Fudge Sundae Cake

Whatever the occasion, celebrate with this fudge sundae inspired cake! It has 3 layers of dark chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream frosting, a chocolate ganache drip and is topped with sprinkles and cherries.

  • Author: Claire of The Simple, Sweet Life
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Yield: One 6" Cake - 16 slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American



For the chocolate cake:

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 oz. baking cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

For the vanilla frosting:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 lb. unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the dark chocolate ganache:

  • 4 oz. dark chocolate (60% cocoa), coarsely chopped
  • 4 oz. heavy cream (ultra pasteurized if you have it)

For garnishing:

  • Sprinkles
  • Coarsely chopped nuts
  • Maraschino cherries


  1. In a small bowl, combine the boiling water and dark chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the eggs until light and frothy.
  3. Add the vegetable oil and continue whipping until completely incorporated.
  4. Add the sugar, milk, and water/chocolate mixtures, and whisk until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in the baking cocoa, flour, baking soda, and baking powder with a spatula until the batter is lump free.
  6. Divide the came batter evenly between three 6″ cake pans, and bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  7. Once the pans are cool enough to handle, transfer the cakes to plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cool and firm.
  8. While the cakes bake, heat the heavy cream and chocolate for the ganache in the microwave until hot (about 30 seconds).
  9. Gently stir with a spatula (a whisk will create too many air bubbles) until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  10. To make the frosting, stir together the water and granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  11. Boil until completely clear. While the syrup boils, whip the egg whites in a stand mixer until stiff. With the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot syrup into the egg whites.
  12. Increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture and bowl cool to room temperature. With the mixer on low again, add pieces of butter until all the butter has been added.
  13. Add the vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high and whip until a smooth frosting forms.
  14. Once the cakes are cool, level the tops if necessary.
  15. Using the frosting, begin stacking your layers of cake and filling between the layers.
  16. Coat the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting (a crumb coat) and allow to set in the refrigerator (about 15 minutes, or until the frosting is firm).
  17. Frost the top and sides of the cake with a generous helping of frosting, smoothing the frosting with an offset spatula or bench scraper.
  18. Add any sprinkles you might want to add to the sides, and allow to set in the refrigerator until the frosting is firm (about 15-20 minutes).
  19. Microwave the ganache in 5 second increments until it reaches a thin, spreadable consistency (it shouldn’t be warm).
  20. Using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of ganache out to the edges of the cake.
  21. Pour the remaining ganache into a piping bag, and moving around the edge of the cake, create drips down the side.
  22. Garnish the cake with leftover frosting, sprinkles, nuts, and maraschino cherries.


  • Measure your batter: Making even layers of cake start with measuring your batter. For this recipe, that means about roughly 1 lb of batter per pan (for three pans).
  • Stir the ganache with a spatula: Using a whisk can incorporate too much air leaving the ganache with air bubbles. Use a spatula to ensure you’re ganache stays smooth and bubble-free.
  • Chill your cake: Cool cake is easier to cut and handle, so chilling your cake for a short while before use will make this process easier.
  • Crumb coat: Spreading a thin layer of frosting around the sides and top of the cake, and then refrigerating it will lock in any crumbs and keep them from reaching the surface of your frosted cake.
  • Air bubble-free frosting: If the frosting has a lot of air bubbles, reduce the speed on your stand mixer to low and beat for 3-5 minutes, or until smooth.
  • The trick for smooth frosting: You’ll need a rotating cake stand and a bench scraper. Place the small end of the bench scraper on the cake stand, long end against the frosting and turn the table. Once excess frosting is removed, heat the scraper in hot water, wipe and drag around the outside of the cake.
  • The trick to a perfect ganache drip: The first trick is getting the right consistency – You really want to let it cool until it resembles a thick fudge. The second is to use a piping bag so you can control the drip over the edge. Start by creating the drip and then add ganache to the top and smooth it out with an offset spatula.
  • Storage: This cake will keep at room temperature, uncut, for 3-4 days. For best results, cover it with a plastic lid, bowl or place it in a cardboard box. This is easiest if you don’t add the cookies until you’re ready to serve.
  • Storing cut cake: Once your cake is cut, you’ll want to protect the exposed cake area. The easiest way to do this is with a piece of plastic wrap or two.

Chocolate cake recipe adapted from Miette


Keywords: fudge cake, chocolate cake recipe, sundae cake