Black Russian Cake with Kahlua filling and a chocolate ganache is rich, creamy, and delicious. This Kahlua chocolate cake looks like it came from a bakery but easy enough to make at home.
This post was updated from 2016 to improve our readers experience. No changes were made to the recipe.
This Black Russian 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 an amazing Kahlua filling!
How to Make a Black Russian Cake
This cake may look a little fancy but it’s quick and easy, and actually starts out using a cake mix. No one would ever know because this Kahlua chocolate cake with its creamy filling and chocolate ganache is delicious.
This cake is super easy to make because you can simply mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and pour it into your pan to bake.
The kahlua filling is added after the cake has baked, by poking holes in the cake and pouring the filling over it.
Ganache is equally simple since it is made in the microwave.
Ingredients for Black Russian Cake
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. Regular sugar.
Vegetable Oil. All cakes need a little bit of fat content to keep the cake moist.
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 eggs, so make sure you have enough on hand.
Kahlua Filling for the Black Russian Cake
Kahlua. This liqueur is used in different mixed drink but works wonderfully for baking applications.
Powdered Sugar. Did you know — if you don’t have powdered sugar you can run regular granulated sugar through a coffee grinder with a little corn starch and make your own? It’s a ratio of 1 cup granulated sugar to 2 Tbsp Cornstarch.
Bar Chocolate. Do not use chocolate chips to make the ganache because chips have stabilizers in them to cause the chips to hold their shape. It will mess up your beautiful ganache.
Heavy Whipping Cream. Make sure you do not get “ultra-pasturized” as it will not work for this application.
Variations on the Black Russian Cake
- We 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 cake.
- Instead of a ganache topping, use a Kahlua glaze, your favorite frosting, or just dust it with powdered sugar (after it’s completely cooled).
- Add Chocolate Chips for a special touch.
- Substitute the yellow cake mix with a chocolate cake mix for an extra intense chocolate flavor.
- We applied a thin crumb coat using buttercream frosting, thinking that the Kahlua ganache would flow smoother. That step isn’t necessary. Our ganache was still a bit thick so, while not perfect, it was still delicious.
- You could just drizzle a glaze over the top and call it done too.
- Another great option to top the Black Russian cake with Kahlua filling would be to melt and drizzle chocolate or white chocolate candies. They will harden as they cool and create a crunchy chocolate topping.
- We were inspired to make this cake after I learned how to make modeling chocolate. We wanted a special chocolate 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.
If baking scares or confuses you, check out or 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. You don’t have to go crazy decorating as we did. A smooth ganache drizzle 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.
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Storing Leftover Cake
You can keep leftover black Russian cake in a covered container at room temperature for 2 or 3 days. If you refrigerate it, it will probably keep for 5 days or so. If you’d like to freeze the leftovers, you can put individual servings in freezer-safe bags and thaw them at room temperature when you need a piece. This is great for just pulling out one slice for a sweet tooth fix!
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Black Russian Cake
- 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 degrees 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 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 whipped 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.