Simple Chocolate Birthday Cake

November 12, 2016
Simple Chocolate Birthday Cake - An everyday cake that you might not make everyday. Filled with chocolate, moist, easy to make, and delicious to eat.

From piles of leaves to birthday cake testing to Thanksgiving recipes dotting the kitchen counter, a few things that have been happening in our world ..



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Cooking – Soup; lots and lots of soup.  It seems lately there are so many people we know and love, who we've either taken a meal to or tucked one away in the freezer for.  A neighbor home from Europe with a terrible case of viral pneumonia.  Extended family fighting cancer.  Something for the kids; a meal from mom to warm up on a chilly winter's night.

Sipping – Lots of Hot Apple Cider

Weekly Lesson in Humility – “Grandma, I was a ghost for Halloween!”

“Really?  I wish I was there

“You would've been scared Grandma; you're not as brave as Pappa and me”   #twoagainstone

Guilty Pleasures – Cooking magazines in November

Asking and Answering – “What are you doing for the holidays?”

Looking Forward To – My brother and sister-in-law will be home this year (the first Thanksgiving in, I can't remember how long, that my parents won't be traveling to Austin).  We'll be cooking, playing cards, playing pool, and catching up

Simple Chocolate Birthday Cake - An everyday cake that you might not make everyday. Filled with chocolate, moist, easy to make, and delicious to eat.


Reminded – This week of how just how hard your twenties can be.  When you're still figuring yourself out, starting a career, learning the art of saying yes, and also saying no.  To the sweet soul for whom we chatted, I wish I'd have thought of it at the moment, but some food for thought from Brene Brown.

“What would you say to your twenty-five-year-old self?”

“All the pleasing and proving and perfecting what you're doing is getting in the way of what you're supposed to be doing.  You will never live the life you want to live without disappointing other people.  You'll need to choose now.

Your thirties are notoriously difficult of this.  You think ‘I can be me and be authentic and make everyone around me happy.'

And this is the gift of mid-life.  The gift of mid-life is ‘something's gotta go, and for the first time in your life you're like, and it ain't gonna be me' ”     ~ Brene Brown via Chase Jarvis Live

Milestones Reached –  The puppies are finally potty trained(!)  Retired to the basement are the baby gates and kennels.

Realizing – Even a king size bed isn't big enough for two people, three dogs, and a couple of kitty cats

Admitting – How truly tough the past few months have been.  Two puppies proved a far greater challenge than we'd ever dreamed.

Forgotten – The season when the kids were little.  How dark the nights could be; how long they seemed to stretch.  How heavy a baby's head feels on your arm during a 3 am feeding (or how exhausting moonlight trips to the backyard with a playful puppy can be).  I'd forgotten until I'd doze off, blink, then hear a whimper and mobilize for the routine all over again.

The night seemed endless, until at 5:30 am when the sun began to rise.  How comforting was the light, the realization that the day has begun, and you're no longer the only one

Pursuing – Therapy Dog Certification .. for both Harry and Sally.  We've had several people tell us they would be great candidates and have started along the training path.

Simple Chocolate Birthday Cake - An everyday cake that you might not make everyday. Filled with chocolate, moist, easy to make, and delicious to eat.

Excited For – My grandson's first birthday this weekend

I'm in charge of the cake, so this week I've been experimenting.

It's occasions like this that are fun to experiment with new recipes.  For his mom's baby shower, I brought a masterpiece, the most incredible chocolate beet cake you've ever laid eyes on.  Everyone tried it, told me it tasted expensive, and moved on.

Lessons learned

This recipe is far more traditional.  It's not a multi-layered, out-of-the-ordinary ingredient, or fancy chocolate cake.  Instead, it's simple and relatively unassuming.  An everyday cake that you might not make every day.

It's filled with chocolate, moist, easy to make, and delicious to eat.  It doesn't have sugar in the cake or frosting, and whole wheat pastry flour stands in for more traditional all-purpose.  A generous slashing of whipped chocolate cream frosting to top it off

A note about the cake:  You'll want to refrigerate any leftovers.  As the cake chills, the texture will become truffle-like.  At room temp, it will have a more crumb-like texture.  Similarly, the frosting will set as it chills but stays billowy and light at room temp



~ Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Simple Chocolate Birthday Cake


  • Chocolate Cake
  • 2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, barely melted
  • 1 cup maple syrup, at room temp
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut milk, room temp
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, shaved or finely chopped

  • Whipped Chocolate Cream Frosting
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¼ cup butter, at room temp
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks


  • Chocolate Cake
  • Preheat oven to 350° F degrees. Butter and flour an 8x8 square cake pan
  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and sea salt into a large bowl.
  • In a separate medium bowl whisk together the melted butter and maple syrup until it looks like caramel.
  • Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and then the coconut milk.
  • Pour the maple syrup mixture over the flour mixture and stir until barely combined.
  • Add the chocolate and stir until everything comes together and is no longer dusty looking (avoid over-mixing)
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 - 40 minutes.
  • This is a cake I like slightly under-baked, so I pull it out when the center is still a bit undercooked (the toothpick doesn't quite come out clean when testing)
  • If you're going to use it for a layer cake, then bake it all the way (clean toothpick). Remove from oven and allow to cool (absolutely completely) in the pan before frosting

