Kids in the Kitchen: Mimi’s birthday cake

Obviously, today is a very special day. Some of you may remember that my son helped me make my birthday cake last year, and he really loved it, so I offered him the chance to help make his Mimi’s cake this year and he was very excited. 🙂  I checked in with my friend Lisi over at Lisi’s Luscious Desserts (she’s my go-to for all things baking), and she recommended a few recipes that Boo would have a fun time with.  So thanks, Lisi!

Chocolate Yogurt Muffin Cake with the frosting from Double Fudge Frosted Brownies was what we ended up with.  Photos to come of the process for us!

Notes with baking:  This was a special occasion.  As I am not a huge baker (although I always enjoy the end result), I don’t stock super high quality vanilla and chocolate. However, my advice: when it comes to your mother-in-law, don’t skimp. I made a trip out to get some madagascar vanilla (the best that I know of) and used ghiradelli cocoa powder (I like it over the regular Hershey’s in the grocery store).  Maybe Lisi will come back to recommend a better cocoa powder? 🙂


8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder (natural)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk choc chips, and/or white chocolate chips – about 1-2 cups total

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar with paddle attachment or beaters – until light and fluffy – about 4-5 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Add the vanilla and scrape, and beat again.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and add to the batter in thirds, alternating with the yogurt (in halves).  Mix on lowest speed or by hand and until just incorporated.

Pour into two 9″ round cake pans. Place a few chips on top of the batter. Small children may sneak chips into their mouths (see below). Older children might be aghast at melted chocolate in their hands when they painstakingly place the chips one by one on top of each cake layer.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Your oven may vary. I had to check multiple times since this recipe was geared towards muffins and not bigger cakes.  A fine example of monitoring your cakes is below:


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, but into tablespoons
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 ounce milk chocolate
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the butter and both types of chocolate in a medium saucepan and heat over super low heat (or in a double boiler).  Stir constantly – you want to melt this – not cook or burn it.

Transfer the melted chocolate and butter to the bowl of an electric mixer and add half the confectioners’s sugar, the salt and half the cream.  Beat with the paddle at low speed, then add the remaining confectioners’ sugar, cream an then the vanilla.  Beat on medium speed until the frosting is nice and smooth and shiny.

  1. Okay, so you can tell from the photos that we had a really great time making this cake! 🙂 Thanks to Lisi for the great recipes. Notes:

    1) That frosting is killah. You must say it with a Boston accent. I will now make the brownies JUST as a vehicle for more frosting. Nom. I had to double the batch to cover the cake and that was kinda thin. You may want to triple it. And lick out the bowl with what’s left. FYI.

    2) Kids overdid it a bit with the chocolate chips. :)It’s ok. We used a plain greek yogurt and the cake was so moist. It was rich, sure, but so moist and light in texture that it really was lovely. I’d recommend keeping this as a cupcake recipe, though. Sliced as a cake, it was a bit much because of the richness! However, my MIL asked for chocolate on chocolate, so that’s what she got (and note, she finished her whole slice and took some home, so you know it was good). Both kids raved about the cake, too. I really liked using greek yogurt in the cake, as well. I will be trying this one again as Lisi intended, as muffins.

    So muffins…and brownies… Lisi, you’re killing me. 🙂

  2. you are so funny. i’m so glad the cake and brownies were successful and that you went and bought the good stuff! and ghird cocoa is good. others to try…callebaut, scharfenberger and valrhona.

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