Three tall layers of fluffy chocolate cake.  Whipped cream filling and frosting.  A drippy chocolate glaze.  Chocolate-covered strawberries for garnish.  Yeah, this cake is kind of a show-stopper.  I’ve been dying to try it for over a year – in fact, it was in the running for last year’s birthday cake but Andrew randomly chose the cappuccino fudge cheesecake instead.  I ended up bringing the tuxedo cake to the New Year’s party we attended this year and people were pretty excited about it.  Considering that literally everyone else at the party were professional photographers plus a graphic designer (and spouses), I think this cake was a perfect choice.  The striking contrast between the frosting and the chocolate glaze give a nice aesthetic and the strawberry garnish is an ideal finishing touch.  This cake is perfect for a fancy party, or pretend fancy party like we had :)  At around 2:00 am I noticed that all of the strawberries were missing from the top – someone was having a pretty good time!

Let me just warn you right now – if you make all three layers, you will end up with a very tall cake.  I mean, this thing was a whopper!  The slices actually look a bit funny because they are so dang tall.  But I don’t think that stopped anyone from enjoying this.  You can make the same amount of batter in two 10-inch round pans for a shorter cake, but I don’t have 10-inch pans.  I like the tall cake anyway, it is visually impressive.  This cake does slice very nicely and the black-and-white inside is a pretty match for the exterior.  The flavors are classic and simple but ultimately, the presentation (and the name, I guess) is what makes this cake fancy.  It’s a great one to have in your repertoire when a celebration cake is needed.


For the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups water
1 cup canola oil
4 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:
4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

For the chocolate topping:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract


  • 01

    To make the cake layers, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line three 9-inch round cake pans (or two 10-inch round cake pans) with parchment paper.  Butter and flour the inside edges of the pan, shaking out the excess flour.

  • 02

    In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, water and canola oil; heat until the butter is melted.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, and flour; whisk to blend.  Pour the melted butter mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then whisk in the buttermilk.  Add the baking soda, salt and vanilla to the bowl and whisk just until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  • 03

    Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of each cake layer and invert onto a wire cooling rack.  Allow the cake layers to cool completely before frosting, at least 2 hours.

  • 04

    To make the frosting, add the heavy cream to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  Add the powdered sugar and continue to whip until thoroughly combined and stiff peaks form.  Be careful not to over-beat!

  • 05

    To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cake platter and spread a layer of the whipped cream frosting over the top.  Top with a second cake layer, more frosting (and the third cake layer, if using).  Frost the top and sides of the assembled cake.  Refrigerate until the frosting has stabilized, at least 1 hour.

  • 06

    To make the chocolate glaze, place the chocolate in a medium bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 1-2 minutes.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogenous.  Blend in the corn syrup and vanilla.  Pour the glaze into a pitcher or measuring cup and let cool for 10 minutes.  (Do not let the glaze cool longer or it may become difficult to pour over the cake.)  Slowly pour the glaze over the cake, ensuring that the top is covered and the glaze drips over the sides.

  • 07

    Refrigerate the cake until the glaze is set and the whipped cream frosting is firm, at least 1 hour.  Slice with a long, sharp knife, wiping the blade clean between slices.