Chocolate Birthday Cake

Hi friends, happy Friday! Do you have any plans for the long weekend ahead of us? Boyfriend & I have been so busy over the last few weeks, I’m pretty sure we’ll be hibernating and taking it as easy as we can. Our only plan thus far is to take a half day today and spend some QT on the couch watching movies – I hope that your plans are as similarly easygoing. Can I share a quick recipe with you that I think will improve the quality of your weekend? It’s a Chocolate Birthday Cake, but it doesn’t necessarily need to wait until it’s someone’s birthday to grace your kitchen. I made it during the week to celebrate Passionate Baker turning 9-years old (!) and it comes together so easily, I felt guilty keeping it from you.

But seriously – how is this here little nook of mine on the internet already 9-years old? I’m stumped at how the time has flown, but also I’m just very grateful to have this space. There isn’t a whole lot I know about where I’m going or what I want to do, but this hobby of mine is something I’m certain of. Coming online to share a recipe or a travel guide or frankly, anything, is something I take great solace in – especially over the last year or so. Hopefully there are many more years to come 🙂

Now – can I tell you about this Chocolate Birthday Cake? I have a feeling you’re going to love it.

why you should make this chocolate birthday cake

Aside from the fact that chocolate is everyone’s favourite birthday cake? Let me break it down for you:

• this is a one-bowl chocolate cake wonder. I gave the mise en place a pass this time and weighed everything directly into the mixing bowl – it worked a treat!

• the cake uses buttermilk to create a super tender crumb. This is for two reasons: a) the acidity slows down the formation of gluten, giving us a softer texture, and b) the acidity reacts with the raising agents to give great structure and height! Basically, buttermilk is ideal for cakes.

• for a more concentrated chocolate flavour, the base of this chocolate birthday cake uses cocoa powder. And, to kick it up another notch, I’ve added strong coffee into the mix. Don’t worry, you won’t taste the coffee, it just adds to the chocolate flavour.

• the chocolate fudge frosting! This is the same frosting from my Buttermilk Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting and it is our favourite cake topping of all time. It’s ridiculously light and airy, while still being super chocolatey and creamy. Honestly – it’s a dream.

• this recipe produces two very tall and very flat layers – ideal for building cakes! To ensure your cakes come out tall and flat: do not open the oven within the first 30-minutes of baking, and make sure to leave to cool in the tin for 15-minutes after baking.

how to make chocolate birthday cake

This is my very favourite type of cake to make: the unfussy kind. In fact, it’s so unfussy that I didn’t bother taking step-by-step photos! I’ll talk you through it real quick. Are you ready?

• preheat the oven, and grease + flour two 7-inch cake tins.

• to make the cake, weigh all of the dry ingredients directly into a sieve placed over a large bowl; whisk.

• add all of the remaining cake ingredients; whisk.

• divide the batter between the two tins – there should be about 3 cups in each – and bake for 35-40 minutes.

• while the cakes cool, make the frosting. Set the chocolate to melt over a water bath. While it melts, beat all of the other ingredients together with an electric whisk. When the chocolate is melted, add it to the other ingredients, and beat together.

• cut each of the cakes in two and stack them up with equal amounts of frosting between each layer. Use whatever frosting you have left to frost the outside.

That’s all there is to it! I know you can do this without step by step photos.

I hope you bake it and I hope you love it! Thank you for following along with my baking adventures – I appreciate you being here!

Happy birthday, Passionate Baker! xo

5 from 2 votes

Chocolate Birthday Cake

My ideal chocolate birthday cake: tender buttermilk chocolate cake, lathered in light-as-air chocolate fudge frosting.
P R E P15 minutes
C O O K40 minutes
T O T A L1 hour 5 minutes
Yield: 10 people
Author: Vicki @ Passionate Baker


for the cake

  • 250 g plain flour
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50 g cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup strong coffee, cooled
  • 120 g salted butter, melted & cool

for the frosting

  • 85 g unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 255 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 170 g salted butter, at room temp
  • 45 g full fat milk
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract


for the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 175°C. Grease and dust the inside of with two 7-inch cake tins with cocoa powder; set aside. 
  • Sift all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine. Add all of the remaining ingredients, and mix with a whisk until homogenous.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the cake tins & bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out just clean; leave to cool in the tins for 15-minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

for the frosting

  • Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a medium saucepan filled with a few inches of simmering water (not touching) melt. Once melted, set aside.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric whisk to combine the icing sugar, butter, milk, & vanilla. Pour the melted chocolate into the bowl & beat until the frosting is smooth & light brown in color, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

to assemble

  • Using a serrated knife, cut each of the cake layers in half, giving you four even thin layers.
  • Place one layer of cake directly onto the cake stand, spread a layer of frosting smoothly across the top of the layer – I used 2 tablespoons between each layer – , and repeat until you've used up all the layers.
  • Spread a thin layer of frosting all around the cake, place the whole thing in the fridge for 15-minutes ( the crumb coat ), and then it comes out use the remaining frosting to properly frost the outside of the cake. Serve at room temp!

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to know! Please leave a comment & a rating below, or tag me on Instagram @imvcki. Thank you so much for supporting Passionate Baker!

other birthday cake ideas:

Vanilla Birthday Cake
Indulgent Chocolate Cake
Strawberry & Cream Naked Cake

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