How To Make A Birthday Cake At Home

Birthday cakes are the most important part of a child's birthday party. So, why not bake one for your child on his birthday. Here's a special recipe that you and your child are bound to enjoy!

By Dr Meghna Singhal

How To Make A Birthday Cake At Home
Chocolate strawberry cake

Birthdays are always special occasions for children and adults alike. People usually throw birthday parties for their family and friends, complete with food, games, decorations, and of course the cake. In the last two decades, the birthday cake has become a ubiquitous part of celebrations in Indian households. No birthday celebration is complete without a cake. But how to make chocolate birthday cake at home?

How to make a birthday cake

Though there is a large variety of flavours, one of the most popular flavours among children is the chocolate cake. I bake this cake almost every month, either as a cake or as cupcakes, getting my two children (4.5 years and 2 years of age) to actively help me in mixing the batter and using baking as an activity to connect with them and have some fun!

Below is a recipe for a chocolate cake that can be made easily at home, with most ingredients available in your pantry. Get your child involved too and get baking!

How to make chocolate cake at home?

Chocolate cake recipe:

Ingredients for cake (1 cup=240 ml)

  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour (I usually substitute with whole wheat flour)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder (I use this aluminium-free baking powder available online)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature (to bring them to room temperature, put them in a glass of warm water for 5 minutes)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar (decrease to ½ cup if you’re also icing the cake; you can also use coconut sugar or jaggery powder for healthier alternatives)
  • ⅓ cup vegetable or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache

  • 200 gm dark or milk chocolate bar
  • ¼ cup milk

Ingredients for decoration

  • Fresh fruit of your choice
  • Sprinkles or crumbled Oreo cookies or chocolate chips

Directions for cake

  1. Preheat the OTG oven to 177°C. Prepare your baking tin (or muffin pan or cupcake moulds) by brushing it with oil and then dusting some flour evenly on it. Alternatively, you could line your baking tin with parchment or baking paper. You could use an 8X8 inch square or a 9-inch round baking tin.
  2. Whisk the cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla together. You could use either an electric mixer or a whisk. Now gradually add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing slowly, until just combined. Add the buttermilk and mix again. Avoid over-mixing.
  3. Pour the batter into the baking tin but fill only halfway to avoid spilling over the sides while baking. If extra batter is left, bake it in the second instalment. Don’t be tempted to pour all of the batter, if it’s crossing the halfway mark on your tin or moulds.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes, and then check with a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before demoulding it. When you demould it, place it over a wire rack to cool from all sides. If you’re icing the cake, allow to cool completely.

Directions for ganache

  1. Break the chocolate bar into pieces in a pan and add milk gradually. Warm over medium heat, stirring continuously until the chocolate melts completely. It should be thick. Your ganache is ready.
  2. Pour this ganache over the cooled cake until it is completely covered. Decorate with fresh fruit (such as chopped strawberries or bananas), crushed Oreo cookies, sprinkles, or chocolate chips. This is the stage at which I usually let my kids take over and run their imagination wild (even if it’s not perfect and creates a mess). This helps them own the process and makes baking a fun and creative endeavour.

If you are wondering about the theme of the cake, below are some popular cakes for boys and girls.

Birthday cake ideas for boys

  • Spiderman cake
  • Superman cake
  • Thomas, The Tank Engine cake
  • Pirate cake
  • Bal Hanuman cake
  • Chota Bheem cake
  • Mickey Mouse Cake

Girls birthday cake ideas

  • Princess cake
  • Frozen theme cake
  • Butterfly cake
  • Teddy bear cake
  • Dora cake
  • Fairy cake
  • Heart-shaped cake

Go ahead and try making this cake for your child’s birthday. Even if it doesn’t turn out the way you’d like, it’ll be a memorable story to share with friends and family for years later!

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