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Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Vanilla, yellow cake frosted with chocolate buttercream, topped with chocolate ganache, and decorated with chocolate shards. 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: dessert
Keyword: vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream
Servings: 1 8", 3 layer cake



  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temp
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk or use regular milk and replace 1 tbsp of milk with 1 tbsp of white vinegar, and let sit for 5 minutes
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Buttercream Filling:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temp
  • 1/2 cup all vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips I prefer Nestle brand
  • 1/2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Chocolate Shards:

  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips I used a mix of semi-sweet and milk chocolate



  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 3, 8" round pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour sides (I use Baking PAM for this).
  • With a mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light in fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping down sides as needed.
  • In a small bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • In another glass that can pour, mix together buttermilk and vanilla.
  • Gradually beat in flour mixture and buttermilk milk mixture, alternating. Begin and end with flour.
  • Divide batter among the 3 prepared pans and bake for 25-28 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of pan comes out clean.


  • Beat together butter and shortening until light and fluffy.
  • In small bowl, mix salt, cocoa powder and powdered sugar together. Beat into butter mixture about 1/2 cup at a time.
  • Beat in vanilla and heavy whipping cream until smooth and fluffy.


  • Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl on high in 30 second increments. Stir well after each increment until smooth.
  • Use spatula to spread chocolate out on parchment paper. Roll parchment paper up into a tube and put in fridge for 30 minutes. When ready to use, gently unfold parchment paper and break the chocolate off as you go.

Assembly with Ganache:

  • Level cakes.
  • Place half of buttercream filling on two layers. Stack, ending with final layer that does not have buttercream. Use a spatula to spread buttercream around the sides. This is a naked cake so you should see cake through some of the frosting - it almost looks like a crumb layer.
  • Make ganache: Put chocolate chips and corn syrup in heat proof bowl. Heat heavy whipping cream in microwave safe bowl until boiling. Pour cream over chocolate chips and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk together.
  • Transfer ganache to a squeeze bottle and use bottle to pour ganache around edges/sides of cake. Fill in center of top of cake with remaining ganache.
  • Use chocolate chards to decorate top of cake.


I prefer Nestle chocolate chips for all chips.
Your ganache will be thin, that is good, it will harden up but you want it to drip.
I always make my cake layers ahead, level them, and then freeze them. I find that when they're frozen, it makes it easier to decorate.