Who doesn’t love perfectly fluffy, chocolatey, frosted birthday cake?! Well, on the very first episode of Plated, I taught my friend, Shae Wilbur, how to master the best birthday cake recipe ever!

See below for all of the ingredients and techniques, and bake along with us! Catch Episode 1 of Plated with me, Rebecca Reed, on-demand right now, only on AWKNG TV. 

Let’s get baking!

How do you make the best birthday cake ever?


Chocolate Cake (yield is for one three layer 6 inch cake) 

¾ cup Cocoa Powder

1 tsp Instant Espresso Powder

1 ¼ cup Hot Water

⅔ cup Sour Cream

2 ⅔ cup All Purpose Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Salt

10 oz Butter

1 ½ cup Sugar

1 cup Dark Brown Sugar

3 Large Eggs

1 tbsp Vanilla Extract

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (yields enough frosting for one 6 inch cake) 

16 oz Cream Cheese

8 oz Butter

10 oz White Chocolat

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

½ tsp Salt

Cocoa Gelee 

1 cup Water

1 cup Heavy Cream

120 g Cocoa Powder

1 cup 2 tbsp Sugar

2 packets Gelatin



The best technique for baking a birthday cake

In a small bowl, slowly stream hot water into cocoa powder. Whisk to combine.

Cream together butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. 

  • I use dark brown sugar in anything with chocolate – adds depth of flavor 
  • Use room temperature butter

Add eggs one at a time and mix on medium-high speed until they’ve been completely incorporated into the batter.

In another medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.

Alternate adding the cocoa powder mixture and the dry ingredients with the butter and egg mixture. Mix just until combined – but don’t overmix!

*BAKE APPROX 30 minutes or just until the cake is set enough that when the center is gently pressed, it springs back to the touch.  

Let cakes cool in the pans, then flip them out, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and store them in the refrigerator until ready to frost. 

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

In a heat-resistant bowl, melt white chocolate in the microwave. 

  • Melt in 30-second increments, stirring after each time, until chocolate chips are melted

Cream together room temperature cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment 

Stream in melted white chocolate

Add salt and vanilla

Whip using whisk attachment and you’re finished!

Cocoa Gelee Glaze

Place gelatin powder in ½ cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir to combine and rehydrate. Reserve.

Bring remaining water, cream, sugar, and cocoa powder to a boil in a medium saucepot, then remove from the heat. (cocoa tastes better if it’s boiled – it removes the chalkiness and makes it smoother)

Gently stir in gelatin mixture, being careful not to incorporate many air bubbles from vigorous whisking. 

Chill by placing saucepot over an ice water bath and stirring to bring the temperature down to about 100 degrees or body temperature. 

Slowly pour glaze over the top of the cake, starting in the middle and letting the glaze pour down the sides.

  • Be sure to crumb coat the cake or coat the cake with just enough buttercream to make the sides smooth while some of the cake can still be exposed. 
  • It is important for the cake to be very cold before glazing. Ideally, chill the cake in the refrigerator for an hour before glazing. 

For any questions, feel free to find me on Instagram – @Thebakerreed! 

Happy baking!

Learn more sweet recipes you can take on in your own kitchen by streaming Plated on AWKNG TV! Start your FREE 7-day trial today!