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Learn How to Make Your Mom a Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake with balloons

We decided to title this post with a command. Why? Because we think moms should get a birthday cake from their kids! Not only is it a fun experiment, but it is guaranteed to make your mom happy. And what will make her twice as happy is if you clean up all of the mess!

As we have stated before on our experimenting blog, we love birthdays! We are pretty sure we know who we inherited this from. She loves going all out for birthday parties and has made some fun cakes throughout the years.

So we thought we would try our hand at a cake for her this year. We went through a ton of different recipes, trying to figure out what would be both easy and delicious. When looking through the pantry to check out our ingredients, we decided to try the chocolate cake listed right on the back of the cocoa powder.

Preparing the Batter

The best part about this cake was that it all came together in one bowl. We started with our dry ingredients and added the wet as normal.

It does call for boiling water, so we got a little lazy and decided to just microwave a cup of water until it was steaming hot!

Adding boiling Water

After adding it in, we got a little nervous about how thin the batter was.

The hardest part was trying to pour the thin batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. I kept going back and forth to make sure one did not have more than the other.

Well, maybe that wasn’t the hardest part. Trying to get the cakes out of the pans always makes me break a sweat. There have been plenty of cakes that we have had to “glue” together with frosting because half of it got stuck in the pan and broke apart. A little trick we found to work is to take a bendable spatula and slide it under the sides and ever so slightly lift it up around the edges.

Easy Cake out of Pan

What frosting to use for Mom’s Birthday Cake?

Both of these came out without breaking! Onto to the next experiment of frosting. The truth is, our Mom is not a huge frosting person. It seems most people fall into two camps with cake, either they want the frosting or the actual cake. Mom wants the cake. But a birthday cake without frosting is just not fun.

We decided to go with a basic butter cream frosting because it is the easiest to decorate with and holds its shape better than most. Plus, it is so easy to add some color and make it pretty!

Mixing Frosting for Birthday cake

The only problem? Powdered sugar makes such a huge mess! I could not figure out the best way to get it into the mixer without it blowing up and going everywhere. At this point, Mom walked into the kitchen, and we all shoved her out as fast as possible. Seeing the mixer in this state would only make her twitch.

After the cakes were cool, we flipped our bottom one over and added some frosting. Now here is one of the best parts of birthday cakes! You can really add any topping you want to the middle! Our Mom happens to love coconut, so we layered it on, but you could use cookie crumbs, toffee crunches, or anything that sounded good!

Close up of Coconut in Birthday Cake

Next, we started with our crumb layer. We felt very professional here knowing that we should put a thin layer on to keep all of the crumbs from coming up into the frosting. But we were happily surprised that this cake seemed to hold its crumbs so well and we barely needed that layer.

Piping Frosting

Should You Make Your Mom a Birthday Cake?

This was not difficult, and we knew that even if it didn’t turn out perfectly, it would show our Mom just how much we wanted her to enjoy her birthday. So we suggest you try it!

Close Up of Birthday Cake

You Should Make Your Mom a Birthday Cake!

Yield: 9 Inch 2 Layer Cake


For the Cake

  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 1-3/4 Cups Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Boiling Water

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
  • 4 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans and transfer onto wire racks. Cool completely.
  5. For the frosting: whip the butter and salt for about a minute using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  6. Sift in the confectioner’s sugar in several batches beating on low after each addition. Scrape the bowl down and repeat the process. Try not to make a mess!
  7. Add a tablespoon of the cream while mixing on low then add the vanilla. Beat until you have an even, fluffy consistency.
  8. Add food coloring if desired.
  9. Flip bottom cake onto a plate and spread a layer of frosting on top. You can add any toppings you might want to the middle.
  10. Carefully flip top layer onto cake. Spread a thin layer of frosting to make a crumb layer. Pipe or spread more frosting to decorate.


Adapted from Hersheyland and Preppy Kitchen

Did you experiment with this recipe?

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