Chocolate Birthday Cake

Today is a very special day in our household!

It’s my dog, Oliver’s 4th birthday. Oliver came into my life at a low point, and he has brought so much joy, love, and laughter into our lives. We really couldn’t imagine life without him. 

 In honor of his birthday, I am sharing my absolute favorite birthday cake recipe. If you have followed me along, you know how much I love cheesecake.

 Cheesecake has always been my choice of cake for my birthday, but last year I decided that it was time to change it up! So I celebrated my 22nd birthday with this amazing chocolate cake!

 This chocolate cake is the only recipe you’ll ever need. If you aren’t a big cream cheese frosting fan, no worries, use your favorite frosting and follow along with the rest of the recipe to assemble it.

 This rich chocolate cake is an oil-based cake which makes it extra moist and the cream cheese frosting helps balance out the sweetness of the cake thanks to the tanginess from the cream cheese. 

Anytime I bake, Oliver always joins me in the kitchen to scope out the situation, and of course to get a little treat. Cream cheese frosting is something he loves and knows that if he looks at me with those beautiful brown puppy eyes, he will get to lick the bowl!

 So Happy Birthday to the best dog in the world, Oliver! 

Come along and celebrate with a slice of this delicious chocolate cake.

 

Chocolate Birthday Cake
Chocolate Birthday Cake -MPM
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Chocolate Birthday Cake
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Ingredients 

Chocolate Cake

  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 cup hot water

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Two 8oz. Packages of cream cheese, room temperature 

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 4 ½ cups of confectioners sugar

  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

  • 1 pinch of salt

  • 1 tablespoon of heavy cream

  • Assorted gel/food coloring

  • Assorted candies

Recipe

Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease two 8-inch cake pans and dust with cocoa powder, set aside.

  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together the oil and both sugars on medium speed for 2 minutes.Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat again. 

  4. With  the mixer on low, carefully add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stop the mixer, and scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl, making sure there aren’t any unmixed pieces. 

  5. With the mixer on low, stream in the hot water. Mix on medium-low until combined.

  6. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack before removing the cakes from their pans.

  7. Once they are cool enough to handle, carefully remove them from the pans and set them on a wire rack while you make the frosting.

Frosting

  1. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. 

  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. 

  3. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes until completely combined and creamy. 

*Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin, more milk if frosting is too thick, or an extra pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. 


Assemble

  1. Take 1 cup of frosting and divided into two small bowls, add your choice of coloring and mix it.

  2. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with non-colored cream cheese frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread remaining non-colored cream cheese frosting on top and around the cake using a bench scraper or spatula.

  3.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Take your cake out of the refrigerator, and apply the colored frosting around the cake using again your icing spatula and bench scraper. Top with your assorted candies, if using. 


Vanilla layered Berry Cake

Unlike most food holidays, the Fourth of July is a day that tends to sneak up on us. People usually resort to their usual BBQ selection with classic potato salads, and ice cream for dessert. This year, on the other hand, I will not let the day go by without preparation; which begins now with some prideful recipes like this Vanilla layered Berry Cake!

Dessert is especially overlooked at BBQ's because it is hot and let's face it, who wants to be indoors when the fun's outside. Over the years I have come to realize that if you go the extra mile to prepare a wonderfully delicious dessert in advance, 9/10 people will eat it and appreciate you for turning on those ovens in 80° weather!

This layered cake is spongy, light, and the perfect canvas for the whipped cream cheese frosting and berries!

 
My Portuguese Mother - Vanilla layered Berry Cake
My Portuguese Mother - Vanilla layered Berry Cake
My Portuguese Mother - Vanilla layered Berry Cake

Ingredients 

Vanilla Cake 

  • 3 and 2/3 cups cake flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 and 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 2 egg whites, room temperature

  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract 

  • 1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

Heavy Cream Frosting 

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 4 oz. cream cheese

  • 2 3/4 cups heavy cream, cold

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 2 cups variety berries, sliced and halved ( such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries)

  • 1 cup sliced pineapple, save the juice for soaking cake

Recipe

Vanilla Cake 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease & line three 8-inch cake pans.

  2. Whisk the cake flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together. Set aside.

  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides, beat in the 3 eggs, 2 egg whites, and vanilla extract until combined. (Mixture will look curdled, don’t worry!)

  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients until just combined. With the mixer running on low speed, pour in the buttermilk, and mix just until combined. Using a whisk or rubber spatula, fold the batter, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl, ensuring there are no lumps. 

  5. Pour batter evenly into pans. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool.

Heavy Cream Frosting 

  1. In a cold mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream, cream cheese, vanilla extract. Add the confectioners' sugar on medium speed until fluffy. 

  2. To assemble, place one of the cooled layers on a cake plate. Using a pastry brush, soak the layer with the pineapple juice. Add a ½ cup of the frosting, roughly spread and top with a ½ cup of the berries and pineapples. Repeat until the last layer. For the top, add the remaining frosting and decorate with berries.