About a month ago, I was asked by a friend to bake a cake for her daughter’s first birthday party. I’ve made cakes for her two other children in the past–a pink butterfly/flower cake for her eldest daughter and a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for her son–so I was happy to oblige this time around too.

The party was a mix of adults and children, so I thought a chocolate cake would satisfy most. Epicurious has a Double Chocolate Layer Cake wtih more than 1,000 positive reviews–I thought Baby J’s birthday would be the perfect opportunity to try it.

The cake itself was delicious–moist and rich. I ate bits and pieces of it while trying to level the cake prior to layering. I made a classic buttercream frosting (Wilton’s recipe), tinted it lavender and frosted the cake. I piped white flowers all around the top, bottom and center. I tinted turbinado sugar with blue food coloring—it made the raw sugar crystals’ natural beige color turn a pretty aquamarine—and decorated the top outer ring of the cake. Using my Wilton petal tips, I piped small blue flowers around the cake and in the center.

Birthday cake

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take a picture of the sliced cake…nor did I get to eat a piece. I had to leave the party early to go to another baby shower! Booo.

Recipe: Double Chocolate Layer Cake
From Epicurious

  • 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
  • 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans

Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.