Perfect Birthday Party Cake (With Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting)

Last weekend for Olivia’s third birthday party I made this Perfect Birthday Party Cake. I’ve made a lot of delicious desserts in my day, but this one takes the cake. (Get it? Haha.)

Anyway, I found this recipe and tried it with my sister a few weeks ago for my birthday. And it was awesome. So I made a few improvements, and served it at Liv’s birthday party. It was such a fun time! Steve’s family got snowed in and couldn’t make it, so we called up our friends at the last minute to come eat food and cake with us and I think it was the best birthday party yet! (Which either means we’re really lame or our friends are really cool. I’m going to go ahead and hope it’s the latter.) We even lost power due to the storm, but Liv and all her little friends just kept playing. And reading books by candlelight. And examining the globe collection. It was lovely.

Because Olivia loves Lightning McQueen so much, I wanted to give her a Lightning themed cake. So I found some race car cake toppers online and they were the perfect thing. Although she was a little sad when she saw the cake but couldn’t eat it until her party. I told her she had to wait for her friends to come. So when her first guests arrived, she opened the door for them and then ran over to her cake and said, “My friends are here! Let’s eat my cake!” When she finally got some, I don’t think she was disappointed.

Perfect Birthday Party Cake
Makes one double-layer 9 inch cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup minus 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup hot, strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
In a medium-size bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Sift together with a fork and set aside.
In a liquid measuring cup, pour in 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar. Add milk until you have reached the 3/4 cup mark. Set aside.
With a mixer, beat eggs. Add vinegar and milk, yogurt, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Beat until well combined. Add the dry ingredients in four increments, stirring well between each addition. Add the hot coffee and stir to combine. Add the mini chocolate chips and stir to distribute evenly throughout the batter.
Wrap the sides of each cake pan in a strip of wet cloth (like a torn dishtowel or an old t-shirt.) (This added moisture will help keep your cake from rising so much in the center, so you won’t have to worry about cutting off the rounded cake top.)
Divide your batter between the two prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake layer comes out clean. Let the layers cool completely in their pans before assembling your cake.
Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
  • 2 cups (4 cubes) butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream (plus a little more, if necessary)

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand with an electric mixer), soften the butter on low speed. (Do not turn your mixer on too high or air will get into your frosting and create bubbles.) Once your butter is very maleable, add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, one cup at a time, stirring slowly and thoroughly between each new addition. Add the vanilla and stir. Add the whipping cream and stir on medium for about ten minutes, until frosting is light and fluffy. The longer you go, the more whipped the cream will get, making the frosting that much more delicious.

If it seems that your frosting is too thick and won’t be easily frosted with, add more whipping cream, a Tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.

Assemble your cake with a layer of frosting in the middle, and chocolate sprinkles to top it off!

At the end of her party, I asked Olivia what her favorite part was and she said, “Eating cake.” I think she and I are going to get along just fine.

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