Birthday Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? T and I kept very busy with a quick road trip to Chicago for the Iowa vs. Northwestern game, celebrating T's birthday, dinner with family and friends, and a scouting trip to find the perfect pumpkin carving tools so that we will be well prepared to carve our pumpkins for Halloween this week.

When I asked T about what type of cake he might like for his birthday weekend, his immediate response was 'chocolate'. Who am I to disagree with a man who wants chocolate!? I had a couple of ideas up my sleeve for chocolate cake recipes, particularly one that uses beets, but I stuck to the basics since I thought maybe a chocolate beet cake would be reaching too far out on a limb for a birthday cake. (One day I WILL make the chocolate beet cake, and I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out.) The recipe I decided on was a little out of my normal experience with chocolate cakes, and did use a secret ingredient...fresh brewed hazelnut coffee.

Mix up the batter.

Bake the cake.

Frost the cake.

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa via Food Network 

Eat the cake!

BIRTHDAY CHOCOLATE CAKE | Yield: 8 servings | Prep: 30 min | Total Time: 1 hr 35 min.


Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
2 C sugar
3/4 C cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 C buttermilk, shaken
1/2 C vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C freshly brewed hot coffee


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans.

Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add wet ingredients to the dry. Add in the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping bottom of the bowl with a spatula.

Pour batter into prepared baking pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.


6 ounces good semisweet chocolate
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 C confectioner's sugar
2 tsp hot water


Chop the chocolate and place in a heat-proof bowl. Melt chocolate either over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave following package instructions until just melted. Set aside until cooled to room temperature (about 15 min.).

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 min. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 min., scraping bowl as necessary. Turn the mixer to low, and gradually add confectioner's sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. On low speed, add 2 tsp hot water, and chocolate. Mix until blended, don't whip!

Place cooled cake on a cake pedestal or plate, frost immediately, and serve with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.

A tip on cake baking...learned from my kitchen: If you find that your cakes are turning out tall in the middle and short on the outsides (aka the domed effect), it is probably the pan you are using. The cake pans I used for this recipe are aluminum, and kept the heating even so that I didn't end up with domed cake. You can find them anywhere Wilton products are sold.

Birthday weekend cheering for the Hawks at Northwestern
Have you baked anything delicious lately?

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Thanks for visiting! Let me know if you have any suggestions of recipes I should try, fun ideas to do with the kiddo, or a suggested adventure to add to our bucket list!

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