Monday, February 28, 2011

A Family Birthday... Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake With Buttercream Icing

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In this house everyone has a different birthday cake favorite.  Mine is orange cake with lime curd filling and meringue frosting, my daughter;s is plain old cheese cake and my son, who takes after his mother,  adores chocolate cake with vanilla frosting.  I always try to take the easy way out and buy old faithful Duncan Hines mixes and make the frosting myself but this time I decided to go the extra mile.

Most of you know Magnolia Bakery in New York City, famous for its cupcakes and cakes.  I have previously posted their  recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes, a strong contender for yesterday's birthday party.  Instead, I decided to go out on a limb and make their Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake with their Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.  Anything buttermilk always sparks my curiosity for they make cakes lighter and fluffier. 

The recipe calls for 9 inch pans which I substituted for 8 inch to make the cake higher and narrow, just a preference of mine.  If you go this route, it will take an extra 5- 8 minutes to cook.  I also sprayed the pans with Baker's Joy thus skipping the waxed paper routine.

As to the frosting, you really do not need all 8 cups of powdered sugar, something they tell you in the recipe. I used about 6 1/2.  If you have a guard for your beater, use it. I had sugar all over the counter even using the low setting.  Use the frosting right after you mix or it will start to set and become difficult to spread.  You can always add a little milk to make it more spreadable if this happens.

This recipe is a definite keeper for birthday cakes and cupcakes.  I could tell the minute I tasted the raw mix and couldn't stop!


2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.  Line with wax paper.

In a mixer with the paddle attachment cream butter and sugars until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition/

Add melted chocolate, mixing until included.

Add dry ingredients in 1/3s, alternating dry and wet.  Beat smooth after each addition. Add vanilla.

Divide batter between pans and bake 25-35 minuted until toothpick comes out dry. (for cupcakes 20-22 minutes)

Let cake cool in pans 10 minutes

Remove to wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla

Place butter in mixer and beat well. Add 4 cups sugar, milk and vanilla.  Beat until smooth and creamy.  Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time until icing is thick enough for spreading.  Add coloring if desired.  Use and store at room temperature as it will set if chilled.  Can be stored in air tight container for 3 days.

Save extra frosting to make repairs, particularly if you have little grandchildren like the one above!

Recipe Adapted From Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
Photos Lindaraxa


  1. I have had a craving for cake lately and this one sounds good. I have had the Magnolia cupcakes while in NYC and although they were delicious I don't like the idea of all that red food dye!
    I didn't see the orange cake recipe in your archives - I hope you will put that one up some time.
    My birthday cake is white chocolate cake with white chocolate icing. I make my cakes in three 6" pans, and I take two of the cakes and cut them in half and make a very tall small four layer cake. The third goes in the freezer for another day.
    I enjoy your blog very much!

  2. Oh yum -- I think a rich chocolate cake with a buttercream is probably my favorite. I love the festive candles. What a wonderful family celebration! xo ebh

  3. Carol,

    I have to put that one up sometime soon. It's coming up, promise.


    The candles are from Target, Where else!

  4. Looks like y'all had a fun and delicious party. I love the little princess in her jeweled tiara---my kind of girl!

  5. I bumped into your blog as I was researching 21 Club Chicken Hash. I am a caterer in York, Maine. A client of mine grew up eating at the 21 and requested this recipe so here I am! Lovely blog. I don't usually have sites I visit but yours is special - very nice, thank you I'll be reading yours. Carla Rollins

  6. Thank you, Carla. Glad to be of help.


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