Better Together Chocolate Vanilla Birthday Cake. Because sometimes you just want chocolate and vanilla. Now you don’t have to choose! Soft and fluffy vanilla cake, sandwiched between two layers of soft and fluffy chocolate cake, and frosted with both chocolate and vanilla buttercream. Truly the best of both worlds!
Fridays and cake are honestly just the best combo. It’s a combo that doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it’s good.
If you follow along on Instagram, then you know that my favorite (and only) little sister turned ten years old yesterday. Yes, yes, yes, Asher is TEN and I have no idea how or why time has to go so fast. Also, if Asher is ten that means in five years I am going to be about to turn thirty, and oh my gosh, this scares the living hell out of me…
Anyway, Asher is ten, and obviously we needed cake to celebrate. Here’s the thing though, like may kids, Asher only likes chocolate cake (or vice versa and your kid only likes vanilla cake). And when I say chocolate cake, I mean specifically this chocolate cake with chocolate cake layers, chocolate frosting, and chocolate sprinkles (please excuse the bad photos, old post, amazing recipe). So basically it’s a cake with nothing but CHOCOLATE.
Do you see a theme here?
Asher loves her chocolate. Just like my mom, just like my brothers, and just like me. Thanks mom for making all seven of your kids chocolate freaks.
Every year for Asher’s birthday I always, always, rack my brain and try to come up with a cake that she would love, but I always run into the same problem. Asher only wants a chocolate cake and nothing else. She wants it moist, soft, fluffy, and frosted with double the chocolate frosting.
Classic and delicious. I really can’t blame her for requesting this every single year (ahh, more like every single day).
But you guys, I write about food and I can’t write about the same chocolate cake every year. I have to switch it up, bring you a new recipe, share something different and delicious.
Enter this cake. It’s a dream cake for both chocolate and vanilla cake lovers, and it’s quickly become a new favorite.
In full disclosure though, Asher still prefers an all chocolate cake, and yes, she is requesting that I make her favorite chocolate, chocolate cake for her birthday party tomorrow. So, I guess I didn’t really sell her on this cake as her birthday cake, but she still ate it and loved it…and I hear my dad ate her vanilla leftovers.
Point is, this cake is delicious. And if you love both chocolate and vanilla cake, you NEED to make this cake. It’s the best of both worlds. It also allows you to not have to choose between two very delicious flavors.
Cool. Cool. Love it.
To keep things simple and easy, both the vanilla and chocolate cake layers are made from one batter. You’ll make one big batch of vanilla cake batter first. Then remove some of the vanilla batter. Next, stir the chocolate into the rest of the vanilla batter to make the chocolate batter.
I made two chocolate layers and one vanilla layer, because in our family we much prefer chocolate to vanilla…as if you couldn’t tell. But you could also do the opposite. I included steps in the recipe notes if you would like to go this way.
For the chocolate layers, I use a little cocoa powder and a splash of coffee. The coffee highlights the chocolate and makes for the perfect rich and moist chocolate cake every single time.
For the frosting, I made two simple vanilla and chocolate frostings and then layered them throughout the cake.
Truth? My original idea for the design of this cake was to cover the cake in the swirls that you see on the top third of the cake. I wanted the swirls to resemble roses and I wanted to mix and match vanilla roses with chocolate. I’m sure from my description that you have no idea what I was going for…just try to picture a cake frosted in roses.
I attempted this and failed. So miserably, like it was so bad. I spent thirty minutes trying to pipe roses onto the side of the cake. When I stepped back to look at the cake, it was so bad that I just took my spatula and wiped away all the swirls. Thirty-plus minutes of work all gone in less than sixty seconds.
I really, really wish I would have taken a photo though, because I ended up turning my mistakes into a simple cake design that I kind of love.
I left some of the swirls on the top of the cake and just simply frosted the remainder of the cake with swirled chocolate frosting. It’s nothing fancy, but I like it, and it just goes to show you that if something doesn’t work the way you originally envisioned, try something else. I always find that if I stick with something, I usually end up loving the end result. I might shed a few tears along the way (for real), but giving up is never the answer.
As you can imagine, this cake is everything delicious.
You cannot go wrong with chocolate and vanilla, and combining them together in cake form is the best. These cakes are soft, buttery, fluffy, moist, and filled with rich chocolate and vanilla flavor. The frosting is light, not too sugary, and extra whipped, almost like a mousse.
Whether or not it’s your birthday or just another weekend, this cake should be in your near future plans. It’s easy to make, delicious, and perfect for celebrating everything from Friday nights, to birthdays, to Labor Day (which I am just now realizing is Monday).
Trust me. Make it. You’ll love this one. It’s classic, but with a fun twist, and just mouth-wateringly good.
If you make this Better Together Chocolate Vanilla Birthday Cake, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love hearing from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every one of you. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram so I can see! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Better Together Chocolate Vanilla Birthday Cake
Calories Per Serving: 3426 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk or buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup hot black coffee
- 4 sticks (2 cups) salted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter 3 (8-inch) round cake pans and line with parchment paper.2. In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand-held mixer) beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the greek yogurt and vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low, alternating with the buttermilk and ending with flour until just combined.4. Remove 1/3 of the batter (about 3 cups) and spread in 1 of the prepared cake pans. Set aside. 5. To the remaining batter, beat in the cocoa powder and coffee. Divide the chocolate batter evenly between 2 cake pans. Transfer all 3 cakes to the oven and bake 25-30 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before assembling.6. To make the frosting. Beat the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until the butter is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Remove 1 cup of the vanilla frosting and set aside. 7. To the remaining frosting, add the cocoa powder and cream and whip the frosting for 2-4 minutes more or until light and fluffy. 8. Place a chocolate layer on a plate or cake stand and spread the top with chocolate frosting. Place the vanilla cake on top and spread with vanilla frosting. Add the final chocolate layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with chocolate frosting. If desired, you can alternate between chocolate and vanilla frosting to create a marbled, swirled look. Slice and serve.
