Birthdays and Chocolate Cake

Since the time I was a little kid (from the time I can remember), my father always bought me a chocolate cake for my birthdays. And somewhere along the line, the chocolate cake became an important part of the birthday ritual in my family. While I have deviated sometimes, for most of my husband Dave’s birthdays’, I always made him one or the other variation of a chocolate cake.

In 2010 October, I was supposed to travel to Los Angeles on work for 3-weeks and since I had all my paperwork ready, I could be asked to travel at a day’s notice. I desperately wished for it to be after Dave’s birthday and he fervently prayed for my travel to be after mine (which was a week after his birthday). The previous year, I had to travel to Connecticut 3 days before my birthday so Dave had arranged for a  chocolate cake to be delivered at my work place, so the entire floor heard about my birthday and the lady at the reception (where the cake was delivered) was telling another one, “You know her husband arranged for this cake from India”. Every woman I met on the floor thought it was awfully romantic! That wasn’t the end of it, when I reached my hotel room, I had two bunches of tulips and another bunch of Blue Irises (sent by my SIL) waiting for me! Sigh! Needless to say, I was all misty-eyed and deeply touched! Those flowers, lasted me a while and perked me up when I was back from office everyday for a week after. After such a great birthday spent alone, I wondered if I could ever have another birthday that matched up to this!

Back to 2010, I thankfully didn’t have to travel around his birthday, so I took an off from work and spent a whole lot of time in the kitchen, baking a chocolate cake and cooking the birthday dinner, tidying and beautifying the tiny two-bedroomed penthouse we lived in at that time. We had invited 3 friends over, one of whom was moving to Melbourne for good.

Despite baking for years now, I am always nervous about how a cake will turn out, will it rise and stay, or will it fall flat (as the cakes baked in microwaves do), will it break when flipping over? I had used my reliable rustic cake apparatus with the bundt mould and the circular aluminium container that holds the sand for the purpose. It didn’t let me down! In an hour’s time I had a gorgeous, moist, tall and brown Chocolate Bundt Cake. It tasted as good as it looked and we polished off the entire cake in 1.5 days :).


Here’s how I made it:

Rich Chocolate Cake (Not frosted)


Flour –  2 heaped cups

Sugar-  1 3/4 cup

Butter- 200gms

Eggs – 4

Dark Chocolate – 250 gms/Alternately you can use 2/3rd cup of Cocoa

Milk – 1 cup

Vanila essence – 1 tspn

Baking soda 1.5 tspn.

Baking powder – ½ tspn

Nuts (walnuts, roasted and sliced almonds, raisins) – A handful

2×9 inch or 8 inch square cake tin


Place the butter outside before you start the whole process so it melts at room temperature.

  • Sieve the flour, baking soda and baking powder and cocoa powder (if using) together thrice to make sure they mix well. Sieve them on newspapers so it’s less messy. Make sure to do this thrice to ensure they mix well.
  • Beat the eggs in a mixie or with a fork or electric mixer and keep aside.
  • Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar to it and keep mixing. Then add the flour-mix a little at a time to the butter-sugar mix, alternating it with adding the beaten eggs. When all the eggs are over, add the essence to the milk and add it to the cake mix. If you are using dark chocolate, melt it a little earlier in the microwave for a few seconds and when melted add it to the cake mix. Beat the whole mixture very well for at least 30 minute (if mixing manually).
  • Grease the cake tin (or the bake dish) liberally with oil and sprinkle a few walnuts (and any other nuts you want on it) on the tin. Pour the batter and bake using temperature and time specified by your oven manual. Make sure that you keep checking on it to ensure it doesn’t over cook. After the batter solidifies a little, you can sprinkle some nuts on the cake (optional).
  • You can stop the baking when a fork pierced into the cake, comes out clean. If you have batter sticking to it, then the cake is not done. If the fork comes out clean, it is done. Let the cake cool in the dish for some time.
  • Run a knife through the sides of the cake tin/dish to free the cake. Place a large plate facing downwards on the cake dish. Hold the plate with your palm and flip it so that the cake dish is on top and the plate below and the cake slides on the plate. Make sure to hold both the dish and the plate, while you are doing this.

This cake tastes better the day after it is made. I love my chocolate cake cold, so I always keep it in the fridge. I believe that the temperature in the fridge, helps the flavors to soak into the cake.

Oh yes, and I travelled to LA  one day after my birthday and I did cut a sexy chocolate cake, not made by Dave (thank god!) but with a message which he wrote himself (the snooty chef in the Patisserie refused to write/draw the message), i think it said, “Happy birthday to my Super-girl” with an outline of a super-woman on it :)!



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