You have a rich, decadent chocolate cake topped with whipped sweet vanilla buttercream in a classic combination that is the best of both worlds. This chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream is perfect for any celebration.

chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream

Hi friends! I have a simple and classic cake for you today. I’ve been meaning to share this chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream for a few months now and I am glad I finally got around to it.

Classic combinations such as a yellow cake with chocolate frosting, vanilla cupcakes with Nutella buttercream and this chocolate + vanilla are always great to have in your baking arsenal. I find myself making these recipes over and over for family celebrations and I’ve been trying to document them here. Even though they are nothing new, I still think they are worth sharing in case you need one of these in your back pocket.

chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream

I particularly like this combination because it has your rich, decadent chocolate cake that is topped with whipped sweet vanilla buttercream. This is the best of both worlds and an easy crowd-pleaser. Chocoholics will love it and vanilla lovers will too.

As usual, I used my go-to one bowl chocolate cake recipe but you can use your favorite chocolate cake recipe. This classic chocolate cake recipe that is butter-based would also be great with this combination. Regardless of the chocolate cake you use, just make sure you use good quality ingredients to get a rich chocolate base.

chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream

To complete the cake, I used a whipped vanilla buttercream. This is that bakery-style frosting that we all love. The key to this is using GOOD quality butter like Land o Lakes or Kerrygold for maximum creaminess. I whip my butter for at least 5 minutes to aerate it and after adding the powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste and heavy cream (not milk!), I whip it again for another 5 minutes on medium-high speed. The result is incredibly silky, light buttercream that is perfect for all your cakes and cupcakes. This frosting is also a great decorating icing as you can layer cakes with it and pipe borders/decorations as you desire.

chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream

There you have it, friends! This chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream classic needs to be in your baking recipe box and one I know your family will love. I re-make this at least 3-4 times a year for different requests and it is always a hit.

It’s good to have classics you can call on for any event. 

I used this cake to demonstrate how to frost a layer cake. Be sure to check it out if you are new to decorating cakes or need a refresher.

chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream
Yield: 1 8-inch layered cake

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

You have a rich, decadent chocolate cake topped with a whipped sweet vanilla buttercream in a classic combination that is the best of both worlds. 

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


For the Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup strong black coffee, hot
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, cold


For the Chocolate Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line three 8-inch cake (or two 9-inch) pans with parchment paper. Grease the parchment.
  2. Sift together all the dry ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine all the wet ingredients using a whisk.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and add the wet ingredients. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix for an additional minute on medium speed until well combined.
  5. The batter will be thin. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
  7. Cool cakes in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto the wire racks to cool completely. Meanwhile, you could start on the frosting.

For the Frosting:

  1. Whip butter on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and creamy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and heavy cream and mix on low for 1 minute until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and whip for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy.

To Assemble The Cake:

  1. Level the cakes if needed. Onto a cake stand, place the first layer of cake. Evenly spread about 1 cup buttercream on top. Add the top layer of cake with the top of the cake down. Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Then spread the icing evenly and frost the cake. Decorate as desired with sprinkles.
  2. The cake will store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerated.


  1. NOTES: This cake recipe is a devil's chocolate cake recipe. It doesn't rise as much as butter cakes. It does remain moist and has a tender crumb due to the buttermilk and vegetable oil use.
  2. You can convert this cake into cupcakes by easily baking the prepared batter in cupcake tins. Be sure to adjust your baking times. I recommend baking the cupcakes for 12-15 minutes.

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