pans. Place into the preheated oven to bake for 26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting:

  • While the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream. In a stand mixer bowl, with the mixer on medium speed, whip the butter for 2 minutes until it is almost white in color. 
  • Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla and 3 tablespoons cream. Beat on low speed for 2-3 minutes, adding in the last tablespoon of milk if the buttercream needs to be thinner. Then beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until the frosting is fluffy and spreadable.

Assemble the cake:

  • Place one layer of cake onto a cake stand or plate. Using an offset spatula or rubber spatula, spread frosting over the surface.
  • Place a second layer of cake on top, ensuring that one edge does not hang over. Frost with more frosting. Repeat with the last 2 layers.
  • Once all of the layers are stacked, frost the outer edges using the remaining buttercream.
  • Slice and serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes

The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 727kcal | Carbohydrates: 101g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 495mg | Potassium: 226mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 80g | Vitamin A: 833IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 727
Keyword 4 layer cake, chocolate cake

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I would love to try this cake. Is it possible to make it a three-layer cake using 9-inch cake pans? How would I adjust the cooking time – or would I simply touch the center until it bounces back?