  • Whipped Chocolate Cream Frosting
  • Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler, or in a bowl placed over a pan of boiling water.
  • In a medium bowl beat the butter until smooth and fluffy.
  • Beat in the maple syrup
  • Add the melted chocolate
  • Stir until silky smooth (any flecks of butter should be melted)
  • Pour the chocolate mix over the whipped cream and fold the chocolate into the cream. Keep going until the chocolate is well incorporated.
  • Use an offset spatula to frost the completely cooled cake. If the cake is at all warm, the frosting will weep and melt. (It will still taste good, but isn't what you're after)
  • Enjoy!
Serves: 24
Nutrition + Show
Calories 278
Total Fat 14g
Saturated Fat 7.4g
Carbohydrates 33.7g
Fiber 2.5g
Sugars 19.1g
Protein 4.8g
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  • Reply thi January 2, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Look amazing !! Yummmm!

  • Reply Kimberly January 2, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    This cake looks anything but simple! It looks absolutely delicious and should be in a bakery. 🙂

  • Reply Ashleigh January 2, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Ohhh this recipe looks and sounds wonderful and something I know I would love! Chocolate cake is a fav of mine! Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe!

  • Reply Chelsea January 2, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    This was such a soothing read, and that is a stunning cake! My mouth is watering!

  • Reply Rachel Ritlop January 3, 2017 at 8:25 am

    this looks amazing! I love chocolate on chocolate! there are no birthdays coming up so I will have to find another excuse to make this lol


  • Reply Cathy January 3, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Mmmm this birthday cake looks so delicious!! Definitely going to have to find an excuse to make it sometime!

  • Reply Michelle February 17, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    That looks great and easy to make

  • Reply Kelly Nordine February 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    This looks absolutely incredible! Wishing it was my birthday so I could make and eat this whole thing

  • Reply Sarah Althouse February 17, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Homemade chocolate cake is my favorite dessert. You always have the best recipes~

  • Reply Janie February 17, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    This cake looks delicious! Chocolate is the best 🙂

  • Reply Syama February 17, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    mmmm… chocolate and maple syrup !! How I I wish I could touch this one ! This sounds like a wonderful recipe . Thank you for sharing !!!

  • Reply Poonam February 17, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    Mmmm, i’m drooling. Chocolate cake is my favorite! This looks absolutely delicious. I would try this at home but I’m fairly certain mine would look nothing like this,lol.

  • Reply Riva February 17, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    This cake looks so delicious! Love the pictures. I am not much of a baker, but I know my daughter would love having this for her next birthday! I might have to give it a try!

  • Reply Mary February 17, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    What a gorgeous cake!!! Keeping this recipe for my next celebration.

  • Reply Leah February 18, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    I love a great chocolate cake, and the frosting sounds amazing!

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus February 20, 2017 at 11:59 am

    I am 23 and I agree that your twenties can be super difficult. I am completely broke, live in someone else’s house and am in debt. Still this cake looks divine so that is a plus!

  • Reply Sarah Bailey March 24, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Oh my goodness this sounds like an absolutely amazing birthday cake idea and I love that it is simple!

  • Reply Stacie March 24, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    5 stars
    CHOCOLATE CAKE!!!! Chocolate cake makes my soul happy. This looks so good, and I WILL be making this. Om nom nom.

  • Reply Eloise March 24, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    well that looks like an awesome bday cake if you ask me! I’d love to shovel that into my mouth, yum! I’ll have to try this for the next family bday party : )

  • Reply Kelly March 24, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    5 stars
    Chocolate cake is my favorite dessert. I have never had frosting with maple syrup. That sounds interesting! Must try soon!

  • Reply Joely Smith March 24, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    5 stars
    Happy Birthday to you Grandson! The cake looks YUM! I love this style of blog post. I may steal this idea sometime 🙂

  • Reply Eileen March 24, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    5 stars
    This chocolate cake looks so delicious! I’d have a lot to say to my 25 year old self, but I doubt she’d listen to me. lol

  • Reply Jenny March 25, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    This chocolate birthday cake looks and sounds so delicious. Chocolate is definitely my fave flavor for cakes in general. I can’t wait to try this recipe this weekend.

  • Reply Debra Schroeder March 25, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    That chocolate cake looks delicious. Congratulations on potty training your puppies.

  • Reply Mihaela Dragan March 26, 2017 at 5:20 am

    Chocolate cake recipes are my weak point. I love them in every shape, so I’m happy I found a new yumm recipe. Thank you 🙂

  • Reply Terri Beavers March 26, 2017 at 8:03 am

    5 stars
    My goodness, that looks absolutely scrumptious. I’d love to make this for my mom’s Birthday, I know she would enjoy it.

  • Reply Victoria heckstall March 26, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food, a sure-fire stand-by in times of stress, a reliable source of consolation when life has let us down, and a mood-enhancer and romance-inducer in more positive circumstances.

  • Reply Ann Bacciaglia March 26, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    This cake looks so delicious I wish I could have a piece right now. It is a great birthday cake.

