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Black Russian Cake Recipe (with Kahlua)

Black Russian Cake is a boozy cake infused with Kahlua and vodka and topped with a rich chocolate ganache. It’s a semi-homemade chocolate cake recipe that just begs for a party.

This moist and delicious Kahlua cake looks like it came from a bakery but is easy enough to make at home.

This post was originally posted in 2016 and has been updated to improve our readers’ experience. No changes were made to the recipe.

Top view of a beautiful creamy dark chocolate Black Russian Cake decorated with chocolate daisies
Beautiful boozy Black Russian Cake

This Black Russian chocolate cake is a deep chocolate moist cake that is perfect for any occasion. If you like Kahlua, you’re going to love this cake.

Why is it called a Black Russian Cake?

This cake gets its name from a cocktail called a Black Russian which is made of Kahlua and vodka. You will not want to show restraint when it comes to my Black Russian Cake with Kahlua and vodka!

Black Russian Cake Recipe Ingredients

Kahlua cake with yellow cake mix

  • Yellow Cake Mix. Any brand of cake mix will do.
  • Chocolate Pudding. You want the cook-and-serve box. Do not get instant pudding.
  • Granulated White Sugar.
  • Vegetable Oil. All cakes need a little bit of fat content to keep the cake moist.
  • Water.
  • Vodka. No need to get a special kind. See the section on variations if you don’t want to use vodka.
  • Kahlua. A coffee liqueur made from 100% Arabica coffee, rum, and sugar.
  • Eggs. This cake uses four Grade A large eggs.

Kahlua Filling for the Russian Chocolate Cake

Poke cakes such as this Lemon Pudding Poke cake have gained popularity since I first made this cake. The premise is the same and quite easy to do.

  • Kahlua. This liqueur is used in mixed drinks and works wonderfully for baking applications.
  • Powdered Sugar. Did you know — if you don’t have powdered sugar you can make your own. See the instructions here.

Ganache Ingredients

What is a ganache? It’s a fancy word for a smooth chocolate glaze.

  • Bar Chocolate. Do not use chocolate chips to make the ganache because chips have stabilizers that cause the chips to hold their shape. It will mess up your beautiful ganache.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream. Make sure you do not get “ultra-pasteurized”. It will not work for making a ganache.

How to Make a Black Russian Chocolate Cake

This cake may look a little fancy but it’s quick and easy. It’s semi-homemade, starting with a cake mix. No one would ever know because this Kahlua chocolate cake with its creamy filling and chocolate ganache is bakery delicious.

Step 1: Combine and bake

Preheat the oven and prepare the pan. I give you pan variations below.

Combine the cake ingredients together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Blend until smooth. Pour the mix into the prepared pan and bake. Allow the cake to cool while you prepare the Kahlua glaze.

Step 2: Kahlua filling

In a small bowl, mix the Kahlua with the powdered sugar and stir together until blended.

Run a knife along the edges of the cake pan and turn out the cake onto a cooling rack set over a baking sheet. Poke holes into the cake using a skewer or other long sharp item. Pour the Kahlua over the cake and allow it to soak into the cake.

Step 3: Chocolate Ganache

Chop up the chocolate bar and put it in a microwave-safe bowl. Pour enough cream over the chocolate to just barely cover the chocolate. Microwave at 1-minute increments at 50% power, stirring after each increment until smooth.

Pour the warm ganache over the cake.

A piece of chocolate cake on a plate, topped with model chocolate flowers.

Tips and Variations on the Black Russian Cake

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  • I baked this decadent chocolate cake in an angel food cake pan because I wanted a flat top for decorating. You could use any bundt pan for a beautiful Black Russian Bundt cake or you could use another shaped cake pan. For help with converting, check out my cake pan cheat sheet.
  • Instead of a ganache topping, use a Kahlua frosting or glaze, or just dust it with powdered sugar (after it’s completely cooled).
  • Add chocolate chips or chunks to the cake batter for a special touch.
  • Substitute the yellow cake mix with a chocolate cake mix for an extra intense chocolate flavor.
  • My ganache was still a bit thick so, while not perfect, it was still delicious. If your ganache is on the thick side, add a little more cream while it’s still hot.
  • Another great option to top the Black Russian cake with Kahlua filling would be to sprinkle it with toasted coconut, crushed nuts, or chocolate sprinkles.
  • I was inspired to make this cake after I learned how to make modeling chocolate and wanted a special chocolate Kahlua cake to decorate. This technique is a lot of fun if you want to make a fancier cake, but it’s absolutely not necessary. The cake is impressive enough with a simple ganache.
Beautiful round chocolate cake with a shiny ganache decorated with chocolate flowers.

