Chocolate Birthday Cake

chocolate birthday cake - trust in kim

In searching for a chocolate cake recipe online I stumbled across a Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe several times, and everyone seemed to love it.  Since the birthday girl requested chocolate cake, “the kind I had when I was a kid, with really chocolatey icing,” this seemed like the way to go.  And the birthday girl was pleased – she said it was exactly what she had in her mind of that childhood cake. Yay! I love it when things work out that way.  

And – it’s a pretty easy recipe. I found it here, but it’s from the Hershey’s website.  Besides adding extra instructions, the only thing I changed was that I used melted butter in the cake, while the original recipe called for canola oil.  I thought the butter would add more flavour, and I think I was right, but I’ve never made it the other way to be able to compare.  But come on – it’s butter! It’s gotta taste better!

What you need for the cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 &1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter, cooled slightly
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

What you do for the cake:

  1. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add the egg, milk, butter and vanilla.  Mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Stir in the boiling water to make a runny batter.
  4. Pour into the prepared pans.  Give the pans a light tap on the counter before placing them in the oven to get rid on any large air bubbles.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, testing with a toothpick to see if it is done.
  6. Run a very sharp knife around the edge of the cake pans after the cakes have sat for a few minutes, then invert the cakes onto wire racks and remove the pans.  Let the cakes cool completely before adding the frosting.

What you need for about 2 cups of icing:

  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk

What you do for the frosting:

  1. Melt the butter then stir in the cocoa and vanilla.
  2. Alternately add some of the sugar and milk on medium speed until it is a good consistency for spreading.  I needed to add a little extra milk to get it to the right consistency.
  3. Frost your cake, then refrigerate it for a few hours before serving.

chocolate cake -trust in kim


The website also gives these options for different kinds of cakes: 

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.

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. 

Bundt Cake: Grease and flour a 12-cup fluted tube 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. 

Cupcakes: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper baking cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. 

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake – Gluten Free!

chocolate olive oil cake - trust in kim


A little while ago I made this delicious cake, and then the other day my mom said she had made a new cake recipe I had to try – and it happened to be this one.  Mine was the almond-meal version, and my mom made the wheat flour version, and both were amazing. I made it for a dinner party, topped with brandied cherries and whipping cream, and she served it on its own, which was great too.

People loved that it was light and not too sweet, but still nice and chocolatey.  And if it helps, you can remember that olive oil is healthy fat.  Plus, if it makes you happy, it’s doing something good for you.  Just try to share it.

Thank you Nigella Lawson for the recipe!

What you need:

5 tablespoons boiling water

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 & 1/2 cups almond meal (or 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

2/3 cup olive oil

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 325F.  Prepare a 9-inch springform pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper.  (My mom made hers in a square dish with no parchment paper and cut it out brownie-style, so that works too.)

2. In a small bowl pour the boiling water over the cocoa and mix; then add the vanilla.

3. Combine the sugar, eggs and olive oil in a large bowl.  Beat on high speed until the batter is fluffy and a light yellow colour.  Beat in the cocoa mixture.

4. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt and add them to the batter, beating just until combined.  Pour the batter into the pan.

5. Bake for about 50 minutes, at which time a toothpick that you insert into the centre of the cake should come out clean.

6. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and release the cake from the springform. Place on a rack to cool completely, removing the parchment paper before serving.

I served mine with cherries and whipping cream.

For the cherries and cream:

1 cup morello cherries in juice, not pre-thickened (I used Trader Joe’s).

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup brandy

pinch of salt

a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice

125mL whipping cream

1 tablespoon-ish icing sugar

a splash of vanilla

What you do:

1. Heat the cherries (just use the cherries, not the juice), butter, brown sugar and brandy in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for a few minutes, until slightly thickened.  Then add the salt and lemon juice. Let this cool.

2. Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla.

3. Just before serving top the cake with cherries, add the whipping cream on top, and then serve it up.  Like mine, it’s likely to be gone before you know it!

