Valerie’s Favorite Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake Recipe

Valerie and I share a taste for chocolate and this is also my favorite birthday cake recipe. Good quality chocolate makes a huge difference. I love the 60% cocoa dark chocolate for melt-in-your-mouth sinfulness. Don’t eat this cake too late at night, though. All the caffeine will keep you awake! This is Valerie’s favorite birthday cake to bake and part of her memories in Pull of the Moon.

Birthday Cake Recipe

Valerie’s Favorite Birthday Cake

Course Dessert
Servings 12 servings


  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter softened (no substitutions)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  • Preheat over to 350° F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans. Line bottoms with wax paper. Grease and flour paper.
  • Heat milk and coffee in small saucepan until small bubbles form around the edge. Add to cocoa and whisk until smooth. Whisk in yogurt. Cool.
  • In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Beat butter in mixer bowl until light. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. At low speed, gradually beat in dry ingredients alternating with chocolate mixture. Beat at medium speed two minutes. Pour into prepared pans.
  • Bake 25 minutes, until tops springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack. Remove paper and cool completely, right side up.


4 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 tablespoons butter, softened (no substitutions)
Heat chocolate, sugar and cream, stirring constantly, in saucepan over medium heat until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Transfer to mixer bowl, and place in larger bowl of ice water. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold and thick. Remove from ice bath. Gradually beat in butter at high speed; beat until fluffy and stiff enough to hold its shape.
Place one layer on cake plate and spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with second layer and another 3/4 cup frosting. Spread top and sides with remaining frosting.

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