Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe with Chocolate Frosting

You will never want to celebrate your birthday without this Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe!  Imagine soft, moist chocolate cake covered with creamy, chocolate frosting.

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Chocolate frosting on a birthday cake on a cake stand against white background

The Heart and Soul of the Best Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe

My husband is responsible for the recipe behind this Chocolate Birthday Cake. It’s his favorite birthday cake and I’ve been making it for more than 15 years for him.

Cuisine Inspiration: A classic American treat, this Chocolate Birthday Layer Cake is pure joy in every slice.

Primary Cooking Method: Baking transforms the chocolatey batter into moist, delightful layers, complemented by creamy American frosting.

Dietary Info: This is a rich and indulgent treat, so it’s perfect for those looking to indulge.

Key Flavor: Chocolate reigns supreme, delivering a rich and satisfying taste in every bite.

Skill Level: Ideal for those with some baking experience, as creating even layers and the perfect frosting consistency will make this cake shine.

Sweet Highlights:

  • Rich Layers: Dive into moist, chocolatey goodness with every slice.
  • Creamy Frosting: The chocolate American frosting is smooth, velvety, and downright irresistible.
  • Celebration Ready: Perfect for birthdays and special occasions, this cake knows how to party.
  • Get Creative: Add your own twist with sprinkles, shavings, or a caramel drizzle.
  • Prep Ahead: Bake the layers ahead of time and freeze them for party-ready perfection.
A chocolate birthday cake covered with sprinkles against a white background

I was raised to think that food was the way to a man’s heart, and I think this cake might be the ticket. It is my auntie Rose’s chocolate cake recipe, and it is quite delicious. It is everything a chocolate layer cake should be:

  1. Filled with chocolate flavor
  2. Incredibly fudgy
  3. The perfect texture
  4. Insanely moist

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • Large Eggs: The foundation of our cake structure, they’re bringing the fluff and holding it all together.
  • Granulated Sugar: Sweetness central! This is what’s making our cake indulgently sweet.
  • Cocoa Powder: Hello chocolatey goodness! This is where the deep, rich chocolate flavor kicks in.
  • Instant Coffee Powder: A little secret weapon to enhance and intensify the chocolate flavor.
  • Salt: Just a pinch to balance the sweetness and elevate the flavors.
  • Hot Water: This is going to mix with our cocoa to create a chocolatey oasis.
  • All-Purpose Flour: The backbone of our cake, giving it structure and softness.
  • Baking Soda & Baking Powder: These guys are the lift providers, ensuring our cake rises to the occasion.
  • Vegetable Oil: Bringing in the moisture, for a cake that’s tender and ready to party.
  • Buttermilk: Tangy and fabulous, it’s here for moisture and a delicate crumb.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: A splash of sweet, aromatic goodness to round out the flavors.

For the Frosting:

  • Unsalted Butter: Soft and creamy, it’s the base of our frosting masterpiece.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: Powdered perfection, making our frosting sweet and smooth.
  • Cocoa Powder: Back at it again with more chocolate love.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: Just like in the cake, we’re here for that sweet aroma and flavor.
  • Milk: A dash for consistency, making our frosting spreadable and silky.
Overhead of chocolate birthday cake with sprinkles with a slice of cake

How to Make Chocolate Birthday Cake

For the Cake:

  1. Get Set: Preheat that oven to a cozy 350 degrees and show your 9-inch round pans some love with a good spray of non-stick magic.
  2. Whisk It Up: Eggs and sugar in the stand mixer? Yes, please! Let them dance together on high for a sweet 2-3 minutes.
  3. Choco Mix: In a separate bowl, mix cocoa, instant coffee, and a dash of salt with hot water. Pour this chocolatey dream into the egg and sugar fiesta happening in your mixer.
  4. Dry Ingredients, Incoming: Slowly welcome flour, baking soda, and baking powder to the party. Follow it up with the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Mix until just right – the batter will be on the thin side, and that’s totally cool.
  5. Bake it Beautiful: Divide that batter evenly between the pans and bake for 22-25 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when a toothpick comes out clean. Give it 10 minutes of rest before moving them out of the pans to cool off completely.

