6 Best Chocolate Birthday Cakes & 3 Alternatives to a Cake
In these modern times, there’s possibly nothing better and also more common than chocolate birthday cake. Yet the first chocolate cake only appeared in a cookbook in 1847, written by one Eliza Leslie. Read on for the best chocolate birthday cake ideas.
Today’s recipes for chocolate cake are a lot simpler and more varied. There are chocolate cakes featuring sumptuous amounts of cocoa powder and chocolate pieces.
There are recipes that are chocolatey yet low in calories. And there are yet more recipes with vegan ingredients for those following a specific diet and those with food allergies.
All of these are delicious, and all of them can be designed and decorated to look great. Read on to find out more.
Best Chocolate Birthday Cake Ideas for Men
One thing’s for sure: both men and women love chocolate cake. With that said, men’s cakes are often overlooked and made a little too plain.
Surprise the man in your life with a cake that’s representative of his personality and style. You might even add a little humor into the presentation.
Vintage Chocolate Cake
This is a decadent chocolate cake that really shows how much you value the man in your life. Bake our basic chocolate cake recipe below and add chocolate frosting between the layers.
You’ll want to use the best chocolate you can find for this. White or darker chocolate will do, depending on your color scheme and how sweet you like your cake. Frost around the outside of the cake as well.
Next, add a pre-purchased sugar sign to the top or side of the cake. You’ll want to have this printed in advance to look like a vintage label, similar to those found on Jack Daniel’s bottles.
Have it read something like: ‘vintage, aged to perfection, limited edition’ with the age of the birthday boy in the middle, between ‘limited’ and ‘edition.’
Black Forest Gateau
If there’s one thing most men like it’s cake — make that cake with alcohol in it. Black Forest Gateau is the ultimate boozy chocolate cake.
It’s coated with shards of sumptuous dark chocolate, soaked with kirsch, and layered with airy, delicious cream. Add cherries on top, and you’re pretty much half-way to paradise.
To make this, you’ll ideally want a Black Forest Gateau-specific recipe. With that said, you can make a cheat’s version by following our chocolate cake recipe below. Make a kirsch alcohol syrup by mixing simple syrup with a few spoons of kirsch and pouring it over the sponge.
Mix whipped cream with sugar, vanilla, and a bit more kirsch, and spread between the layers. Coat the outside of the cake in more cream or dark chocolate frosting. Add cherries and dark chocolate to decorate.
Kids Chocolate Cake
If you want to add a little bit of lighthearted fun to your chocolate birthday cake, this is a great idea. Start by baking our basic chocolate cake recipe below and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Frost using your favorite chocolate icing. Next, add pieces of retro kids chocolates to the top to decorate.
Kinder chocolate bars, Butterfingers, Reese’s Pieces, and Flipz Pretzels all make great choices. Hershey’s Kisses are cute too and come in a variety of flavors and colors.
Finish by adding a large birthday candle or some chocolate writing: ‘happy birthday to the big kid.’
Chocolate Birthday Cake Ideas for Women
Birthday cakes for women should be scrumptious and beautiful. You’ll want a taste that looks just as good as it tastes.
You definitely can’t go wrong with our basic recipe further down this page, but you might be wondering how to design your cake. Here are some of our top chocolate birthday cake design ideas that’ll delight pretty much any woman.
Chocolate Strawberry Cake
Everyone likes chocolate-covered strawberries. There’s something so romantic and sweet about these fruity treats. It comes as no surprise that they are great for the perfect chocolate birthday cake for her, too.
Bake our easy chocolate cake recipe below. Frost between the layers and add extra strawberry jam if you like.
Now frost the outside of the cake using dark chocolate icing or buttercream. You don’t need to make this look too perfect as a rustic vibe is just fine for this cake.
Decorate the top of the cake with chocolate-covered strawberries and a wooden cake topper. Serve with a side of whipped cream.
Ferrero Rocher Cake
The prettiest, most golden cake you’ll ever want. This is a truly simple take on our chocolate cake recipe below. Allow your finished cakes to cool and frost between the layers using dark chocolate icing.
Next, frost the outside of the cake with more dark chocolate icing, taking care to make it look a little rustic rather than too smooth.
Add edible gold flakes and balls of ferrero rocher to the top of the cake. These look best placed in a circle around the cake. If you can get golden sugarpaste to write with, use it to add a message. Alternatively, a premade golden cake topper with the birthday girl’s name or age will look great, too.
Heart-Shaped Chocolate Cake
If all else fails, a heart-shaped cake is always a great choice. It couldn’t be easier to bake this either. Just use a heart-shaped cake tin to bake our easy chocolate cake recipe.
If you can, make two layers so you can frost between them or add jam. Next, frost the entire cake with sumptuous dark chocolate icing or buttercream.
Decorate this simple cake with some lovely white chocolate writing. You can look at our birthday message ideas below for inspiration. Keep this one simple, as the pretty heart shape will speak for itself.
If you really must add more detail, edible gold flakes look luxurious on the cake. Organic, unsprayed rose buds look very romantic next to the cake.
Simple Chocolate Birthday Cake Designs
Let’s face it, you can’t really go wrong with chocolate birthday cake. If you pick good quality chocolate or cocoa and follow our recipe below, you’re half-way to a truly great cake.
Start by selecting the chocolate you want to use. There are several different types to choose from: dark chocolate, which has the highest percentage of cocoa solids.
