Double Chocolate Birthday Cake

I was delighted when I was asked to make my niece Sahara’s very first birthday cake! Mum left it completely up to me and I spent the next week sifting through design ideas and recipes. I soon settled on a fondant covered cake and not long after picked a classic chocolate cake recipe. I can’t remember the last time I made a chocolate cake, when I first started baking Chocolate seemed to be they only flavour I desired but now I find my preference leaning towards the more fruity varieties but who doesn’t love a good chocolate cake?

Next was the cake design. I knew early on I didn’t want to go with a ‘pink’ theme. It bothers me at times just how much little girls are drowned in the colour. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gorgeous colour and I am a fan (owning lots of pink things myself) but little girls seem to be constantly bombarded with it. I went to a baby shower for a baby girl recently and seemed to be the only person who didn’t wrap their present in pink paper! Does this bother anyone else?! Anyhoo, after much searching I decided on a cake design inspired by Sunshine1102.

I made fondant icing for the first time with this cake. I must say it worked wonderfully, tasted better and cost a lot less then the store bought variety. I went for a ‘Marshmallow Fondant’ which is extremely easy: essentially you just melt the marshmallows and slowly add icing (confectioner’s) sugar until you reach a moldable, rollable consistency your happy with. I made my fondant the day before needed but I think next time I will make it at the time required, I found it a little hard to get back to a moldable consistency. It had gone hard and required a few zapps in the microwave to soften it back up again. It was no big deal really, but I loved how soft and perfect it was when freshly made.

Chocolate Cake

Recipe adapted from

  • 1 3/4 cups plain (all-purpose flour)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line 2x 20cm (8-inch) round cake pans with baking paper.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl and whisk until combined. In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients to the wet. Then add the coffee and stir until just combined. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  3. Place 1 layer on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, bottom side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Cover with Marshmallow fondant if using.

Rina’s Chocolate Frosting

I did a cake decorating course a couple of years ago. Our teacher, Rina had some fantastic recipes which she shared with us. This is her chocolate frosting recipe.

Makes enough to cover 1 double cake or 2 regular cakes.

  • 6-8 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
  • 4 very heaped tbs of cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 eggs
  • 500g (1.1 pound) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3tbs of strong freshly made coffee, cooled
  1. Add eggs, butter, coffee and cocoa powder to a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until combined.
  2. Beat in 1 cup of icing sugar to the butter mixture at a time until the desired consistency is reached. This mixture can be frozen.

Marshmallow Fondant

Click here to see the guidelines I followed for the Marshmallow Fondant.

22 comments to Double Chocolate Birthday Cake

  • This is such a cute cake design Susan. And the actual chocolate cake looks so moist and yummy, expecially that big frosting layer in the middle! You are really good at fondant decorating. Happy Birthday Sahara!

  • What an adorable cake! You did a fantastic job. I’d love to try making fondant one of these days.

  • Susan, congrats on a gorgeous cake. That is just the cutest thing EVER! What a great aunt you are. I agree about blue or pink…I tend to stick to green and yellow for anything baby just not to put a label.

  • Vonnie

    So cute, looks tasty with all that chocolate icing as well… very clever!

  • You’re soo creative!!! I made my daughter’s cake using homemade marshmallow fondant, too. I was nowhere as creative with the design, though! I am sure your niece was immensely happy! Happy birthday to her :)

  • Susan,

    Cake looks beautiful love it. You are creative i love the way you decorated. I wish you are my neighbor, so I can ask birthday cake for my daughter.

  • Wow., now that’s one seriously lovely cake Susan, so much detail & the colours are fabulous.

  • I love the cake Susan. Looks so cut! You’re very creative. I espcially love how you decorated the cakes. Wish we lived coser so I can enjoy this :)

    Have a great week ahead.

  • This cake is adorable. I really want to take some time to learn how to work with fondant.

  • A gorgeous cake, wow! The fondant decorations are just adorable!

  • This might be…no IS…the CUTEST CAKE EVER! You did such an amazing job. Gorgeous! Have a happy Monday tomorrow!

  • Oh my goodness…Sahara is going to be spoiled! She is going to need BEAUTIFUL birthday cakes for the rest of her life. This looks too adorable for words…the little bear and the bee…so very cute! And I’m so glad you didn’t do it in pink (I am with you 100 percent!) Thank you for sharing, my dear. I hope you have a good Monday. Let the week begin!

  • That is the most gorgeous cake! I wouldn’t want to eat it it’s so cute.

  • Wow, you made this? It is phenomenal. I don’t think I could ever make anything like that. And I agree, little girls get totally overrun by pink, both my daughters are and it annoys me sometimes.

  • This cake is adorable! I love the colors – it’s just too cute to eat! (But I bet they did anyways!)

  • oh my, that cake is so cute!
    It’s absolutely amazing! I’m jealous of Sahara!

  • I have been MIA and I have really, really missed your blog and how every single thing you make is completely awesome. So cute! :)

  • It is so adorable. Love the bear and the bee! such an amazing job. I really need to learn how to use fondant! :)

  • Wow, this looks incredible. Great job!

  • Achla

    Hey Susan
    I made the same cake with the similar recipe…it looked good until I covered it with the Fondant icing…after I covered….we consumed the cake after 8 hrs and the cake inside had turned rubbery..all the sponginess had just vanished.. :( can you give me some tips on that

  • Amy

    Please can you tell me how deep your 8″ pans were as I usually use three but your cake looks the same size with just two. (If that makes sense..!)
    Thank you

  • Marina

    Your cake looks awesome and whimsical! I made this cake, omitting the eggs for frosting because it was for my husband’s job. Everybody LOVED it….it was gone within the hr. I doubled the recipe and baked in 2 10″ round pans…I didn’t taste it because I’m trying to shed my baby weight and was afraid if I did taste it, I’d be in big trouble! Needless to say, it was a BIG hit…. I used one cup less sugar for both the cake and frosting. Thank you for sharing…..

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