chocolate birthday cake

Short and sweet today. I baked myself a chocolate cake because milestones should always be accompanied by chocolate. And cake.

Yes, it’s a big birthday! 

This is a foolproof cake, with a fine, moist crumb and an old-fashioned taste that’s kind of devilish.

The cake will be have an even better texture if the layers are wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature, for one day before frosting and serving.


chocolate birthday cake


  • For Cake:
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • For Chocolate Ganache Topping:
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 9-inch cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Put the cocoa powder in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over; stir until smooth and let cool.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
  4. In a heavy-duty mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium-high speed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 separate additions, alternating with the cocoa.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans; bake 30 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when touched in the center. Cool in the pan 20 minutes, then gently turn out and cool completely on a rack. The cakes can be made up to 2 days ahead; wrap in plastic and store at room temperature.
  6. To make the ganache topping, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil then pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until the chocolate melts and the ganache is completely smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  7. To assemble the cake, spread the ganache over one cake and place the other cake on top. Spread the top with more ganache.


  1. Eileen Blanchard says:

    Happy 26th Birthday Karen ! All milestones deserve CHOCOLATE!
    I love your blog and your recipes.
    Wishing you many more chocolate days !

  2. Well, it is a beautiful cake, a beautiful image, and I hope you have a beautiful day. Happy Birthday!

  3. Happy Birthday! The advantage of making your own birthday cake is that you can get just what you want. Enjoy!

  4. Shirley D says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen! My birthday cake is also ALWAYS chocolate! Enjoy the day …

  5. Elynn and leah says:

    Happy 29th Birthday! Hope you enjoyed the cake! Thanks again for sharing your recipes.

  6. Happy birthday to you, Karen! I’m so happy to know that we share a birthday. I also made a chocolate cake (one spiked with red wine) but I have yet to post it. Late as usual. I hope you had a wonderful day. Abbracci, D

  7. Happy Birthday, Friend! You are muchly missed!

  8. Many thanks for the good wishes, friends! You made my day. Yes, 29 years feels great!

  9. Happiest of birthdays! This cake sounds like an excellent way to celebrate. 🙂

  10. chocolate perfection, Karen! good for you for treating yourself…as wives & moms, so often we put ourselves on the back burner. you’ve inspired me to bake myself a cake for my next bday too! many happy returns of the day & enjoy the holiday season! thank you for the joy you bring others with your blog!

  11. Hope your day was wonderful, this cake is simply perfect for a birthday!

  12. Hi Karen!! Belated Happy Birthday!! Hope you had a blast. Anyway, thanks for sharing your cake. I just realized that this recipe has no egg in it. First time I encountered such recipe. Thanks and Happy Birthday again.

  13. happy belated birthday.. and what a cake to celebrate with. this chocolate cake is stunning!

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