Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Tim requested chocolate cake for his birthday, and this cake from Vintage Cakes definitely fit the bill. I made a 2/3 recipe because a triple layer cake seemed over-the-top for two people, and it was the perfect size for enjoying over the course of a week or so.  The chocolate cake part is pretty basic - chocolate-y, moist, and tasty.  But, the frosting is what really takes this cake over the top.  It's super easy to make (just melt, cool, and spread), and extra fudge-y.  I like adding a layer of raspberries between the two layers of cake to cut the sweetness a bit - the tart pop of berry keeps this cake from being overwhelmingly sugar-y and rich.  A tart jam would work well too if you don't have access to good berries.  Definitely the perfect way to celebrate a birthday!

I'm off to a conference for the rest of the week/weekend, so I'll be back to posting next week!

Chocolate Birthday Cake (adapted from Vintage Cakes)
Makes one two-layer, 8-inch round cake

2.7 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
.7 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp espresso powder
4 ounces boiling water
4.5 ounces sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
6.7 ounces flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
rounded 1/2 tsp salt
2.7 ounces butter
5 ounces brown sugar
3.5 ounces granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
Chocolate Fudge Frosting, see below

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment circles, and spray them with oil.
2. Place the chocolate cocoa, and espresso powder in a bowl.  Pour the boiling water over, let sit for a minute or so, and then whisk briskly until the chocolate is completely melted.  Whisk in the sour cream and vanilla.  Set aside.
3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, and set aside.
4. Beat together the butter and both sugars until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the oil in a slow stream.  Raise speed to medium high, and beat until fluffy, 3 minutes.  Beat in the yolks and the whole eggs one at a time.
5. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and chocolate mixture in alternating additions (flour-chocolate-flour-chocolate-flour).  Beat until just incorporated, and finish mixing with a rubber spatula to avoid overdoing it.
6. Divide the batter among the two prepared pans.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool for about 15 minutes, and then turn out the cakes onto wire racks to finish cooling.
7. Frost the cake with the chocolate fudge frosting.  In between the layers, add a layer of frosting and then a layer of whole raspberries.  Smoosh them down a bit, and then cover with the second cake layer and continue frosting.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting (adapted from Vintage Cakes)

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2.8 ounces brown sugar

1. Place the chocolate in a bowl.
2. Heat the cream and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring often to avoid scorching. When the mixture just starts to bubble, pour it over the chocolate chips.  Let sit for a minute or two, and then whisk together until the chocolate is melted.
3. Let sit at room temperature for an hour, whisking occasionally, until it firms up to spreading consistency.


  1. Sensational chocolate cake! Perfect for a birthday (birthday boy has good taste)! I was wondering...does the frosting stay moist and fudgy like that or does it set up like regular ganache does?

  2. Looks like a great go to chocolate bday cake, anything chocolate is good with me!

  3. Have fun at your conference and happy birthday to Tim!

  4. Happy birthday to Tim! This Vintage Cakes cookbook? AWESOME. i just baked something out of there i'll be posting soon and i just love it. It's a library grab for me, but it's going to be an actual purchase in the very near future. I'm noting this recipe to try!

  5. Really good chocolate cake is fairly hard to come by! What a gorgeous one you've made though. Happy birthday to Tim!

  6. Holy chocolate that looks delicious!! Hope your conference went well Sara!