Chocolate Vanilla Layer Cake With Chocolate Ganache 

Chocolate ganache covered chocolate & vanilla layer cake.

My children now want this cake all of the time!  It’s not my ‘everyday’ cake but it has become the ‘go-to’ birthday cake for my son and special occasion cake.  I’ve taken two favorite recipes (one chocolate, one vanilla) and have brought them together in a layer cake covered with chocolate ganache.

Easy by cake standards but not something I make every weekend.


You basically need to make one chocolate cake, one vanilla cake and chocolate ganache to frost on top and between the layers.  Set aside a few hours for making, baking the cake layers  — the ganache is very fast to make but takes some time to cool down to ‘frosting’ consistency.  I often will frost the layers the next morning or at night after my kids are asleep.


  1. Chocolate Cake Layer

Original recipe for ‘All In One Pan’ Chocolate Cake from King Arthur Flour.

I make a lot of different chocolate cakes, because I love it.  However, this recipe has become my favorite because if you wanted to make chocolate cake everyday (and yes, I have at times)… this recipe is that simple. Also it’s dairy free and when I was dairy-free (due to my daughter having an allergy, thankfully she’s outgrown it) this was a great recipe for cake that I could pair with a dairy-free chocolate ganache (that I made with coconut milk).

The main modifications I’ve made are to use:

2. Vanilla Cake Layer

This one, not as quick to pull together but delicious and well worth it if you want a perfect butter cake. I have been a devotee of Rose Levy Birnbaum’s cookbooks for many, many years now – I own several including a well worn copy of the Cake Bible where this recipe appears, however, it’s also been posted on Epicurious.

If you’re doing the chocolate and vanilla layer thing, then you can make ½ this recipe & have 2 even layers for the cake.  Once the vanilla cake is baked, let it fully cool and you will need to use a serrated knife to cut the cake in half horizontally to create the second layer. Or you can make the entire vanilla cake recipe for a larger crowd (I used half the batter for cupcakes and gave them away to neighbors) and use each cake as it’s own layer (the full recipe bakes two nine-inch cakes).


It turns out, no one will care about how perfect this looks.  You’ll notice in my photos my layers are not completely even.  At that point I was time pressed to finish the rest of my Easter menu and sacrificed the beauty of the cake — knowing that my family would not care whatsoever.

I started with a vanilla layer, frosted it with chocolate ganache, then topped it with the chocolate cake layer and then another layer of vanilla cake.  The entire cake was then frosted in chocolate ganache.  A short cut can be to use the ganache while it’s still warm and pourable for the first covering of the cake – then you can just pour it carefully on top.  Messy but effective and saves time with a crumb coat using the more traditional (spatula) method.

Chocolate & vanilla layer cake with chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Ganache

Simple, delicious chocolate frosting to use for almost anything.


Steps to make the ganache:

  1. Bring the heavy cream (or milk) just to boil, ideally in a wide saucepan.
  2. Once it begins to boil, remove it from the heat and submerge the chocolate chips into the hot liquid. Wait about 3 or 4 minutes for the chocolate to fully soften.
  3. Using a heat safe spatula or wooden spoon, stir until the chocolate and cream (or milk) are fully emulsified (blended together).
  4. You will need to let this rest at room temperature (about 1 to 3 hours) if you want it to thicken to spreadable consistency. Or you can pour the warm ganache over the cake (it’s messy but leaves a nice smooth finish) for the first coat.
  5. If you want to ‘rush’ the thickening process, put it in the fridge and stir occasionally for about 30 minutes but check/stir frequently it sets up rather fast in the cold.

If you have extra ganache, it can be stored in the freezer for a month or two.

Enjoy!  Please leave a comment and let me know if you make this.


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