Yes, I agree with you. The decoration of this birthday (not mine) cake sucks. It is my first attempt at decorating a cake with frosting and beginner’s luck did not to assist me, this time. I can at least say I kept alive the family tradition of  hand-craft ugly cakes.

We Italians like to keep our food rustic and rough. I personally grew up in a family where the ugliness of the homemade birthday cake could only grow from year to year.  The word “frosting” was unknown. “Cake Boss” and the use of whipping cream was inconceivable. Our mums (I can speak for me and all the kids in the neighborhood) didn’t give a damn about the aesthetic and we kids born in the 80’s, couldn’t care less either: the concept of good aesthetic was pretty debatable at that time (when people tease their hair that much what can you expect?). So, provided a couple of candles were involved, we could celebrate with any form of edible shame.

Why do I publish something that is maybe worthy to be awarded with the honor of  “best unsightly cake of the day”? One and a half reason.

First, I’ll be truly happy if someone could take my cake in to consideration for this type of award. Any sort of award or consideration that can fill an empty space in my side banner is welcomed (especially the space I keep reserving to Foodgawker). The other half reason is the taste of the cake itself: I’d say very good. I mean this mountain of chocolate meets all the standards of a good chocolate cake. So you may find useful to look at the ingredients and be wise/smart enough to avoid a few mistakes I made and that I’m going to list below to spare you a disaster.


  1. Do not dare to touch the cake when it is hot or warm. Put your hands on ONLY when it’s cold. Once out of the oven, the cake needs its time to settle down and get a firm consistency. Don’t be impatient like me and wait at least 30 minutes (not 10 mins as stated in the recipe I’m linking to below) before thinking of moving it and 40 minutes before actually touching it.
  2. Do not use a spring form cake tin. I don’t tell you why, trust me, don’t do it.
  3. Do not use all the sugar reported in all the major recipes. So much sugar is unnecessary. I wish I added half cup of sugar less.

On the other hand a couple of things went really well so I’m going to share with you what made a positive impact on the taste of my cake.


  1. Make a batter according to this recipe: Midnight Sin Chocolate Cake.
  2. Fill this double chocolate cake with something fruity and not too sweet. Chocolate on chocolate is way too filling and nauseating, I believe. A thick cut orange spread with no added sugar by St. Dalfour is a great choice (I wish I added more than 284 gr). You can look for something similar and cheaper in your country.
  3. Use natural unrefined Molasses Sugar. Dark, intense, sweet and dense enough not to be required in great quantity. One and half cup is about right.
  4. Pour some Rum in the batter. It speaks of its place and adds a full bodied aroma without giving unwanted alcoholic flavors.

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Chocolate Birthday Cake with Rum and Thick-Cut Orange Filling


  • 1 1/2 cups molasses dark sugar
  • 4.5 g 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 69 g 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 5 g 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 237 ml 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 284 g thick-cut orange spread for the filling
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 g 2 teaspoons instant expresso powder or crystals
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs

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