There’s milk chocolate, which contains powdered, liquid or even condensed milk. White chocolate is made of sugar, milk, and cocoa butter rather than any cocoa solids.
Gianduja chocolate contains hazelnut butter and is a little reminiscent of Nutella. Ruby chocolate is made using relatively newfound Ruby cocoa beans.
Selecting the right type of chocolate for your bake will inform how your finished cake will taste. Darker chocolate tends to be more bitter in taste, with some having an almost savory taste.
Lighter chocolates and types such as Gianduja tend to be much sweeter. As a rule of thumb, the higher quality chocolate you choose to use, the better, regardless of its sweetness. The same goes for cocoa powder.
As for designing your perfect birthday cake: you can follow any of our easy design tips above. Alternatively, keep things really simple by frosting your entire cake using a good quality chocolate buttercream or frosting. Then add chocolates or candies of your choice to decorate.
Children’s chocolates tend to be popular with adults, too. You can also add the likes of Ferrero Rocher or Raffaelo, which look beautiful around a circular cake. Alcohol-filled pralines or fruit make great cake decorations as well.
To summarize: Take your time baking a great chocolate cake and use the best quality ingredients you can find. It’s easy to decorate a good cake with some simple additions and the delicious taste alone is sure to impress.
Alternatives to a Chocolate Birthday Cake
Let’s face it, not everyone likes birthday cake, and not everyone is confident in their cake-making skills. That’s nothing to be ashamed of either, as there are plenty of great alternatives available.
Below are some of our top choices to surprise a special someone with — all equally as chocolatey, of course.
You can easily turn our basic recipe below into 24 standard cupcakes instead. Just divide the batter into 24 cupcake papers and bake.
They’ll need a little less time in the oven as they’re smaller, but will come out just as moist and tasty. Once they’ve cooled you can add chocolate frosting to each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles or
Crepes are easily made following a recipe or using a box mix. The best way to serve them is to stack them on a plate so they keep nice and warm.
Serve with a selection of chocolate sauces and chocolate chunks. Offer a buffet-style assortment of fruits, cream, and candies for guests to add as well. Think M&M’s or Kinder-chocolate pieces — perfection.
Waffles are another easy to make birthday breakfast staple. They can be whipped up from scratch using an easy batter recipe and a waffle mold or waffle maker.
Alternatively, you can buy readymade waffles to warm in your oven or toaster. As above, add a selection of chocolate sauces, cream, fruit, and other spreads for a buffet-style birthday treat.
Happy Birthday Messages on Chocolate Cakes: Quotes & Captions
The best birthday messages are simple yet personal. There’s only so much space on a cake, and you’ll want to add something that’s just right. Here are some ideas for short messages you can add to your cakes.
- ‘Happy birthday lovely sister/brother/wife/husband’
- ‘Happy birthday to you, name’
- ‘Vintage 1987’ (or the year of their birth)
- ‘Happy 50th birthday’ (or the age they’re celebrating)
Birthday Gift Ideas for Chocolate Lovers
If the recipient of your birthday cake loves chocolate in general, there are plenty of gifts to choose from. Chocolate-themed birthday presents are varied and wonderful.
You don’t need to spend a huge amount either, as there’s truly something for every budget. But don’t just take our word for it, here are some of the best birthday gift ideas for chocolate lovers.
Personalized box of chocolates: at the bottom end of the budget, this is a cheap yet lovely little gift. Online retailers such as Etsy offer personalizable chocolate boxes.
You pay a small price to get a custom birthday message. This is then printed on top of the box of chocolates of your choice. Done.
Hot chocolate gift set: you might even wish to assemble this yourself. Buy a lovely mug for the recipient’s hot chocolate, as well as an assortment of cocoa and/or chocolate to melt into a cup of milk. Add a lovely message and you’re done.
Chocolate bouquet: this is another gift you can easily create yourself. To make it, you’ll need an assortment of large chocolate bars and a small box.
Use the box to position the bars poking out of the top. Tape several bars together if you need to make them appear longer. Add ribbons and gift paper to give the illusion of a bouquet of chocolates.
Fancy chocolates: if all else fails, you can always buy a box of gourmet chocolates. There are plenty of small-scale chocolate manufacturers who create beautiful pralines and chocolate bars. Some of these are a little pricier, but they’re well worth it and you can support a small business as well.
Basic Recipe for a Chocolate Birthday Cake: A Simple Guide
Chocolate birthday cake should be moist, fluffy, and most of all chocolatey. This recipe is all of those and more. Enjoy with chocolate frosting or buttercream and plenty of whipped cream.
If you suffer from food allergies or intolerances, you can easily substitute the eggs for aquafaba or yogurt, the milk for a dairy-free milk, and the flour for a gluten-free one.
- 2 cups of all-purpose or cake flour
- 2 cups of sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 1.5 tsps baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp coffee powder
- 1 cup of milk
- 0.5 cup of vegetable or canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 1 cup of boiling water
Here’s how you do it:
- Preheat your oven to 350 F and prep two 9-inch round cake pans by greasing them with butter or vegetable oil.
- Mix the dry ingredients first. Whisky the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda, cocoa, salt, and coffee powder.
- Add in the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.
- Use a hand or stand mixer and whisk slowly, adding the boiling water while you do so.
- Divide the batter into the two prepared tins and bake for 30-35 mins. If you insert a toothpick into the finished cakes, it should come out clean. They should look softly browned and be springy to the touch.
Allow your freshly baked cakes to cool fully, then decorate using one of our tips and ideas above.