Her recipe for chocolate cake is at once light and dense, chocolately but not overbearing, and fluffy without being spongy. I think a simple vanilla buttercream is the perfect frosting for this cake (keep reading for the quickest buttercream frosting recipe!).
I adjusted the baking time but only because I was baking twelve mini-cakes instead of the larger cakes the original recipe makes.
Since the kids were taking these cakes home with them I wanted to make something different for the cupcakes we'd be eating at the party. I've always been a little bored by plain vanilla cake but love Barefoot Contessa's coconut cupcakes. They taste like vanilla cupcakes but with a little extra "something."
While the cream cheese frosting sprinkled with additional coconut that the Barefoot Contessa suggests is delicious, for a party with preschoolers I went with the same vanilla buttercream I used on the chocolate cakes, just tinted pink.
And my favorite natural way to tint frosting pink? Substitute room temperature juice from thawed frozen raspberries for the cream in the buttercream recipe. You can also use a drop of red food coloring, of course. A dab of green keeps it from being too electric.
So without further adieu, here are links to the recipes I used:
As much as I love these cakes, I actually think I have a new #1 favorite chocolate birthday cake after the family party I had for my daughters last weekend. You'll have to wait until next Friday for details but it includes dark chocolate, caramel, and sea salt. To die for.