Food / Recipes

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Chocolate Cake

I luckily grew up with a mother who is a great cook.  Every year for our birthday we got to choose our birthday meal and what kind of cake we wanted Mom to make us.  Naturally, I always assumed that homemade cakes were the norm since we never had a store bought cake at home. Nowadays most parties we go to have store bought cakes, but most moms I know work outside of the home and don’t bake.  I never thought much about it until one of the moms at my son’s school recently mentioned needing to order the cake for her child’s upcoming party. Somehow the price came up and I was shocked how much it cost!  So, to help you save some money on that next birthday, I thought I would share this simple and easy cake recipe that anyone could make.  And bonus…it is the most divinely delicious chocolate cake ever!

I actually found this recipe online one day when I was looking for a new chocolate cake recipe.  Our family recipe (my great grandmother Beppy’s), while incredibly tasty, is so moist that it doesn’t do well as a layer cake.  After trying this recipe, I realized it is actually the one listed on back of Hershey’s Cocoa box.  I put my own stamp on it by adding my Gram’s amazing recipe for the coffee flavored Cocoa Mocha Frosting.  The greatest part of these recipes is that you probably have all the ingredients in the house already…so let’s bake!

Cake Ingredients


2 cups sugar

1 ¾ cups all purpose flour

¾ Hershey’s Cocoa

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

½ cup vegetable (or canola) oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.   I know shortening isn’t the healthiest ingredient, but you use so little of it and I tend to get the best baking results with it.

Grease Pans

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.Mix Dry Ingredients

Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.mix in wet ingredients

Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans. Pour into pan

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks.  Cool completely. Frost. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

Cool on racks


3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

1/3 cup cocoa

¼ cup butter (softened)

1 tsp vanilla

Pinch of salt

* Hot coffee

Sift the sugar to get rid of the lumps.  This will make sure you have a nice smooth frosting so don’t skip this step.

Sift sugar

Mix all ingredients together, except coffee.Mix everything but coffee

Add coffee, 1 TBS at a time, until icing is the right consistency – spreadable but not runny (approx 7 TBS).  Place first cake layer on the cake plate.  Place wax paper strips under the edges of the cake.  You will remove this when everything is finished and your plate will look clean. Using an offset knife, spread frosting on the center of the first layer.  Place the second cake layer on top of the first.

Frosting ConsistencyYou may need to do a crumb coat if your cake is crumbly.  Spread frosting on the sides and top in a very thin layer.  Place in the fridge for 15-30  minutes or until totally firm.  This will harden the frosting and keep the cake crumbles from poking through the final layer of frosting.  **You may want to make extra frosting if you are doing a layer cake or have to do a crumb coat.**

Crumb CakeOnce the crumb coat is set, continue frosting the cake with its final layer.  Start with the sides and finish by smoothing the top out in a neat pattern.  Remove the wax paper and place back in the refrigerator for 15 or so minutes to harden the frosting.  Then cover with plastic wrap and (because there is butter in the frosting) store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.  Enjoy!

enjoy a slice