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CHOCOLATE BIRTHDAY CAKE. A decadent 3-layer chocolate cake surrounded with the most luxurious rich chocolate frosting. Perfect for any occasion.

Chocolate Birthday Cake

  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 16


A decadent, 3-layer chocolate cake surrounded with the most luxurious, rich chocolate frosting.


Ingredients for cake:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 2 & 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 & 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Ingredients for buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp warm water
  • 1 & 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 & 1/2 pounds (about 4 & 1/2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and line three 9″ round cake pans.
  2. Sift cocoa into a medium bowl. Stir in the boiling water and half of the milk, gently whisk until smooth and add remaining milk. Set aside to cool.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat butter for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy, gradually beat in sugar and vanilla. Then mix in eggs, one third at a time.
  5. With the mixer on low, add the flour and cocoa mixture a little at a time in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour. Beat until just combined.
  6. Divide batter among the 3 prepared pans, smooth tops with an offset spatula and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake. Sit pans on wire racks to cool for 15 minutes, then turn out cakes onto the wire racks to cool completely. Trim tops of cake layers to level before frosting.

For the frosting:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and warm water until all of the cocoa is dissolved.Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and salt until pale and fluffy.
  2. Slowly beat in melted chocolate and then cocoa solution until smooth and what you’ll get is a lovely dark, glossy and rich chocolate frosting. It will be hard not to put your face in the bowl.
  3. Spread about 1/3 of frosting between each layer and spread the remainder of the frosting on top and sides of cake.


I had made my cake the day before and refrigerated it overnight, so the frosting had hardened and lightened up as you can see in the initial pictures. I took the cake out just before my guests started to arrive and by the time the it was ready to be served after dinner, the frosting softened back to its original dark and glossy form.

  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: chocolate cake recipe, chocolate layer cake, chocolate frosting recipe