Birthday Cake for Adults.

It’s heavy, it’s delicious and nothing else says “I’m a grown-ass adult and I want to eat some cake!”

Remember as a kid when it was someone’s birthday at school? You had to bring cake, any cake good or bad, there just had to be cake. The calendar with all the kids’ birthdays listed became something of a shrine, a countdown to that very special day that cake will be eaten. Of course everyone gorged themselves on the dry chiffon cake that was a sickly light brown colour it was so lacking in cacao, with the nauseatingly sweet icing that was pure chemical margarine and cheap icing sugar. And there was absolutely nothing wrong with that. The cake was a metaphor of celebration and childlike happiness and excitement. Having said that, today I won’t touch it, not even with an eight-year old broomstick. That doesn’t mean that I want to abolish the lovely tradition of birthday cake though…

This cake is more a mud cake than anything else. It is heavy and dark but somehow still has a light spongy attitude that is the definitive difference between cake and pudding. The combination of the heavy base and sour cream frosting up top also work together in perfect harmony. The sour cream slices through the heaviness and adds an incredibly surprising and exciting taste in comparison to the dark chocolate. What makes this cake truly special is that it appeals to the sweet whilst not being overpowering. Even those that grew out of their childhood sweet tooth will ask for seconds.


2 cups sugar

150g Dark chocolate

1 Stick salted butter

2 Cups flour

2 Teaspoons baking soda

1 Teaspoon baking powder

1 Cup milk

1 Teaspoon cider vinegar

2 Eggs

1 Dash vanilla

1 Dash Seasalt

1 Packet chocolate chips

250g Sour cream


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. In a pot, mix together the sugar, chocolate, butter and 1 cup of water. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until all of the ingredients are melted and blended. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar. When the chocolate in the pot has cooled a bit, whisk in the milk mixture and eggs. In several additions, and without overmixing, whisk in the dry ingredients. When the mixture is smooth, add the vanilla and whisk once or twice to blend. Pour the batter into the tube pan and bake on the middle rack until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Once it is out of the oven, sprinkle with seasalt. When the cake has cooled a bit, take it out of the pan and let it cool completely on a cooling rack. Warning, because this cake is so dense, it takes a long time to cool.

While the cake is in the oven/cooling, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, then let cool to room temperature. The time between molten chocolate and solidified chocolate is very quick. So once the chocolate is off the double boiler, stir constantly whilst checking for temperature. Stir in the sour cream, one spoon at a time until the mixture is smooth. When cake is cold, lather the cream over the cake and leave in fridge until serving.

Cooking time: 40-45 minutes

Prep time: 25 minutes

Original recipe: NYT Cooking


13 thoughts on “Birthday Cake for Adults.

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