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Custom Cakes Without the Stress

32 min
60 min+
1 cake

My husband told me a story from when he was little in the Boy Scouts. They had a cake walk event and each scout was required to bring a cake to sell at the event. Side note on my husband, he is both very skilled at construction and awfully creative and resourceful. So his 8 year old brain started brainstorming. He gathered his Micro Machines and created a whole race track scene on top of his cake. The next cake scene was made of excavators and back hoes. Construction site cake created.

Then he made his parents buy his cakes so he could get his toys back. 🙂

My inspiration was born for busy moms everywhere!

Full disclosure- I can make a delicious dessert….but I am a terrible cake decorator. I cannot draw a character or create pretty designs on a cake, this is just not my skill set. But with fun celebrations, comes a fun cake. I figured out a way (okay, my husband’s story helped) to take a basic cake and make it look fun and impressive.

I recently made a chocolate cake for a friend, she was thinking of a dinosaur themed cake. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make a dinosaur out of frosting or fondant so I looked around our house to see what I could find. I happened upon some dinosaurs at the bottom of a basket (note to self- need to go through the ridiculous amount of toys we don’t need) and found some dinosaurs. Then went to Target (my first trip in person since being sheltered in place- it was glorious…and expensive) and in the dollar section, found these tiny pots with greenery. The plan was slowly coming together…..

I made my absolute favorite chocolate cake and frosted it with plain old milk chocolate frosting. Enter plastic dinosaurs, greenery and dinosaur tracks and we created a super fun, unique and special cake. The best part was that my daughter, Leah Kate, helped me decorate it and had such a good time. It was fun to be able to get her involved rather than being stressed about having to make a perfect frosting T-rex.


The Best Ever Chocolate Cake and Milk Chocolate Frosting

A simple cake recipe that is always a party winner!

Prep time: 30 min  |  Cook time: 32 min  |  Total: 60 min+

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Cake Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups black coffee, hot
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 10 ounces milk chocolate, melted and cooled slightly


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. In the mixer bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides as needed. Batter will be thin.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among pans. Bake for 20 minutes and then rotate pans in the oven. Bake for another 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (or with a few crumbs on it). Cool the cakes (in the pans) completely, then carefully turn them out onto racks to cool completely.
  5. Frosting: In a stand mixer, beat the butter for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing until combined after each cup. Add salt.
  6. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix on low until fully mixed. Frost the cooled cake.


Make sure to have your own piece.


Tag @LOLOHomeKitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #lolohk


My daughter’s 3rd birthday, we did a zoo theme which was such a fun party to create. I made a two layer funfetti cake, frosted with my favorite cream cheese frosting recipe and topped with plastic animals. Hmmm…needed something a little more special. Oh, I know, teeny tiny party hats. The CUTEST things ever! I’m obsessed! I bought these tiny hats on Etsy and they were perfect! They just elevated this simple cake and made it special. Leah loved it!

I am so in love with this cake trick because it’s something simple that anyone can do! You don’t have to be artistic or a skilled baker. Homemade cake or boxed, jar frosting or whipped up yourself. Any way you do it, you can create a fun cake that will be memorable for your kiddo.

Below is the recipe for my favorite chocolate cake and milk chocolate frosting. Or be sure to check out my yellow cake or funfetti cake- both perfect for a celebration.

4 Responses

    1. You can use hot water in place of the coffee. (you don’t taste the coffee in the cake, it just brings out the chocolate flavor)

    1. They are, the bottom layer of the dinosaur one is two layers and then the the top layer I cut down to make a smaller size.

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