Sunday, August 18, 2013

sunday sweets: chocolate birthday cake with buttercream frosting

I don't get to make chocolate cake all that often.  In fact I never get to make chocolate cake and have never actually made one other than from a box.  The only reason I have for this gross oversight in my baking repertoire is that Leif is not really all that into chocolate.  So, when I make desserts (and they are usually made with him in my mind) I tend to avoid making things with too much chocolate in them.  But I could not think of a better cake for Clio's birthday party than something heavy on the chocolate (and frosting) so I finally got to make my first chocolate cake.

And let me just say...It was so, so good.  It was everything a chocolate cake should be; chocolaty (obviously), moist, and dense.

I was a little nervous about how it was going to turn out because I lost track of how much sugar I was adding as I was making it.  I have to partially blame Clio, because I have not seen our 1 cup measuring cup since Clio co-opted it for her own purposes and so I was measuring out 3 cups of sugar with only a half cup.  I got lost somewhere between two and three cups thanks to Natalie, who is also partially to blame, as she would not stop talking about interesting things and distracting me.  I ended up adding an additional half cup of sugar thinking that either I would be one half over or under the recommended amount but that either way it would not make too much difference.  Still not sure which one it is but it turned out fine nevertheless.

The buttercream frosting turned out light and fluffy and oh so very creamy.  It was a tad on the sweet side, as is often the case with buttercream frosting.  Next time I'll use quite a bit less of the powdered sugar than the recipe calls for and I'm sure it will be perfect.

I loved this cake and would happily make it again.  Most importantly though, was that Clio loved it and would happily eat it again

...and again

...and again

...and again.

chocolate cake from here

unsalted butter for pans
1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (plus a bit more for pans)
3 cups AP flour
3 cups sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cups vegetable oil
1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F, butter 2 pans, line bottoms with parchment, butter parchment and dust with cocoa powder.

2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  With mixer on low add the eggs, 1 and 1/2 cups warm water, the buttermilk, the oil, and the vanilla extract.  Mix until smooth.

3.  Divide batter between the two pans.  Bake for about 30-45 minutes making sure you turn the pans once halfway through.  

buttercream frosting from here

3 cups confectioners sugar (to make less sweet omit at least 1/2 cup)
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp whipping cream (I used whole milk and it turned out fine)

1. In a standing mixer with whisk attachment, on low, mix together sugar and butter until well-blended.  Then increase to high and continue mixing until smooth and creamy. 

2.  Add vanilla and cream (or milk) and continuing mixing until incorporated.


  1. super scrumptious- that cake. also, can we please see some photos from clio's party? those sweet nautical details need to be shared, my friend.

  2. Really it looks like so good and I will also try it in this combination cocoa dark chocolate.