German Chocolate Cake

trust in kim - german chocolate cake

I made this beautiful cake for my good friend Angela’s birthday this weekend.  It’s moist and chocolatey, and the topping is nutty and sweet without being too sweet.  It got rave reviews at the party, and several requests for the recipe, so here it is!  Apparently the true name is German’s Chocolate Cake, which comes from the U.S., not Germany.  All  I know is… yum! I just used semi-sweet instead of sweet chocolate.

If you don’t want to make a German Chocolate Cake, you could use the cake recipe and make a different frosting – it’s a good moist cake.

I got this recipe from an amazing cake book  that I’m working my way through, and loving every recipe so far: All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray.  And my friend Justin Cathcart took the beautiful photo.

What you need:

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup boiling water

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

For the filling and topping:

1 & 1/3 cups pecans (plus 5-6 nice halves for a garnish)

1 & 3/4 cups coconut, unsweetened

1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup water

3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

What you do:

1.  Put the chocolate in a bowl, pour in the boiling water and stir until the chocolate has dissolved.

2. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed.

3. Cream the butter, then gradually add the sugar.

4. Add the egg yolks and beat thoroughly.

5.  Beat in the chocolate and vanilla.

6. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Add half of it to the batter and mix in.  Add half the buttermilk and mix in.  Repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk.

7.  Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.

8.  Pour the batter into 8 or 9-inch round pans that have been lined with parchment paper rounds.

9. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake sit in the pans for 10 minutes before removing.  Then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack.  Let them cool before frosting.

10. For the topping grind the pecans and coconut in a food processor until it is moderately chopped.

11. Put the condensed milk, water, and egg yolks in a double boiler.  Stir until it thickens.  When it has thickened, add the butter and vanilla, continuing to stir.  Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts. (I didn’t let mine thicken enough, so I put it in the fridge to thicken before I used it.

12. When the cake is cooled place one layer on a plate and spread half the topping over the top.  Put the other layer on, and spread the rest of the topping onto that.  Garnish with some pecan pieces.

You could also add a chocolate frosting around the sides of the cake it you want to sweeten it up a bit or make it fancier.

Chocolate Rum Birthday Cake

I made this for my dad’s birthday the other day.  I wasn’t sure how the kids would like it because of the rum, but it was a hit with them too.  It’s safe, though, because the baking process removes most of the alcohol.

I found the recipe years ago in a magazine, calling for strong coffee rather than rum.  I’ve been making it that way for years, and recently tried it with rum – they’re both great!

What you need:

2/3 cup flour

2/3 cup cocoa, sifted

1/2 tsp salt

5 eggs, separated

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 & 1/4 cups sugar, divided

2/3 cup rum (or strong coffee)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the icing:

2 cups whipping cream

1/2 cup cocoa, sifted

1/2 cup granulated sugar

What you do:

1.  Prepare two 8-inch round pans by lining the bottoms with parchment paper or wax paper.  Cut them into circles so they fit right in the bottom of the pans.  Don’t grease the sides of the pan – the cake needs to be able to cling to the sides of the pan so it can rise properly.  This is why I prefer to use pans that don’t have a non-stick coating.  Preheat the oven to 325F.

2.  Combine flour, cocoa and salt.

3.  In a large bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar, then gradually beat in 1/2 cup of the sugar.  Beat until stiff peaks form and set aside.

4.  Beat the egg yolks and the other 3/4 cup of sugar until it turns very light in colour.  Stir in the rum and vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients.

5.  Fold the mixture into the egg whites.

6.  Pour the batter into the pans, then bake immediately for 35-40 minutes.  Test the cake with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean.  If not, it needs a few more minutes.

7.  After removing from the oven, allow cakes to rest for 10 minutes.  Then run a knife around the edge and invert onto wire racks to cool.

8.  To make the icing, place the ingredients in a large bowl and give it a bit of a stir.  Refrigerate for at least an hour, then beat until stiff.  Ice the cake, then refrigerate before serving.  This one is best served straight out of the fridge so the whipping cream doesn’t get too soft.

Don’t forget the candles!