Sunday Recipe: The Best Birthday Cake Ever

So decadent it could only be for celebrating a birthday. 

Who ever said it was sad to make your own birthday cake was wrong.

Here’s the thing about baking your own birthday cake: it ensures that you are in full control of what you are eating to celebrate your day. No crumbly cupcakes because your friend forgot that you actually hate cupcakes, no overly sweet processed frosting because your neighbor only had time to go to the bakery department of the chain grocery store and no half-eaten chocolate mint ice cream cake left in your freezer for the next six months.

Another great thing about birthday cakes? You can make it and not even tell anyone, leaving an entire cake to yourself. No one has to know, it’s your birthday after all.

My mother has made me this cake on many a birthday, and I have no shame in making it myself because it’s one of the most amazing baked goods I have ever tasted. Like many traditional Swedish cakes it employs whipping cream instead of frosting, which if you ask me, every cake should do. This is no cake that’s masked as health food, it’s simply a cake. Not vegan, not low fat, not full of omega 3s… because you know what? It’s your day, and you deserve to eat a chocolate, hazelnut, whipped cream masterpiece.

Did I say today was my birthday? Shhhh….

Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Birthday Cake


For the cake:

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 100 grams hazelnuts
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar

For topping:

  • Whipped cream
  • Hazelnuts
  • Cocoa powder


Cream together butter and sugar. Add in egg yolks one at a time and mix thoroughly. Mix in flour, baking powder and milk.

Grease and flour two circular 9″ baking pans and pour even amounts of batter into each. Chop hazelnuts and sprinkle on top, followed by chocolate chips.

To make the meringue, whip the egg whites until stiff, and carefully fold in sugar. Spread over hazelnuts and chocolate chips in the baking pans.

Bake at 325F for about 40 minutes.

Let cool in the baking pans before removing. Run a butter knife around the edge of the cakes to loosen them and remove carefully. Place one on a large plate and cover with a layer of whipped cream. If you want, add in a layer of fresh raspberries or blackberries here. Cover with second layer of cake and cover entire thing with whipping cream.

Garnish with cocoa powder and hazelnuts. And a Swedish flag or two if you want to really be Scandinavian.

Want more food inspiration? Check out the rest of our Sunday Recipe series. 

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.