Beth's Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe

chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe on a marble cake stand with frosting

Homemade Birthday Cakes hold a special place in my heart. And if you ask me the more "imperfect" they are the more perfect they tend to be πŸ™‚ You can read my blog post for The Inspired Home website on the subject here.

Three layer Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe with beeswax candles

I love this Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe for all the right reasons. It's easy, takes minimal skill, is rich and chocolatey, and best of all the frosting is not too sweet. (Is it me or has American Birthday Cake frosting hit an all-time insane level of sweetness?!)

For a step-by-step video tutorial, you can watch the video below! Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and never miss a recipe! It's free! πŸ™‚

chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe

Beth's Chocolate Birthday Cake

Yield: serves 8-10
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

I love this Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe for all the right reasons. Β It's easy, takes minimal skill, is rich and chocolatey, and best of all the frosting is not too sweet.


  • 2 oz (56 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup (100g) unsweetened Cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot water
  • 2 ΒΌ cups (450g) of sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla
  • 1 ΒΌ cup (150g) of flour
  • 1 Β½ (7.5 ml) teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking soda


  • 2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 1 cup (100 g) powdered sugar
  • Β½ cup (50 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Β½ teaspoon (7.5 ml) vanilla
  • ΒΌ-Β½ cup (60ml-120ml) of milk


  • Gold sprinkles
  • Birthday Candles


  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175 C) degrees.
  2. Spray three 9” (23 cm) cake pans with cooking spray for baking. Then line each pan with a circle of parchment paper, and spray the paper.
  3. In a large heat-safe bowl, add the 2 oz (56 g) of chocolate. Add the cocoa powder and then the hot boiling water, whisk to combine. Chocolate will melt as you whisk.
  4. Add the sugar, whisk to combine. Then add the oil, whisk to combine. At this point, the batter is cool enough to add the eggs without scrambling Add eggs one at a time and whisk until smooth. Add the vanilla and set aside.
  5. In a smaller bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture in thirds to the chocolate mixture, stirring gently with a wire whisk until combined.
  6. Pour batter into the pans. Filling each one β…“ of the way full. Tap on counter to release air bubbles.
  7. Bake for 22-25 mins, or until a long toothpick or skewer comes out clean.
  8. Allow cakes to cool and then release them from the pans onto cooling racks. Remove the parchment paper.
  9. To make frosting whip all ingredients (EXCEPT MILK) with an electric mixer on high speed. Until frosting forms soft but slightly stiff peaks. Then thin with milk ¼ cup at a time until desired consistency.
  10. Transfer 1st layer to cake stand with the cake lifter or large spatula.
  11. Dollop ¾ cup of frosting in the center and smooth with an offset spatula just to the edge.
  12. Place the second layer on top and repeat, and then third and final layer and repeat. Create nice swirls with the offsets spatula for a decorative finish.
  13. Sprinkle top with gold sprinkles and top with birthday candles.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 200mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 7g

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  1. The recipe looks absolutely delicious. However, I would like to know, how can I alter the recipe for Dutch processed cocoa powder. Should I use the same amount of baking powder instead?

    1. Yes exactly, replace the baking soda for baking powder if using Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder πŸ™‚ Hope you enjoy the cake! It's one of my favorites too!

  2. Hello Beth, thanks for this recipe, so lately been trying it out, either it comes out in a dome shape or it over flows out of the pan in the middle of baking...what could be the cause of this? Where am i going wrong?

    1. Hmm it sounds like your pan is too small. I used 9" round pans. So if you are still having trouble with 9" try 10". To prevent doming try it at a lower temperature too. Maybe 325F and bake for longer. That will help too!

  3. Beth, this was literally the best cake I've ever eaten. Thank you o much! I made this for my sister's birthday and it was such a hit. One quick cake question, this cake was (as you said) very delicate, so it was very hard to get it out of the pan without it crumbling, and then transfer the whole cake onto a stand. Any tips?

    Thanks again for all of the awesome recipes!


    1. Oh sure cakes are more delicate the warmer they are. So I would allow it to cool completely and then pop it in the fridge for 30 mins. It should be more stable to release after it has a chance to firm up a bit πŸ™‚ Hope that helps!! And so glad everyone enjoyed it!!

  4. I only have 2 of the 9" cake pans, do I need to purchase an additional one to make it 3 like you have in the video? Would love to make this for my daughter's bday. Always enjoy your recipes.

    1. Oh sure no prob, you can just make it a 2 layer cake, it will still be delicious! You may just need to bake them a bit longer maybe 7-10 mins more? So glad you enjoy the recipes! Happy Birthday to your daughter!

  5. Thank you for this recipe. I just wanted to know can I make this cake one day ahead and store it in the fridge ( in an air tight container ) ?

    1. Oh sure this cake does quite well in the fridge the day before. Just take out about 30 mins or so before serving so that it has a chance to come up to room temp before serving. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

  6. This cake looks delicious and i would like to make it for my husband birthday. Can this cake be made ahead ? Like a day before

    1. oh yes of course. It does quite well in the fridge the day before. Just remove 30 mins before serving to allow it to come up to room temperature πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  7. The cake turned out great. I used half the amount of sugar and it was just right.
    Thank you for such a excellent recipe!

    1. YAY! So glad it was a hit! πŸ™‚ And also good to know it still holds up when reducing the sugar πŸ™‚

  8. Morning Beth, a blessed week for you.

    I had some cake question. I hope you can give me some tips.

    My aunt is sick and has requested me to bake a cake for her b-day. On my island there is traditional cake called bolo di cashupete (cake of cashews or cashew cake) that is simply a yellow/white vanilla cake that is covered with a cream of condensed milk and cashew cooked on the stove. I find that the cake should also taste to cashews and not just decorated with the cream.

    So my question to you is if i want to incorporate chopped cashew in the batter should i cover them with flour as you do for raisins or other fruits for it not to go to the bottom? Or is there another technique?

    Also if i would like to moist the cake not only with simple syrup but also liquer what type of liquer would you recomend to use that would be close to a cashew or nut flavor?

    Thanks in advance for your tips.

    Greetings from Curacao!!!!

    1. Oh wow Curarcao I'd love to visit there some day πŸ™‚ OK so to answer your questions. I wouldn't think you wouldn't need to toss the nuts in flour, since they aren't as heavy as raisins so you wouldn't need to worry about them sinking to the bottom as much. As for liqueur, I think this would be a great idea and I would add either Amaretto for a nice almond flavor or Frangelico for a nuttier Hazelnut flavor. Both would be delicious πŸ™‚

      1. Beth.
        Your instructions, if I'm reading correctly start with grease two cake pans. Is there enough batter for 3 layers?

        1. Oh yes so sorry that was just a typo! I just fixed that πŸ™‚ 3 layers is what the batter makes πŸ™‚ So sorry for the confusion!