Making a Birthday Cake with Adria

Posted by Adria on Apr 22nd 2020

Are you having a birthday while in quarantine? Well, you need a birthday cake!

Our chocolatier, Adria, is here to help you make a good old-fashioned buttery yellow cake with chocolate frosting. This cake is moist and tender with a fine, dense crumb and just the slightest buttermilk tang; it’s the perfect foil for the fluffy, creamy-smooth Theo chocolate frosting. The original recipe is below, but we know it can be hard to find certain ingredients right now, so check out the video for Adria’s suggestions for substitutions.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (13½ ounces) cake flour (watch the video to see how to substitute with corn starch)

  • 1¾ cups (12¼ ounces) bakers sugar (Regular white sugar works too)

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1¾ cups (3½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted

  • ¾ cup buttermilk

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 2 eggs

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons very hot water

  • 3 tablespoons (²/³ounce) cocoa powder

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 3 cups (13½ ounces) confectioners’ sugar sifted

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 9 ounces Theo 70% Dark Chocolate, melted and cooled (but still liquid)


  1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 (9-inch) baking pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set the pans aside.
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda on low speed to blend the ingredients, about 15 seconds. Add the butter, butter milk, and vanilla, and mix on low speed until the wet and dry ingredients combine, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl and paddle, and mix on medium-high speed for 1 full minute. Scrape the bowl, add the egg yolks, and mix on medium-high speed for 30 seconds to blend and aerate the batter. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium-high speed for 30 seconds between additions. Finally, mix the batter on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, and bake until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
  1. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans, peel off the parchment paper, and let them cool completely before making the frosting.
  1. To make the frosting, in a small bowl, whisk together the water and cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  1. Clean the stand mixer bowl, then cream the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl, add the vanilla, salt, and cocoa powder paste, and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the frosting until soft and creamy, about another minute. Make sure the melted chocolate is still liquid, but no longer warm to the touch. Add it and whip on medium-high speed until thick and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Use right away.
  1. To assemble the cake, turn the cake layers domed side up. Use along serrated knife to cut off the domes and make the cakes flat if you need to. Place 1 cake, bottom side down, on a cake plate. Use an off-set spatula to spread about 1½ cups of frosting on top. Put the other cake on top, bottom side up. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.
  1. This cake is best the day it’s made. Store it at room temperature until serving. If you don’t finish the whole cake, press a piece of plastic wrap up against the cut sides to keep it fresh. The frosting will help hold the plastic in place. But really, why would you not finish the whole cake?!