  • Reply Frannie March 26, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    5 stars
    The cake looks amazing.

    Have you finished the therapy dog training? I have considered getting my dog certified. He is 3 and I could use his assistance from time to time.

  • Reply Catherine March 27, 2017 at 1:38 am

    Thislooks so delicious. I can’t believe how simple it is to make. I can’t wait to try your recipe.

  • Reply Marielle Altenor March 28, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    5 stars
    Yum! I love hot apple cider too!This is the perfect cake for cake smash for the little ones. I

  • Reply Mars April 6, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    5 stars
    There’s beauty in simplicity. This cake looks simply delicious.

  • Reply Liz April 29, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    I’ve heard of chocolate beet cake and it looks amazing! Glad it went well and thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Reply Jenny April 29, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Ooh this looks delicious, chocolate cake is always a favourite around here.

  • Reply Angelic Sinova April 29, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    This Chocolate Birthday Cake looks absolutely amazing. My birthday was last week and I had the most delicious chocolate unicorn cake (chocolate is my fav!).

  • Reply Louise Joy April 29, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    4 stars
    Okay this cake looks delicious and amazing, I must make it myself! x

  • Reply Brandon Smith April 29, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    5 stars
    Chocolate cake is in my top 5 of favorites! Your pictures capture the essence of your chocolate cake creation! A recipe my wife and I can enjoy! I always look forward to your posts!

  • Reply Sarah April 29, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    5 stars
    You had me at chocolate, but this looks like heaven in cake form!! Yummy!!

  • Reply Amy April 29, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    5 stars
    You can never go wrong with chocolate cake. Or any cake on fact. I hope your grandson has a wonderful first birthday.

  • Reply Jessica French April 29, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    This is a great post! Love your pictures

  • Reply Katie Kinsley April 29, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    I love how perfect the frosting looks on this chocolate cake. I wish I was a good baker!

  • Reply TIm B April 29, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    You had me at simply chocolate. Great photos and a wonderful recipe. There goes my diet!

  • Reply Luci Coo April 30, 2017 at 12:14 am

    Chocolate cake is one of my favorite cakes and I have been looking for one that is a little healthy while I eat a slice or the whole thing.

  • Reply Chris Lewis April 30, 2017 at 6:39 am

    5 stars
    This looks not only delicious but so easy to make. I love it when I can find “simple” things to create. To often recipes get convoluted, but this one is simple and is one that I think I might just make with my kids very soon!

  • Reply Melanie April 30, 2017 at 7:59 am

    This cake looks totally yummy, I can’t wait to give this a go 🙂 x

  • Reply Mel April 30, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    This cake looks so good! I’m practically drooling just looking at the picture of it.
    And I’m with you on the exhausting moonlight trips to the garden with a puppy; I have Guide Dog puppies which is so fulfilling until you want to sleep and they want to go to the bathroom at 3am.

  • Reply stephanie April 30, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    You can’t beat a classic simple chocolate cake and this one looks delicious! x

  • Reply Danik April 30, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Aggghhhh I am on a diet and I come across this post. I love choccy cake and this really does look scummy and yummy that I need it in my tummy. Classic cake to make and I might have to make one now. Might add a bit of carmel sauce on top 😉

  • Reply David Elliott May 1, 2017 at 12:57 am

    It looks like such a cute little cake would be something that my daughter would love. And chocolate just about makes it perfect.

  • Reply Sandy N Vyjay May 1, 2017 at 8:14 am

    5 stars
    Happy Birthday to the little one. The cake is lovely and apparently the icing is the love of a grandma and hence it is priceless. The cake looks too good to eat.

  • Reply Celine May 1, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I have a birthday in June, do you fancy making me a chocolate cake? It looks so delicious.

  • Reply Amy Hunt May 1, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    I love how you’ve given us goals and achievements for this month, thanks for sharing a snippet of your life (I’m new to your page) the cake looks lovely! 🙂

  • Reply Rebecca Swenor May 1, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    5 stars
    This is a truly a simple chocolate birthday cake recipe. My youngest son always wanted a chocolate cake when it to his birthday. I have only made a couple birthday cakes from scratch and this recipe I will have to try for sure. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Reply Lilinha May 1, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Yummy, what a delicious chocolate cake. I love the fact it has coconut milk! 🙂

  • Reply Laura May 1, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Oh wowzers! That looks absolutely DELICIOUS!! So yummy and moreish!! xx

  • Reply Amanda Kee May 1, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    5 stars
    This looks like a cake that came from Mount Olympus. I need to try this like yesterday. I love all the things chocolate but I’ve never tried baking with coconut milk, this should be interesting. It definitely looks delicious!

  • Reply Lubka Henry May 2, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Mmm… this looks so good! Thank you for sharing this lovely recipe 🙂

  • Reply Laura H May 2, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    I bet the puppies are cute though! and the cake looks so ridiculous yummy 🙂

  • Reply Jenny May 6, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    That cake looks so moist and delicious. Ill hsvr to make it sometime soom!

  • Reply Marilyn May 8, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    That looks so good! I’m glad to see alternative ingredients to help make it a little more healthier haha.

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