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To make 2 vanilla layers and 1 chocolate: 4. Remove 2/3 of the batter (about 6 cups) and spread in 2 of the prepared cake pans. Set aside. Adjust these two ingredients: 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder 2 Tablespoons coffee 5. To the remaining batter, beat in the cocoa powder and coffee. Pour into one cake pan. Transfer the cakes (all 3) to the oven and bake 25-30 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before assembling. 6. To make the frosting. Beat the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until the butter is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Remove 2 cups of the vanilla frosting and set aside. Adjust cocoa powder in frosting to: 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 7. To the remaining frosting, add the cocoa powder and cream and whip the frosting for 2-4 minutes more or until light and fluffy. 8. Place a vanilla layer on a plate or cake stand and spread the top with vanilla frosting. Place the chocolate cake on top and spread with chocolate frosting. Add the final vanilla layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with vanilla frosting. If desired, you can alternate between chocolate and vanilla frosting to create a marbled, swirled look. Slice and serve.
Could I use cake flour instead of all purpose? I’ve done it with all purpose before and it was amazing!! But trying to see if I could use up some of my cake flour!
Sure, I don’t see why that wouldn’t work for you! Please let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xT
Can you bake this in 9″ round pans? I don’t have 8″ pans. I know it won’t be as tall as the 8″ pans.
Totally, you may just need to pull them a touch early! Let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx
I made this cake today and it came out beautiful. I was happy the 3 cakes cooked perfectly and after frosting it and cutting it….looked perfect. My only comment is the cake tastes buttery. I went back over the recipe and it does indeed take 3 sticks of unsalted butter. Can I cut down on the butter next time, or substitute it with something else. My husband loved it too.
Wonderful!! Thanks so much for trying this recipe, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! Have a great weekend:)
Hi how do i turn this into a marble cake 🙂 , thankyouuu
So sorry, I’ve never made a marble cake so I’m not quite sure! Let me know if you give this recipe a try! xT
The vanilla cake came out great but the chocolate part was very dense. Maybe the cocoa needs to be bloomed in the hot coffee before mixing in? The frosting was too sweet for me but most frosting is. The cake still disappeared!
Thanks for giving this cake a try and sharing your feedback, sorry to hear you didn’t love the chocolate! I’ve never tried the blooming in the coffee before so I’m not sure how that would work for you! Let me know if you give it a try! xT
Hi! I’ve wondered this about many cakes — can I prepare the batter a day beforehand and store in the fridge?
Sure, that will work, just allow the batter to return to room temp before baking! Let me know how the recipe turns out, I hope you love it! xT
This did not rise at all. I bought fresh baking powder and soda. All ingredients were at room temperature. So disappointed …
Thanks for giving this recipe, so sorry to hear you had some issues! I’ve never had anyone mention that this didn’t workout. Was there anything you may have adjusted? Let me know how I can help! xx
My daughter and son, 31 and 29 are coming to my house, Friday eve for birthday party. Going to give this cake a whirl as every recipe I have used of HBH has been well accepted by the family and has me cooking constantly. Thanks for all the great recipes.
Thanks so much Lynn! I hope this recipe turns out well for you, let me know if you give it a try! xx
Full fat green yogurt?
Yes, I like to use full fat greek yogurt:) I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan
Full fat Greek yogurt?
Yes, that’s what I like to use! I hope you love this cake! Happy Friday! xx
My son’ law baked this cake for my daughter’s birthday and it was so moist and delicious. Great recipe which i will try.
Perfect! I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it was a hit! xxT
I made this cake for my sons 3rd birthday and today for his 5th! Just as delicious as the first time around. This recipe is easy to understand and has come out perfect both times I’ve tried. Thank you for posting this awesome recipe!
Awe, I love to hear this!! Happy Birthday to your son, I hope it was a great day! xTieghan
I wanted to make this for my 2 year old’s birthday – is there a replacement you would recommend for the coffee, or can I skip it all together?
You will want to use hot water in place of the coffee. Please let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx
Hai .. I am gonna make 8 inch , 6 inch and 4 inch 3 tier birthday cake… the above said amount of batter is enough or I have to make double the batter????
You should be fine to follow the recipe as is:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx
This recipe sounds easy and delicious. I am trying it out tomorrow as a birthday cake. Can I check, when you say that the cake is baked when no longer wiggly in the centre; if you can do the usual skewer test i.e. when placed in centre and it comes out clean? Many thanks
Sure, that will also work well for you! I hope you love the recipe Noreen!
Your recipe was fantastic to follow and cake was so delicious and amazing. Everyone enjoyed the birthday cake, so I will definitely bake this again. Thank you for sharing your recipe. Kind Regards Noreen
Happy Wednesday!? Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am so glad it was a tasty one! xxT