My husband Joe makes the best cakes, so making a cake for his birthday is always a bit daunting. We absolutely love the Cinnamon Fudge Birthday Cake recipe, and it's one of his favorites to make for others, so I thought I'd try making one for him.
This cake is so chocolaty it borders on a brownie. The fudge sauce between the layers is decadent, and the whipped cream filling and topping add a lightness that balances it all perfectly. It's been my requested birthday cake for three years in a row!
The recipe basically has three parts: the cake, the fudge sauce, and the whipped cream middle and top layers. None are difficult to make.
First, prepare the pans. Grease the pan, including the edges...
Then, flour the pans by adding a 1/4 cup of flour or so, and tapping the sides and turning the pan until the bottom and sides are coated with flour.
Tap out as much excess flour as you can, and set the pans aside while you make the cake batter. You can also cut circles of parchment for the bottom of the cake pans as the recipe suggests. I forgot -- oops -- and my cake stuck a little -- so I recommend it. To do this, set the pan on a square of parchment and trace the bottom of the pan onto the paper. Then, cut out the circle which should fit nicely onto the pan bottom.
To make the cake layers, begin by mixing the dry ingredients together in a bowl with a fork or a whisk until well combined.
Next mix softened butter, sugar and oil in the mixer. It will get somewhat creamy but still be a little grainy. Scrape down the sides a few times with a spatula to make sure it is well combined.
Once you add the egg and vanilla, keep mixing at medium speed and it will get creamy.
Almost done! Now, alternate adding the flour mixture and then the coffee and buttermilk -- using about half of each at a time. Watch the mixer speed -- too fast and you'll have a face full of flour when adding the dry ingredients, or you'll get splashed when you add the coffee and buttermilk! Scrape down the sides with your spatula after each addition, and mix on low just enough to combine -- over mixing can create a tough cake. This is a dense fudgy cake, but you don't want to cross the line into 'chewy!'
Now, split the batter between your two cake pans and smooth it out with a spatula.
While the cake is in the oven, make your fudge sauce, which is essentially melting four ingredients together in a saucepan!
I used semisweet chocolate chips because I had them on hand, following the substitution table on the web site that says you can substitute 3 tablespoons of chips for each ounce of chocolate. Stir gently as it's melting, and then put the melted mixture in the refrigerator for an hour or two to firm up a bit.
This is a good time to do the dishes. You'll likely have everything done before your cake is done. When the buzzer goes off after 30 minutes, use a cake tester or a toothpick to test for doneness -- the tester should come out clean with no raw batter. A reusable cake tester is a handy kitchen tool and costs only a couple dollars.
While the cake cools in the pans for 10 minutes, go ahead and make the whipped cream filling. Whip the cream to soft peaks, then add the spice and powdered sugar. Since we make this cake a lot, I decided to do something a little different for Joe's birthday and used an equal amount of cardamom in place of the cinnamon, in both the cake and the whipped cream. It gave the cake a chai-like flavor that was fantastic!
Whip the cream mixture to stiff-peak stage -- you want this to be firm and look almost like light fluffy frosting.
Put the whipped cream into the fridge while the cake cools completely. Once the cake has cooled for 10 minutes, loosen the sides with the blunt edge of a table knife...
...and carefully flip the cake onto the cooling rack. An easy way to do this is to place the rack upside down on top of the cake pan and then flip both over together so the cake pan ends up upside down on top of the rack. Then, just gently lift the cake pan off and, if you used parchment, gently peel it off the cake.
When the cake layers are completely cool, and the fudge filling has been chilling for at least an hour, set the bottom layer onto a plate or tray, top side down. The cooled cake is dense enough that you can pick it up carefully with two hands and move it to the plate. Pour the fudge onto the cake and smooth out with a spatula.
Next, carefully spread 1/2 the whipped cream on top of the fudge.
Now, flip the top layer of cake onto the filling. Since it is on the drying rack upside down, gently nudge it off the rack and onto your open palm. Now, with palms on either side of the cake...
... flip it so that it is right-side-up and lower it into position carefully. This is a nice firm cake so it's easy to work with and it stays together well.
Now top with the remaining whipped cream and add some candles. Voila! A masterpiece with fudge dripping down the sides! Refrigerate the cake until you're ready to serve it. As the recipe says, waiting an hour or two makes it easier to slice. If you're going to eat it within 2-3 hours, it is fine leaving it uncovered in the fridge.
Definitely a cake with character. Since Joe's birthday is the first day of spring, we added some flowers to the table. Happy Birthday, Dad!
The cake cuts like a dream after an hour or two in the fridge.
Try this Cinnamon Fudge Birthday Cake and let me know if it becomes a favorite for your family, too! I think it works equally well with cinnamon or cardamom. I'd love to hear your comments.
Stop back in a few days to read about Julie's cute bunny cookies, just in time for Easter baking.
Liz is paid to write for the Land O'Lakes Recipe Buzz™ Blog.