Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Today is my little boy's 1st birthday!  We did celebrate it 2 days early though because of my husband's work schedule but I just can't believe Nathan is 1 already.  I baked a cake for him and a separate one for us.  Gotta have the "smash cake" for the first birthday. I have a couple of chocolate cake and chocolate frosting recipes I've used before but wanted to try a new recipe this time.  The cake and frosting were both really good just lighter than what I normally make.  That isn't a bad thing I suppose I just have an insatiable sweet tooth and always find the sweeter the better.  The frosting was creamy and silky but again I like my sweeter chocolate buttercream made with powdered sugar.  This was one of those recipes that I liked but have others I like better.   Also this recipe makes a TON of cake.  It is an Ina Garten recipe and is used for a three tier cake.  I did two small cake pans and two 8 inch cake pans and it easily made all four of those and I had more than enough frosting for it all too.  I'm not the best with cake decorating (and by not the best I mean I'm quite terrible at it) but tried to make it pretty enough to be smashed to pieces!    

 Chocolate Birthday Cake: 

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 cup brewed coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter two 8 inch cake pans and two 3 inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter and flour the pans. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on high speed until light, approximately 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Combine the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. On low speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately in thirds, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix the batter only until blended. Divide the batter between the three pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake on the middle rack of the oven approximately 25-30 minutes for the small pans and 30-35 minutes for the 8 inch pans or until a toothpick comes out clean . Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes each on a cooling rack, carefully remove from the pans and allow to finish cooling.  Once cool frost the top and sides of that layer with buttercream. Spread any remaining buttercream over the cake evenly. 

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
1 pound bittersweet chocolate
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup egg whites (4-5 large eggs), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chop the chocolates and place them in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan simmering water. Stir until melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature. Mix the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Place the bowl of egg whites over the pan of simmering water and heat the egg whites until they are warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Return the bowl to the electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes, or until the meringues cool and holds a stiff peak. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, while beating on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate, vanilla and mix for 1 minute or until the chocolate is completely blended in. If the buttercream seems very soft, allow it to cool, and beat it again.


  1. Happy birthday to your sweet Nathan!! Love the photos...that second one gave me a big chuckle. I think you have a future chocoholic on your hands :)

  2. what a cute little cake! happy birthday to your little man!! looks like he enjoyed his cake, too, huh??

  3. am so glad that you linked this up to my tip-toe thru tuesday party! he's such a doll! hope to see you again this week!