Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Chocolate Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday to Me Cake

Four layers of cake, french silk pie filling, mascarpone cream frosting, cocoa whipped cream, and dark chocolate ganache.  Happy birthday to me. This cake was inspired by one of my favorite Cheesecake Factory desserts: Chocolate Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake.  
The cake recipe comes via Ghirardelli, and it came out so tender and soft, it kind of started falling apart before I could cut the layers.  Granted, I let the cakes cool too long in the pans, but still, very tender.
The French silk pie filling is from, and I have a recipe for the yummy pie here on my blog.
I can't remember where the mascarpone frosting recipe came from...
And the cocoa whipped cream is from a Nestle cocoa box from the '80s.
All in all, this cake is a success and helped make my belated birthday very, very happy.

My Chocolate Birthday Cake

Cake Ingredients (adapted from :
  • 1 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa (or use 1/2 cup ground cocoa powder and increase the total amount of sugar below to 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour Cake Enhancer (optional)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cake Instructions: Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Prepare two 8" x 1 1/2" round cake pans by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and then lining with parchment or wax paper circles.  Into a mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, sift flour with ground chocolate, cake enhancer, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Add butter and 3/4 cup buttermilk. Beat on low speed to combine ingredients. Scrape sides of bowl and then beat on low-medium speed for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup buttermilk, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat additional 2 minutes.  Spread batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350ºF for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on racks for 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pans.
French Silk Pie Layer Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, but cool
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar (I prefer C & H sugar)
  • 11 unwrapped dark chocolate Dove Promises (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
French Silk Pie Layer Instructions (adapted from  
            In a double boiler, melt Dove Promises about 2/3 of the way.  Remove top of double boiler and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted.  Set aside to cool further.  I recommend cooling until the chocolate starts to thicken slightly so that it won't melt the butter and will be firm enough to withstand the next cake layer on top of it without smooshing out the sides.
            Cream butter.  Gradually add sugar, creaming well.  Blend in melted and cooled chocolate and vanilla.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating 4 minutes after each addition with an electric mixer on medium speed.  

            Start assembling--see below.

Mascarpone Cream Frosting Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Mascarpone Cream Frosting Instructions:  In a mixer bowl, cream mascarpone, vanilla extract & sugar.  Add cream and whip on high until stiff.  

Cocoa Whipped Cream Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup powdered cocoa
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot tap water
  • 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
Cocoa Whipped Cream Instructions: In mixer bowl with a wire whisk attachment, mix cocoa, sugar & hot water, mixing to form a paste.  Allow to cool before adding cream.  Add cream and start mixing on low to incorporate cream into cocoa paste.  Stop the mixer and scrape the bow.  Mix on high until stiff peaks form.

Assembling the Cake:

Once you've made the French silk pie layer, start the assembly process. 

Cut each of the two cakes in half so you have four layers. Place the bottom layer on a serving plate or cake stand.  On the bottom layer, spread the French silk pie filling to within 1/4-inch of the edge.  Place the second layer on; cover & refrigerate until the mascarpone layer is ready.

Spread on the mascarpone frosting to about 1/4-inch of the edge.  Place the third cake layer on top of that.  Spread half the cocoa whipped cream on the cake and top with the final cake layer.  Frost the sides of the cake with the remaining cocoa whipped cream.  Cover the cake and refrigerate.

Ganache Ingredients:
  • 10 Dove Dark Chocolate Promises, unwrapped and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Ganache Instructions:

Place chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
In a small pan over medium heat, bring the cream and butter just to a simmer.  Pour cream over chocolate and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.  
Stir to combine chocolate & cream.  
Pour ganache directly in the center of the top of the cake.  As it spreads and drips over the sides, if there are spots with no ganache, make sure you drip or spread some over there.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes one large cake.  You decide how many servings.

For a mini version of this cake, click here.


  1. well, kelly, i must say that you certainly outdid yourself on the birthday cake. since you and i almost have the same birthday, i would like to request this cake for OUR birthday next year when we are once again re-united in the shores of belmont. i'm pretty sure our other friend will not mind sharing her birthday with us once she knows about this amazing gastronomical delight!

  2. I adore the chocolate tuxedo cream cheesecake, so something tells me I'd LOVE this cake! Happy Birthday.

  3. Wow that is an amazingly beautiful cake! Happy Birthday!

  4. Why, thank you, Erinsgobragh! Twice, thank you!

  5. Happy Belated Birthday. This cake looks so yummy. I can't wait to try it when I finally get my oven installed.

  6. Oh, don't you just love drippy cakes (as I like to call them)?? This looks delicious! Happy birthday!

  7. I have made this cake three times... i am going to make it for the fourth time... its perfect for birthdays.. a no fail always a winner cake! thank you so much

    1. Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for letting me know! I really needed this today! :)

  8. Kelly, I'm not familiar with the term "C & H sugar". Is that a brand name or a type of sugar?

    1. C & H is a brand name of sugar. Maybe it's just because I grew up with it, but it's my preferred brand. I added a link above to their website and fixed the recipe so others don't get confused.


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