One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Mocha Buttercream Frosting

A few weeks back, my college suite mate (wow that makes me feel old) reached out to see if I could contribute a baked-goods gift basket for a fundraiser. The event was scheduled the same weekend we were celebrating my in-laws birthdays. They were born only one day and one year apart - talk about destiny! We had planned to take them out to dinner and bake them cake for dessert.

The hubby looked at my crazy eyes and knew... I wasn't going to back down from either task.

This tight rope walk required laser focus on the schedule. Dry ingredients were premixed and ready to go in Tupperware; Mike even rolled up his sleeves and made the cookie dough. Starting Wednesday night all the way up until Saturday morning, each recipe was baked in batches. We ended up with four sweet treats for the gift basket and a darling chocolate cake for his folks. It was surprisingly stress free thanks to all the advanced planning.

The main reason this feat was achievable was the selection of smart, simple recipes. I didn't want to cut corners but I also knew I couldn't drive myself crazy with multi-day instructions. Hence, the birthday chocolate cake of choice is this One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Mocha Buttercream frosting. Using one bowl cuts back on mess and gets the cake in the oven quickly. In and out mission.

Additionally, when it comes to baking for a small crowd (four to six people), I prefer making cakes in 6-inch round pans. Leftovers are great but I don't want that temptation hanging around the house. Plus, tiny cakes are hella cute and classy! They behave how a proper young lady should-  leaving you wanting more without giving away too much.

This recipe is from Hummingbird High (my first time on this site) who adapted it from the cook book,  One Bowl Baking. The key to making the batter is to not over-mix or else the cake will be heavy. The texture has a slight crumb to it and does not have bold chocolate flavor since it's purely cocoa powder. I would not say that it's dry but it is not moist like other luscious and decadent chocolate cakes that I've made in the past. It got the job done but it's not one of my favorite cakes.

What holds this cake down? The creamy, dreamy mocha buttercream. It's like having a built in glass of chocolate milk as you eat a cookie! The consistency is silky smooth and keeps that slight crumb together. In my opinion, this frosting makes the cake. It's very easy to frost and holds up beautifully. If it gives you any trouble, pop it in the fridge the firm up.

Fill the cake with pure frosting or add a little texture with chocolate chips, crumbled oreos, or toasted halzenuts.

To garnish the cake, I made cute little chocolate hearts out of melted chocolate chips. Simply melt the chocolate and pour into a piping bag with a number 2 tip. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (*if you're in a hurry, pre-chill the cookie sheet so the hearts harden faster). On the parchment paper, do a couple test hearts to make sure that the chocolate isn't too warm to keep shape. To draw the heart, write the letter V but squeeze a second longer on the top two points to form dots. You'll get the hang of it after a couple of tries. Anytime it gets too messy, pop the cookie sheet in the freezer for a few minutes to give yourself a break.

The super time-saver recipe can be found on Hummingbird High: One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Mocha Buttercream Frosting.