This weekend I was gifted with a super-fun birthday surprise: Bjork whisked me away to Austin for a weekend of TACOS! And other things. But honestly, mostly tacos.
We packed in about twenty minutes – and by packed, I mean we ripped into my box of summer clothes that was still sealed up tight in the basement, washed, unwashed, wrinkled, ill-fitting, out-of-date, you know how it is, and tossed everything into a bag. And one 15-minute Lyft ride later, we were checked in at the airport, preparing to hop a flight to Texas.
This has been a hard season of life for us, and this birthday is a strange one for me. Okay, strange is a total euphemism. It’s sad. It’s lonely. It’s hard to feel like Happy Birthday when the birthday slash entire life I imagined was supposed to be so different.
But it’s still a birthday, and even sad birthdays still deserve cake.
As the only one in our house who bakes, I am usually the maker of my own birthday cake. And this year, I went ALL OUT. I showed my birthday who was boss.
No store boughts, no box mixes, not this year. I went with real, amazing, homemade Blackout Chocolate Cake, emphasis on the blackout. I’m coping, okay? I’m coping.
We’re talking about life-changing cake, with whole milk yogurt for moisture and espresso powder for depth, cream cheese chocolate frosting (CHALLENGE ME, I DARE YOU) for the layers, and a chocolate chip exterior that gets pressed into the frosted cake by way of a little regular-people-make-fancy-cakes hack involving cardboard. No, I’m serious. CARDBOARD. We take our cake-ing very seriously, aka not very seriously at all.
This is the coolest. Check out this cakespo:
There is no denying. Birthday or no birthday, painful year or good year: chocolate cake helps. Like, blackout-level helps.
And sharing this blackout chocolate cake with friends really, really, really helps. Chocolate blackouts are better when shared. S/o to our POY team for eating this with me one million times and to Melissa for letting me crash her own bday celebration super spontaneously with this madness.
So – a birthday? an anniversary? a chocolate cake and red wine night in pajamas alone? (GIRL YES.)
Whatever it is, I’m writing this chocolate cake as a love letter to your life.
This is the cake for chocolate lovers! Ultramoist chocolate cake, layers of cream cheese chocolate frosting, and an awesome chocolate chip + chocolate drizzle exterior. Recipe based off of this solid Chocolate Blackout Cake from Life Made Simple.
For the chocolate cake:
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (we use DeLallo)
Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Divide evenly between the three cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes or until the cakes are set. Let the cakes cool for a while.
Frosting: Cream the ingredients (except chocolate chips) until smooth.
Assembly: Cut two 9-inch round circles from cardboard. Cover with foil. Spread just a little bit of frosting on one of the cardboards and stick the first cake on it (this helps it hold). Stack the cakes up, frosting between each layer, around the outside, and on top. Chill for 30 minutes.
Chocolate Chipping: Spread the chocolate chips in a wide jelly roll pan. Place the other cardboard on top of the chilled cake. Holding the cardboard ends, roll the cake into the chocolate chips, pressing gently to get them to stick (see video).
I like to melt a little extra chocolate and drizzle it over the top. WHY THE HECK NOT, this is chocolate blackout cake!
This cake can be served chilled or at room temperature, but it’s easier to cut at room temperature or before the chocolate drizzle sets.