Sharing a perfectly simple chocolate birthday cake recipe today that is oh so good, sweet & rich, and perfect for a celebration.
Over the past weekend I celebrated my birthday and of course had to make a chocolate birthday cake.
Ever since I was young, a very rich chocolate cake has always been a part of my celebration. For my family party, my aunt would always get me the most amazing cake from the best little bakery where she got many of our holiday treats. It’d always be a chocolate cake with chocolate fudge layers and chocolate frosting on top. It was so decadent with the best tasting layers of chocolate I’ve ever had.
To this day I still find a way to have some sort of chocolate birthday cake, and so this year I decided to make one.
It’s a three-layer cake, made of deeply intense chocolate cake and silky smooth chocolate buttercream.
I don’t make layer cakes too often (although this coconut praline carrot cake has become a staple for Easter), and I’ve realized I’m really not the best cake decorator. I’m sure I could do it well if I spent the time on it, but I usually just don’t have the patience. That’s why I like keeping my cakes rustic and slightly messy…which I think is way more fun and just as delicious.
For this chocolate birthday cake, I did a quick layer of chocolate buttercream on top of each cake, simply swirling it around with a small offset spatula. You’ll definitely have enough buttercream if you want to smooth out the sides and fully coat it all around, though.
However you do it, it’s going to be a very good chocolate cake.Print
Chocolate Birthday Cake
a decadent chocolate birthday cake layered with chocolate buttercream
yield: 1 (3-layer) cake
- 14 oz all-purpose flour
- 4.5 oz cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 lb granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp pure almond extract
- 18 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 9 oz granulated sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 3 sticks (or ¾ lb butter), softened
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- flaky sea salt (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 3 (8”) cake pans with butter. Lightly dust the entire surface of each pan with flour and shake off the excess. Set aside.
- Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in the oil, milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking until combined.
- Distribute the batter evenly into the 3 pans. Bake for 26-30 minutes, or until fully set (a toothpick should come out almost clean with a few crumbs stuck to it).
- While the cakes are baking, start the buttercream (below).
- Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes. Run a butter knife around each pan. Flip out the cakes and place them onto a cooling rack. Let fully cool.
- Use a serrated knife to even out each cake so that the top is flat.
- Add the chocolate to a stainless-steel mixing bowl. Fill a small saucepan with about a ½” of water. Bring the water to a low simmer. Place the mixing bowl over the saucepan (make sure the bowl is not touching the water). Stir the chocolate until melted. Set the bowl aside and let the chocolate cool.
- Combine the sugar and egg whites in another stainless-steel mixing bowl. Add more water to the saucepan if needed and place the bowl on top. Whisk the mixture continuously as it heats over the saucepan. The sugar should fully dissolve, and the mixture should reach a temperature of 165°
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a whisk attachment, whisk on low speed for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and whisk another minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form (the mixture should stand up on its own).
- Turn the speed back to low and slowly add the softened butter, small piece by piece, until it’s all incorporated. Blend in the vanilla.
- Add the cooled melted chocolate and mix to fully combine, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Lastly, blend in the salt.
- Place the first layer of cake onto a cake stand or large platter. Mound a large portion of buttercream on top. Use an offset spatula to spread it out evenly. Repeat with the remaining layers of cake and buttercream.
- Sprinkle the top of the cake with flaky sea salt (optional). Serve the cake at room temperature.
p.s. Aren’t these wildflowers beautiful?! My best friend manages a building with an urban rooftop garden and she picked the prettiest flowers for this shoot!