Chocolate Birthday Drip Cake

Birthday Cakes! :) 

I’ve done SO many birthday cakes in this style – something about those drips just adds such a fun but elegant element to birthday cakes!

The flavor and color options are basically endless, but chocolate cakes with ganache or colored drips seem to be suuper popular! Instructions and links to all my favorite recipes are below!


(Disclosure: As a way to keep my kitchen stocked with butter, sugar, and flour I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn a commission by linking to and affiliated sites.
My posts often contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!) 


Chocolate Cake Layer Recipe:
Vanilla Cake Layer Recipe:  
Grasshopper Mint Cake Recipe:

Especially if you’re short on time, there’s zero shame in falling back on boxed cake mixes! I usually use two mixes for 3 8-inch cake layers – to get a richer cake flavor I replace the oil with unsalted butter, the water with buttermilk(or buttermilk powder with water) and I add an extra two eggs!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:  (or my favorite white vanilla frosting recipe is here!) 
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
5 ½ -6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
4-6 Tablespoons milk
1 T vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with cocoa powder and milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined. 

Additional Supplies/Equipment:
- 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles)
- Large piping bag & tip – I use this set of reusable large bags & tips more than almost any of my others!
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)
- Cake topper (if desired) – these can be purchased very inexpensively online!

Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting.
Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.

Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer. I usually do this with my large offset spatula.
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.

Chocolate ganache drip:
12 oz (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz (1 ½ cups) heavy whipping cream
Meanwhile, make your ganache. Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium/low heat. Pour over chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and silky.
(If desired, this can also be done in the microwave – combine ingredients and microwave on half power in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until smooth).

If you’d rather add a colored drip to your cake, candy melt drips are super easy and work beautifully!

Candy Melt Drip:
- 4 oz candy melts (I use the Wilton brand)
- 2 ½ Tablespoons heavy whipping cream (the brand I usually use comes from Costco and is syrup-level thick; you may need a half Tablespoon less depending on the thickness of your heavy cream!)

This recipe is very similar to my favorite white chocolate ganache recipe – you’re basically using candy melts instead of white chocolate to make a very similar drip ganache. Place heavy cream and candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on 50% power in 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring in between.

I often use small zip-lock bags to pipe drips, but I’ve used squeeze bottles before and I find them to be the easiest to work with.

When your candy melt mix has cooled to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid – transfer it to a squeeze bottle or piping or small ziplock bag. A spoon will work if you don’t have either of those; I’ve just found spoons to be a little bit more difficult to work with.

Slowly drizzle ganache around the upper edge of your cake, pausing every inch or so to let more fall in a drip down the side of the cake. Return cake to the fridge or freezer to set the drips.

Top your cake with whatever you’d like! I’m a huge fan of frosting swirls – you’ll just need a piping bag and tip attachment of your choice – and I love the look of cake toppers! These can be purchased online often very inexpensively depending on your preference!


Make this recipe? Let me know  how it went - or find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

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