Chocolate Birthday Cake

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Ever since I could remember, I have always had cake and a celebration on my birthday. Birthdays were special in our home because it was a way for the extended family to come together to celebrate in addition to eating cake and lots of food.

So, it’s only befitting that for the first post of my blog I share with you my love of cake and birthdays. Birthdays are a great reason to get baking, furthermore with a homemade cake you can show someone you care while celebrating their special day.

“If baking is any labour at all, it’s a labour of love. A love that gets passed from generation to generation” – Regina Brett

All things chocolate

My grand nephew(yes, grand nephew!) celebrated his 8th birthday and of course his grand aunt had to make him the best birthday cake! Since the birthday boy is a chocoholic, he requested for a chocolate cake. So, I decided to bake a moist chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and a surprise filing of Oreos topped with M&Ms.

The secret to getting a moist chocolate cake is buttermilk. Buttermilk is similar to yogurt where it has lactic acid. The moist crumb of this cake is a result of the buttermilk reacting to the baking soda causing carbon dioxide bubbles in the cake batter.

Probably any chocoholic would be in chocolate heaven since this moist chocolate cake is covered with chocolate ganache, filled with Oreos and topped with M&Ms.


  1. Bring all ingredients to room temperature. This is very important because cold ingredients such as butter, eggs andmilk will not whisk or combine well due to varying temperatures.
  2. Cakes can be baked in advanced and frozen. Cover the cakes in cling film and aluminium foil to seal in freshness. Freeze from 2 days up to a week.
  3. Some sites may suggest substituting buttermilk with milk and lemon. Use real buttermilk, don’t substitute.
  4. Refrigerate ganache to get it to a spreadable consistency. If the ganache has hardened in the fridge, bring it to room temperature and whip again.




Chocolate Birthday Cake

Makes: One 8-inch layer cake


Chocolate cake

  • 170 g unsalted butter
  • 400 g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs large
  • 220 g plain flour
  • 100 g cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 320 ml buttermilk
  • 60 ml Greek style yogurt

Chocolate ganache

  • 450 g good quality baking chocolate
  • 450 ml thickened or double cream at least 35% fat content


Chocolate cake

  1. Preheat oven to 170 deg Celsius. Grease and line two 20 cm round baking tins.

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

  3. Combine buttermilk and yogurt. Set aside.

  4. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer till light and fluffy.

  5. Add eggs, one at a time and beat till each is fully mixed in.

  6. While the mixer is on low speed, start adding the sifted dry ingredients and the buttermilk/yogurt. First of all, add the dry ingredients and alternate with buttermilk/yogurt, mixing till just incorporated. It is especially relevant not to over mix the batter as it will result in a tough texture.

  7. Pour batter into prepared cake tins. It is best to weigh each tin for even layers.

  8. Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes. Insert a skewer into the cake to check that it is done. Once it comes out clean, take cakes out of the oven and cool in tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.

  9. If freezing, wrap cakes in cling film and aluminium foil to seal in freshness.

Chocolate ganache

  1. Cut chocolate up into small pieces if you are using a chocolate bar. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.

  2. Place cream into a saucepan and bring to a slow boil over low to medium heat.

  3. Pour hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it stand for 1 minute.

  4. Mix well till all chocolate is melted and you get a glossy texture.

  5. Once completely cooled, refrigerate for 5-10 minutes to thicken.

  6. Whip ganache to a spreadable texture.

Filing and icing cakes

  1. Prepare a small piping bag with a Wilton 1M tip.

  2. Firstly slice the top off the cakes using aknife (if they have domed) to even.

  3. Place one cake layer on a plate or turntable.

  4. Use a spatula to spread ganache on top. Add crushed Oreos (optional) or any other type of biscuit/candy of your choice.

  5. Place another cake layer on top of ganache.

  6. Scoop a large amount of ganache on top of the cake. Start spreading from the centre so that ganache moves to the sides of the cake.

  7. Using the spatula, spread ganache on the sides of the cake.

  8. The first coat of ganache is a crumb coat. Refrigerate the cake for 10-15 min.

  9. Apply another coat of ganache, repeating steps 6 and 7. Smoothen the ganache while holding the spatula perpendicular to the cake and turning the turntable.

  10. Finally, place some ganache in a piping bag and pipe swirls on top of the cake.

  11. Decorate with as much as M&Ms or any other candy as you like (optional).

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