Construction Themed Birthday Cake

Chocolate Cake


  • Chocolate Cake – I made a 10-inch cake and 1 8-inch cake
  • This recipe also makes two 9-inch layers, three 8-inch layers, or roughly 36 cupcakes and is my go to chocolate cake recipe for a moist and chocolaty cake each time.
  • 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups hot brewed coffee
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • For Decorations:
  • Reece's Pieces
  • Whopper candy pieces
  • 6 chocolate Oreo cookies finely crushed in food processor or in a bag (for "dirt")
  • construction toys
  • Cut the child's birthday age number on a stiff piece of paper to use as a template


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease cake pans or line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a small bowl, add chocolate and hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Allow to cool and set aside.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a large liquid measuring cup or bowl add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and mix well. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon-colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil mixture and mix until incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add flour mixture and gently beat until just combined.

Divide batter between pans or cupcake liners. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes for cakes, and 19 to 25 minutes for cupcakes, or, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool cakes completely in pans on racks. Run a knife around edges of pans and gently remove cakes to cooling racks. Cakes may be made one day ahead and kept wrapped in plastic wrap. Remove cupcakes to cooling rack and store when cool.

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting:

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

2 lbs. powdered sugar

1 cup cocoa powder

3 sticks butter, room temperature

5 tablespoons (or more) half and half, room temperature

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons vanilla

In a microwave safe bowl, add chocolate chips and melt for 20 seconds at a time stirring between each time. When completely melted and smooth, set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, add butter and cream well. Add cooled melted chocolate and mix well. Add powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, half and half and salt and start out slowly mixing until well combined. Add vanilla, and beat very well for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape the bowl. The butter cream should be light and fluffy and have a good taste of butter and a hint of salt in the background. Add a touch more half and half until it is the right consistency. Use right away.

Line a large round or rectangular board with foil to hold the cake. Place the larger cake on the board and tuck pieces of waxed paper all around to keep the board clean. Frost the cake. Tear a piece of the 8-inch cake so it looks like the excavator has dug into the side of the "mountain". Frost the cake and stick Reece's pieces to the hole and stick the Whopper candy all around the bottom layer of the cake and most of the 2nd layer. Place the paper number on top cake and sprinkle the "dirt" all over the top. Carefully remove the paper to reveal the number. Remove the waxed paper. Add the toys around.

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