← Back to Search Results
baking American
Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe-2907

Photo by: Shutterstock, stock photo of a similar dish.
Comments: 2


Once upon a time there were nine little cupcakes that felt very insignificant. More than anything in the world they wanted to become one big chocolate birthday cake. When you make this birthday cake you will make their dream come true.

If you want to be mean, you can make cupcakes instead of a cake with this recipe. Just set the timer for 15 minutes when you put them in the oven and test them when the bell rings—nine little cupcakes bake faster than one big cake.

You can serve this cake with just confectioners’ sugar dusted on top but if it is for a special occasion like a birthday you will want to frost it.

Yield: One 8-inch round cake (or about 9 cupcakes)


  • Vegetable shortening for greasing the pan
  • 1 tablespoon flour for dusting the pan
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup water
  • Optional: confectioners’ sugar for dusting the cake


  • 8-inch Round Cake Pan
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Small Saucepan
  • Measuring Cups
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Large Spoon
  • Small Bowl
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Kichen Timer
  • Pot Holders
  • Cooling Rack
  • Knife
  • Large Plate
  • Metal Spatula



Turn the oven on to 350°F. Make sure the rack is set in the middle.

Use your fingers to grease the bottom and sides an 8-inch round cake pan with a little vegetable shortening. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour into the pan. Tilt the pan around, shaking it a little, until the bottom and sides are lightly covered with flour. Then turn the pan upside down over the sink or into the trash basket and tap the pan firmly so any extra flour falls out. Set the pan aside.

Put the 5 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan on the stove and turn the heat to low. Stand right by the stove and keep an eye on the butter. As soon as it has melted, set the pan aside and let the butter cool a little.

Put the 1½ cups flour, 1 cup sugar, ¼ cup cocoa, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a large spoon until the ingredients are well mixed.

Pour the 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1 cup water into a small bowl and stir them until they are well mixed.

Add the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, and then stir in the melted butter. Now roll up your sleeves and with a big spoon in one hand, holding onto the bowl firmly with your other, stir the batter fiercely for about a minute until it looks very thick, smooth, and creamy.

Pour the batter into the cake pan, and use a rubber spatula to get it all out of the bowl. Then gently spread it evenly in the pan.

Put the pan in the oven an set the timer for 25 minutes. When the timer bell goes off, use a pot holder to pull the cake out enough so you can test it for doneness by sticking a toothpick into the center. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. If the tooth pick has some sticky batter on it when you remove it, let the cake bake 5 to 10 minutes. This cake usually takes about 30 minutes to bake.

Remove the cake from the oven with pot holders. Set it on a rack, and let it cool 10 minutes.

Turn the cake upside down onto a large plate. If the cake doesn’t come right out of the pan, loosen it by running a knife carefully around the sides, between the cake and the pan, and then carefully push a metal spatula under the bottom of the cake to loosen it. This cake, however, usually comes right out of the pan without coaxing.

When cool, the cake can be dusted with confectioners’ sugar and served. For a special occasion, be grand and frost and decorate your cake.

© 1995 Marion Cunningham

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

This recipe serves 9. Nutritional information includes 1/2 teaspoon of shortening per muffin cup for greasing.

247kcal (12%)
235mg (10%)
9g (14%)
5g (24%)
17mg (6%)
54mcg RAE (2%)
0mg (0%)
9mg (1%)
1mg (8%)

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.
  • Ming Lee

    12.22.11 Flag comment

    it's incredibly simple and quick to make (even more so if you just microwave the butter) and yields a beautiful, delicious cake. I've also made it as cupcakes (about 16-20) and whip it up anytime I need something fast. Everyone always loves it.

    If you want extra flavor I would just top it with buttercream frosting (which is what I do)

  • sallyshark

    07.13.11 Flag comment

    Rich and moist texture, but really bland in flavor. I won't be making this again.

Free Activity Kit for Love Monster and the Last Chocolate!

Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

the-sushi-experience The Sushi Experience
by Hiroko Shimbo
desserts-4-today Desserts 4 Today
by Abby Dodge
unforgettable-desserts Unforgettable Desserts
by Dede Wilson
the-lee-bros-southern-cookbook-stories-and-recipes-for-southerners-and-would-be-southerners The Lee Bros. Southern Cook...
by Ted Lee, Matt Lee
mom-a-licious Mom-a-Licious
by Domenica Catelli
flavor Flavor
by Rocco DiSpirito
hot-sour-salty-sweet Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
the-new-basics-cookbook The New Basics Cookbook
by Sheila Lukins, Julee Rosso
how-to-be-a-domestic-goddess How to be a Domestic Goddess
by Nigella Lawson

Thanks for signing up!

You'll receive an activation email in your inbox shortly. Don't forget to click that link and activate your new Cookstr.com account!

Already a member? Sign in here

Sign up for Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new cookbooks, Cookstr features, and other exclusives we know you'll love
By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
New to Cookstr? Sign up here
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?