If baking scares or confuses you, check out our Baking Basics Techniques, Tools, and Ingredients article.

What can you substitute for Vodka?

This boozy Kahlua chocolate cake looks a little intimidating, but it’s so easy to make. This cake is beautiful without fancy decorating. You can just make the smooth ganache and you’re good to go.

If you don’t want to use vodka or don’t have any on hand you can substitute water or coffee and still have a delicious cake.

Storing Leftover Cake

Since this cake has dairy as an ingredient, it’s best to store this cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a covered container. Chilling this cake also keeps this cake from becoming soggy.

This cake also freezes well in an airtight container. It can be frozen with or without the ganache topping.

You can freeze the cake as a whole or you can put individual servings in freezer-safe containers. Allow them to thaw briefly at room temperature or in the refrigerator. It’s great just pulling out one slice for a sweet tooth fix!

I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe as much as we do. Drop me a comment below, and don’t forget to give it a star rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Your comments and ratings help others decide if this recipe is for them too.

Top view of a whole Black Russian Cake

Black Russian Cake Recipe

Author: Hostess At Heart
Black Russian Cake with Kahlua filling and a chocolate ganache is rich, creamy, and delicious. Our Kahlua chocolate cake looks like it came from a bakery but is easy enough to make at home.
4.84 from 18 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword: Black Russian Cake, Chocolate Black Russian Cake
Servings: 15



  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 3.4 oz box of chocolate pudding not instant, cook and serve
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vodka I used 360 double chocolate vodka
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua
  • 4 eggs


  • 1/4 cup Kahlua
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar


  • 10 oz dark bar chocolate Do not use chocolate chips
  • 1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream * make sure it’s not “Ultra-Pasteurized”



  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Generously grease tube or bundt pan.
  • Combine all of the cake ingredients together, and mix until combined. Pour into the cake pan and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Allow pan to cool at least 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the pan and turn onto a cooling rack.
  • Using a skewer, poke holes into the cake. Mix Kahlua and powdered sugar together until smooth. Pour over the cake.


  • Chop the chocolate bar into small pieces. I don't use chocolate chips for this because they contain stabilizers to keep their shape during baking.
    I don't measure the heavy whipping cream, I just pour it over the chocolate until most of the chocolate is covered. Probably close to a cup. Don't choose Ultra-Pasteurized cream because it can contain water that will seize your chocolate.
    Microwave at 50% power one minute at a time. Stir after each minute until smooth. Add additional cream to thin if necessary, one tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition.
  • Glaze or cover cake with ganache. Allow to set up (or freeze briefly) before any additional decorating.


Recipe adapted from the “Toast to Omaha” by the Junior League of Omaha 2006


Calories: 455kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 4gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 285mgPotassium: 191mgFiber: 2gSugar: 33gVitamin A: 535IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 114mgIron: 3.2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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An angled view of a round cake covered in a shiny chocolate ganache and decorated with cutout chocolate flowers. Hostess At Heart.
Recipe Rating

Amy Nash

Thursday 24th of June 2021

Everything about this cake is amazing, but wow, that chocolate ganache is just divine! It's so much better than a typical frosting!

Julie Menghini

Friday 25th of June 2021

Thank you, Amy! I had so much fun putting it together.


Wednesday 23rd of June 2021

What a delicious cake and the chocolate molding is so beautiful!

Julie Menghini

Thursday 24th of June 2021

Thank you, Nikki!

Sheila Thigpen

Monday 21st of June 2021

AH-mazing! Definitely a showstopper and was quickly gobbled up by everyone!

Julie Menghini

Monday 21st of June 2021

Thank you, Sheila!

Kathleen Pope

Sunday 20th of June 2021

Your cakes are always so easy and amazing Julie, loved how rich, moist and delicious this cake is!

Julie Menghini

Monday 21st of June 2021

Thank you, Kathleen!


Sunday 20th of June 2021

You had me at Kahlua and vodka! I will take a cocktail with my dessert any day of the week! I love the tip of using a cake mix. Any shortcuts that get me spending more time withe friends and family and not in the kitchen is always welcome!

Julie Menghini

Monday 21st of June 2021

Thank you, Jennifer! Cocktails disguised as a dessert is a win!

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