Do-Overs and The Perfect Cake Recipe

We're big believers in second chances. A few weeks ago it was our anniversary. We'd already celebrated, so Shaun didn't think we needed to do anything special, while I, being a bit of an over-doer, expected the day to still be pretty special. We spent the first half of the day traveling home from my grandma's, and came home to find both of my siblings pretty living with us during the classic "homeless week" in our little college-student-filled town where students have to move out of apartments but can't move into new ones until cleaning and repairs are done. Anyway, I was quite frustrated as the day progressed that it was not turning out to be remotely special, and that we didn't even have privacy or anything utterly romantic going. At the end of the day, I was super sad, and decided we needed a "do-over." And so we planned a different day to celebrate our anniversary--six days later, "six years and six days." Just because. And I'm so glad we did. It wasn't anything extensive, as we'd already had our big Park City overnight date at the spa when my mom was in town to watch Bean. This time we just had a low-key day at home, with yummy food, including the most AMAZING cake ever, pictured above. Thank goodness for do-overs! I'm so grateful for my amazing husband, and for the chance we had to retry our celebration. I love that man, and am so glad we both said yes six years ago!

And because the cake was so utterly romantic and delicious, here is the recipe: 

Simple Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup organic white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (go scant)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil (light olive, melted coconut or canola)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease and lightly flour a 9x1-1/2-inch round or 8x8x2-inch baking pan.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and beat 2 minutes more. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Frost with whipped vanilla buttercream (recipe below) and garnish with shaved dark chocolate (I like Private Selection 70% cacao or Lindt 90% cacao) and fresh raspberries. 

Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

  • 3 Tablespoons Flour 
  • 1/2 cup milk (I always use 2%)
  • 1/2 cup real butter (if you use unsalted, add sea salt to taste when you finish making the frosting)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar  
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

1. Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. Let it cook, while stirring with a rubber spatula, until you can start to see the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until mixture has the consistency of a paste or thick pudding. Put in a small bowl and stick in the freezer to cool completely.

2. It an electric stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the butter and the sugar until fluffy and well-mixed (about 2 minutes-ish). Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture (make sure it's completely cool!) and the vanilla. Beat to combine and then scrape down the sides. Mixture will separate and look messy, keep beating! Continue beating until mixture comes together and is light and fluffy, about 7-8 minutes, but time varies. Take a sample of frosting between your fingers; frosting is done when light and fluffy and sugar granules are dissolved. Add sea salt if desired, mix to combine, and frost liberally, because this stuff is GOOD! 


  1. I totally would have demanded a do-over too, especially if it involved that cake. holy moly, that looks good!!!

  2. Love the idea of a do-over. I might just have to steal it too—all our anniversary plans flopped a month ago. But it's never too late to celebrate!


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