Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting

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. . . this is the best chocolate cake EVER!

My daughter just turned the big 10. To celebrate we had a wonderful outdoor party with a bird theme. This birds nest cake played the part, too.

For the past few years I have been using the same recipe whenever I make a chocolate cake, Sandy's Chocolate Cake. The taste appeals to a more mature taste as it has a bit of a sweet-tart taste. I wanted to use something that would certainly appeal to younger children but would be delicious, not just sweet.

This cake was terrific! Lots of chocolate and a great buttercream frosting. It used only brown sugar which added a subtly pleasant taste compared to other chocolate cakes I have made. The frosting was "just like bakery frosting" according to many taste buds.

I asked my oldest daughter if it looked like a bird's nest on top. Her response was, "It must be for one prolific bird!" There were quite a few eggs, but I thought it was beautiful. Maybe not as beautiful as the birthday girl though.

Chocolate Bird's Nest Cake with Buttercream Frosting
adapted from foodnetwork
Cake Ingredients
3 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
3 eggs
2 2/3 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/8 cups cocoa powder

Frosting Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup vegetable shortening
8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 ounces heavy whipping cream

Directions for Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three round cake pans.
2. Combine the brown sugar and oil. Mix at low speed and add the eggs one at a time. Let the sugar, oil, and eggs mix while sifting together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Set this mixture aside.
3. In another small bowl, mix the vanilla into the milk and set this aside as well. Bring the water to a boil and pour over the cocoa and whisk it until it is smooth. 4. To the egg mixture, alternately add the flour mixture and the milk mixture beginning and ending with flour. With the mixer off, scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. With the mixture at a low speed add the cocoa. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pour this mixture into the prepared cake pans. Bake the cakes about 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
5. Allow cakes to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pans. When cake layers have cooled, remove from pans and refrigerate until ready to frost.

Directions for Frosting

1. Place shortening and butter in mixing bowl. Beat at low speed, slowly increasing speed to medium high. Cream butter and shortening until light and creamy, about 8-10 minutes.
2. Add salt and vanilla. Blend. Add sugar, one cup at a time and mixing after each addition. Mix on low and slowly add whipping cream. Once well mixed, increase speed to medium high and beat for an additional 5 minutes till fluffy.

To make a bird's nest cake, simply toast 1 1/2 cups of coconut. Sprinkle in a round on the center of the cake. Add some pastel egg shaped candies such as almond M&M's. Garnish the bottom of the cake with remaining toasted coconut.

Slice and enjoy!


  1. You have really been busy with birthdays lately. Your cake looks delicious, and your daughter looks very sweet.

  2. I really liked this one! It had just the right amount of chocolatyness to it.

  3. I love your theme parties, they are always so clever and fun for old and young!

  4. This cake looks beautiful! How adorable!

  5. I love the nest on the cake and I'll have to try out this recipe! I like the brown sugar idea as well.

  6. What a smarty, "One prolific bird". That is a cute cake. You always come up with the cutest ideas Sheila.

  7. Monica~ Abigail is such a sweet girl, always ready with a smile for anyone.

    Melissa~ It is my favorite chocolate cake now!

    Robin Sue~ Thank you; I enjoy coming up with the ideas around one theme.

    Rindy~ I was a little worried everyone would think it was an Easter cake, but I thought it was a picture of spring.

    NP~ The brown sugar was amazing! It is the key to this recipe I think.

    Lori~ Oh, you are sweet. I guess the bird is a bit like myself, lots of little ones.


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