This homemade chocolate birthday cake with frosting recipe tastes like a better version of a box mix cake! It’s super easy to make and there wasn’t a piece leftover. It’s great for an easy birthday cake or any time you’re craving a good old fashioned slice of chocolate cake with frosting, nothing too fussy or too fancy.
Last year I made a banana cake with Greek yogurt frosting for my son Ben’s birthday. This year, I had just had the twins (all three of my kids share a birthday) so it was a month later when we had some family members over for a low-key pizza party for his birthday (we literally ordered pizza, I made a cake, and we called it a day -it was glorious!)
My husband asked if I wanted him to pick up a cake, and I just couldn’t NOT make a cake for him. I wanted to make one, because I remember my mom making a cake for all of our birthdays (I have 3 sisters) so it was something special and a tradition I wanted to carry on.
I looked and I wasn’t finding anything simple, until I found this Barefoot Contessa recipe. I made a few adjustments to make it a little easier (like I didn’t sift the flour and it came out great, but feel free to sift away!)
For cake decorations I just took a few of Ben’s toy dinosaurs and put them on top of the cake and sprinkled some crushed oreos for dirt and put two candles in and called it a day. I LOVED how simple the decorations for a kids cake this was (sticking small toys on top of the cake for decorations) – I’m totally going to do this method for all birthdays going forward!
The cake was GONE, I’m talking not one slice left! It’s so good and I’ll be making this easy homemade chocolate birthday cake with frosting for all birthdays in the future!
Other recipes you might enjoy:
- Chocolate Turtle Chex Mix Recipe
- 5 Ingredient Dessert – Chocolate Cake for Two
- Caramel Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies Recipe
Homemade Chocolate Birthday Cake with Frosting
- For the cake:
- Butter for greasing the pan (or cooking spray)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- ¾ cups cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk shaken (I didn't have any buttermilk so I made some by combining 1 cup milk with juice from half a lemon and letting it sit for 5 minutes)
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup coffee brewed coffee
- For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 16 ounces about 2 cups confectioners sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 3 to 4 tablespoons milk as needed
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate melted and cooled
- Optional toppings for dinosaur decorations: toy dinosaurs and crushed oreos 5-6
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter/spray with cooking spray one 9x13 pan and set aside.
- Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined (or use a hand mixer).
- In another bowl, using a whisk combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 32-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool in pan for 30 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack and completely cool before frosting.
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Combine butter, vanilla and salt in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat until the butter is fluffy, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Add the confectioners' sugar ½ cup at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition. When all the sugar is mixed in, stir in the cocoa powder.
- Add the milk and melted chocolate and beat on high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice, until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Use the frosting immediately or refrigerate it, wrapped in plastic, for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature and re-whip before using.