For the Frosting:

  1. Butter, Sugar, and Everything Nice: Into the mixer they go! Butter, confectioner’s sugar, and cocoa powder. Mix until it’s smoother than a jazz tune.
  2. Vanilla and Milk Magic: Add a splash of vanilla and enough milk to make it fluffy and fabulous.
  3. Layer and Love: Frost each layer with care, then show the whole cake some frosting love.
A sliced into chocolate birthday cake on white cake stand

The secret to making an outstanding homemade chocolate frosting is to make it fluffy. The key to fluffy frosting is to continue to mix the ingredients (butter, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla extract) on a high speed. This will ensure your chocolate frosting is fluffy.

How to Decorate Your Birthday Cake

Overhead of slices of birthday cake on white plates

Now that you have your chocolate cake and chocolate frosting done, your chocolate birthday cake is not complete without sprinkles, candles and other birthday cake toppers.

If you don’t know what a topper is, a birthday cake topper is any decoration to go on top of a cake. Some other examples of cake toppers are:

  1. Sparklers
  2. Edible prints with cartoon and comic book characters
  3. Flowers

Whatever topper you decide, your cake is complete. Get ready to surprise the birthday boy or girl!

How to Store

Wrap your chocolate birthday masterpiece tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container to keep it fresh and fabulous for up to 3-4 days at room temperature. If you’ve got leftovers after the big bash (lucky you!), slide it into the fridge, and it’ll stay scrumptious for up to a week. Just a little tip: if you’re diving back in for another slice, let it sit out for a bit to get back to room temperature – it’ll taste just like it did on day one!

Amazing Chocolate Cake Recipes

A sliced into chocolate birthday cake on white cake stand

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Soft, moist, decadent chocolate cake covered with creamy, delicious chocolate frosting…that perfectly describes this chocolate birthday cake!
4.42 from 124 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter 3 sticks
  • 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk

Instructions

For the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 3 9 inch round pans with non-stick baking spray.
  • Add eggs and sugar to bowl of your stand mixer and beat on high speed for 2-3 minutes.
  • While mixture beats, add cocoa powder, instant coffee powder and salt to hot water. Add to eggs and sugar.
  • Next slow down mixer and add flour, baking soda, and baking powder then add vegetable oil, buttermilk and vanilla extract to the mixer and beat until just combined. Batter will be sort of thin but this is normal.
  • Evenly add cake batter to all three pans and bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to rest for 10 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

  • Add butter, confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder to bowl of mixer and mix on high speed until smooth.
  • Lastly add in vanilla extract and milk until frosting is fluffy and smooth.
  • Frost each layer of cake with frosting then frost the entire cake and serve.

Notes

Wrap your chocolate birthday masterpiece tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container to keep it fresh and fabulous for up to 3-4 days at room temperature. If you’ve got leftovers after the big bash (lucky you!), slide it into the fridge, and it’ll stay scrumptious for up to a week. Just a little tip: if you’re diving back in for another slice, let it sit out for a bit to get back to room temperature – it’ll taste just like it did on day one!

Nutrition

Calories: 730kcal | Carbohydrates: 120g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 322mg | Potassium: 252mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 93g | Vitamin A: 790IU | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 2.7mg
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Filed Under:  Cake, Oven

Comments

  1. Randomly found this recipe when looking to make a cake for my son’s birthday. I was skeptical cuz there’s no butter in it. But it is SO GOOD!!! Very moist and has a real good chocolate flavor. My whole family loved it!! I used store bought frosting and it was still a huge hit. I didn’t have buttermilk so I substituted whole milk mixed with a little vinegar, and it seemed to do the trick. Will definitely be making this again!!

  2. GIRL! Come on now! What other secrets are you keeping from us?! Do tell!!! This chocolate cake recipe was DELISH, LIP SMACKIN, keep your own fork on your own plate CAUSE IM FINISHING MY CAKE! No milk needed! Plenty moist. Great job with the instructions. From one baker to another, Sarah

  3. I’m not a huge chocolate cake fan but my kid requested one (I’m the shape of a car!) for their 5th bday. It was very easy to make and came out great. Everyone loved it!

  4. do you need to add the coffee? the cake is for kids and I was wondering if you would feel it… it is the second recipe where I see coffee as an ingredient for a chocolate cake… how come? does it make the cake special?

4.42 from 124 votes (75 ratings without comment)

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