Birthday Celebration for Two!

Last night we celebrated our kids birthdays since they weren’t in Colorado during either of theirs this summer.  I love to bake something special for their birthdays so I asked each one what they wanted. 

My son who turned 25 on the 17th of August had been traveling in China.  He said he wanted something very chocolaty and would also love some Mocha Chip Cookies if I’d be willing to make them.  My daughter who turned 22 on the 1st of August was attending summer school in Boston and didn’t want a chocolate cake at first but changed her mind and decided on a one that she originally wanted last year.  Instead at the last minute we ended up making the Butterfinger Cake which was delicious but not so chocolaty.

Of course I wanted to make something super spectacular like a multi-layered sponge, devils food and raspberry mousse cake but opted for what my children requested.  After all, it was their celebration!

To please them both, I made the Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting that my daughter craved and was also very chocolaty, along with Chocolate Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies that my son requested.  Both were extremely rich, satisfying and quick to prepare, which was fantastic since I made both yesterday.

Be sure to pace yourself otherwise, you’ll get a belly-ache!

Below is the Chocolate Buttermilk Cake recipe.
The recipe which came from Donna Hay Magazine issue 50, called for an 18cm round cake pan which equates to a 7″ cake pan.  I already had one 7″ springform pan but ended up purchasing another one to make the prep work go quicker. At first when I looked at the size of the pan I thought it would be too small, but was I wrong.  With the cake so incredibly rich, a thin slice is all you can take.

The photo at the top of this page was taken from the magazine.  Below is the one I made.  Since I still haven’t perfected my food photography skills I felt it best to share a professional photo first.  However, my cake really did look like the photo above except maybe I didn’t pipe my icing quite as nice or shoot the cake in ideal lighting!

What’s your favorite birthday cake?

Chocolate Buttercream Cake 
serves 6-8


  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • 125g butter (8 tablespoons), chopped
  • 1/3 cup (35g) cocoa, sifted
  • 2 cups (300g) unbleached flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
  • 2 cups (440g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • chocolate cream cheese frosting
  • 100g butter (7 tablespoons), softened
  • 500g (16 ounces), cream cheese
  • 2 cups (320g) icing (confectioners) sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa, sifted


Preheat oven to 160C (325F degrees). Place the water, butter and cocoa in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the butter has melted.

Place the flour, baking soda and sugar in a bowl, add the cocoa mixture and whisk to combine. Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Divide mixture between 2 lightly greased 18cm (7″) round cake tins lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 40–45 minutes or when tested with a skewer it comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

While the cake is baking, make the cream cheese frosting. Place the butter and cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 6–8 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add the icing (confectioners) sugar and cocoa and beat for an additional 6–8 minutes or until light and fluffy.

To assemble, slice the cakes in half horizontally. It’s best to use a serrated knife when slicing the cake in half.  If you have a turntable this will make it very easy. Place one cake layer on a plate and spread with one quarter of the frosting. Repeat with remaining layers and frosting.

I hope you enjoy this lusciously moist, rich cake.  Oh and for the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies, I’ll post those later this week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. What nice treats for your kids’ birthdays! The Chocolate Buttermilk Cake sounds and looks amazing!

  2. It was, although very rich!

  3. Oh, Vicki this is FABULOUS! I love the cake and the way your frosted it! Happy Birthday to your children – what adventurous lives they lead!

    My favorite birthday cake is a Hot Fudge Sundae with Bananas. I always opt for ice-cream….since hubby wouldn’t even know where to FIND the cake pans – I’d rather go out for ice-cream than have him buy a cake at the grocery store…

  4. Oh Ann that sounds like something I’d love as well. There’s a famous frozen custard place here in town called Ted Drewes and whenever we go I get just that. A hot fudge sundae with bananas. it’s so good!

  5. This looks devilishly delicious. I can feel the pounds going on now.

  6. You should try being me right now. I ate it!

  7. Now that’s the kind of cake I’d love for my birthday! It looks luscious, with that gorgeous frosting. 🙂

  8. Such a beautiful and rich decadent chocolate cake for you children’s birthday!
    I copied, pasted, and printed out this droolworthy recipe! Love the 4layers piled up so high:DDD

    Vicki, just this moment UPS knocked on my door to drop the package off…yeayyy! Got the sweet, and amazing watermelon knife!
    Will take photo of it, and mention it in my next post to link back to you. Thank you so much for the giveaway gift!

  9. I love layered cakes like this, my favorite is Ricotta filled… but this one would be most welcomed!

  10. @scrambledhenfruit – It is delicious and gone already. Please try it. It’s very simple to make.

    @Elisabeth – I hope you enjoy the cake and your watermelon knife!

    @Pegasuslegend – Ooh please share your Ricotta filled layer cake. That sounds heavenly!

  11. Mmm – this sounds delicious! The chocolate cream cheese frosting seems like it would be amazing and your picture looks just as great as the nice one at the top to me. 😉


  12. You’re so sweet Rosie. I think I need to work a bit on my photography but maybe if I’d had a blue backboard it might have looked a bit more appealing. However, it tasted amazing and yes the chocolate cream cheese frosting was terrific!

  13. What a fantastic cake! A very Happy Birthday to both your son and daughter!

  14. @Magic of Spice – thank you. It was a nice celebration and a yummy cake. It didn’t last long.

Leave a Comment »