Juju’s Chocolate Birthday Cake

“Bandido!” My late grandfather would scream, with his wide smile and the most endearing eyes, to my youngest son, if he were here to see how Julian messes up the kitchen.

As soon as a thought of cooking appears in my head, he drags a chair, climbs on top, asks  what are WE going to make, and without waiting for an answer announces that it is “yo, yo, YO…,” who will cook and experiment. I shall be of assistance.

Needless to say, it takes much longer than needed and the kitchen looks messier than my husband likes to see it. But if you ask me, it is worth every extra second and extra spoonful of crumbs on the floor.

Well then, what cake to make for his birthday? Of course chocolate! His brothers tell me with a tone of disbelief. However, I know it has to be spongy, fluffy, gooey, sticky, moist, extra messy, sweet and truly decadent to be worthy of the three candles in its middle.

Since I will count with not only one, but probably three, enthusiastic sous chefs, the cake should have a fun and simple preparation process.

After playing around with a couple ideas, a cross between my oldest sons’ favorite camp cake and what I remember from my growing up birthday cakes from Sanborns (a Mexican store famous for making incredible cakes) is what creates: Juju’s birthday cake!

Thank the heavens and the seas for the wonderful surprises one can encounter while playing in the kitchen. It just never stops! This one is definitely worth a try.

Juju’s Birthday Cake

Pastel de chocolate de Juju

Recipe Yield

10 to 12 people

Cooking time

40 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.50 from 4 votes


For the cake:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs preferably at room temperature

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles optional

To Prepare

To prepare the cake:

  • Grease a 9x13-inch cake pan with butter. Cover the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large pot, over medium heat, pour the water, stir in the cocoa and add the butter. Let it heat for a few minutes, stirring now and then, until it all dissolves. Remove the pot from the heat.
  • In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In another, beat the eggs and combine them with the sour cream.
  • In turns, add a quarter of the flour mix and then a quarter of the sour cream mix at a time into the pot with the cocoa mixture; stir with a spatula, mixing all of the ingredients as you move along. Pour onto the greased cake pan and place in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out barely moist but not wet.
  • Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool a bit while you prepare the frosting.

To prepare the frosting:

  • In a saucepan, over medium heat, pour in the milk and the vanilla. Stir in the cocoa and add the butter. Heat and stir until everything is all dissolved and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the confectioners' sugar. Thoroughly mix with a spatula and set aside.

To assemble:

  • Run the tip of a knife around the edges of the cake. Turn the cake onto a platter and gently remove the parchment paper. Pour the still-warm frosting over the cake and gently spread it out with a spatula. If you wish, you may add sprinkles of your choice before the frosting hardens (NOTE: The cake is soft and moist the first couple days, then hardens like a brownie afterwards if left uncovered-- perfect for packing in school lunches).


58comments inJuju’s Chocolate Birthday Cake

  1. Nicole

    Aug 17

    Thank you for this recipe. I’ve been making it since 2016/2017 and it’s wonderful everytime! I have a Juju too….Julien.😍

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 04

      Yay, glad to hear our Julians like this recipe Nicole 🙂

  2. Lino Ferraez

    May 19

    Creo que lo haré cambiando el azúcar por miel de agave, y en uno de tus programas en lugar de crema usaste leche condensada, cuál es la diferencia?
    Luego te cuento como me quedó.

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 23

      Yo hago este pastel usando crema porque lo hace super moist y no leche condensada porque creo que lo haria demasiado dulce Lino. Platicame que tal te quedo con miel de agave, saludos!

  3. Michelle

    May 20

    Hi Pati,
    What type of cocoa do you suggest?

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 20

      Hi Michele, I do not have a preferred brand, as long as is 100% unsweetened cocoa, all of them are pretty good 😉

  4. Maria de Lourdes Zendejas

    Aug 23

    Deliciosos. Gracias for compartir la receta. Quisiera however, la receta para la Jericaya que te vi preparar en uno de
    tus cooking shows. Me la mandas porfa. Mi email es . De antemano gracias. Me encanta tu show. Te ando haciendo PR por todo San Antonio, Tx. con mis amigas para que se sintonicen a tu show on PBS.
    Maria de Lourdes Zendejas


    Aug 03

    I want the recipe for pumpkin seed brittle

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 05

  6. Swizzart

    Jan 09

    After following the instructions for the frosting I had to toss it out because it was clumpy. Adding the butter last was the problem, it wasn’t something you’d want to finish off a cake with. I remade the frosting again starting by melting the butter first, and then it came out perfect!

    1. Pati

      Jan 10

      Oh to make the frosting you want to put all of the ingredients over medium heat until everything is all dissolved and combined…and I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake!

  7. Anonymous

    Apr 24


    1. Pati

      Apr 27


  8. Beverly A Miller

    Feb 12

    I love your show, you have a beautiful family. I saw a show today on Create, you made a chocolate flour less cake for your husband, I would love to try this recipe if you would post it. Thank you .

    1. Pati

      Feb 13

  9. Donna Ramirez

    Jul 20

    I have just seen your show for the first time today, and I loved it! (7/20/14). You made a chocolate cake for your husband that had powdered sugar on top instead of frosting. It looked delicious, but I can’t find the recipe on your website! Am I just not seeing it? I’d love to make it!

    1. Pati

      Jul 21

      Hola Donna, I hope you try the chocolate cake! Here is the recipe:

  10. edith

    Jul 10

    HI Pati,

    Love your show,your personalty as well. Keep it up!
    I did this cake but when i poured the frosting over the cake, it absorbed and did not leave a smooth topping like the photo.Can it be that the cake was too warm??

    1. Pati

      Jul 16

      Hi Edith, Thank you so much! I’m sorry to hear the cake didn’t work out – it could have been that the frosting got too hot after the butter melted. I just posted a video, you can see it here:

  11. Laura Brooks

    May 16

    I made it with 1 tsp of cinnamon and it was amazing! Thanks for a fantastic recipe for my collection:-)

  12. yulia

    May 13

    Hi Pati i have tried some of your recipes and they are delicious i love your blogg keep up the good work and recipes.

    1. Pati

      May 13

      Thank you, Yulia!

  13. Laura Brooks

    May 12

    Hi Pati,
    The cake looks amazing but what do you think about adding cinnamon? I think it would make an awesome cake just that much more awesome. I’m gonna try it-I’ll let you know how it come out.

    1. Pati

      May 12

      Yes! Please do and let me know.

  14. Judith

    Apr 26

    This cake looks delicious, but what is the measurement for the cocoa, is it 1 cup? The above printed recipe shows a question mark before the word Cocoa.
    Thank you!

    1. Pati

      Apr 28

      Hi Judith, It’s 2/3 cup cocoa. Thanks for pointing out the question mark – fixed it! Hope you try the recipe. 🙂

  15. myrt

    Feb 27

    We love you and your show

    1. Pati

      Feb 27

      Thank you!

  16. Eva

    Feb 25

    Look delicius

  17. E.Roxana

    Dec 28

    I made juju birthday chocolate cake and took it for desert to our friends house. It was fabulous. Needless to say, I did not have any left to bring home. I will make one for us tomorrow. It was the first time I made it and it turn out perfect. Thank u.
    I also tried the impossible chocolate flan for my husband office party. Big hit.
    Mil gracias.

    1. Pati

      Dec 30

      Thank you for trying my recipes & sharing them with your friends!

  18. Elizabeth

    Jun 21

    Best thing about this recipe: in less than an hour and a half, the cake was baked and frosted, the kitchen was cleaned up, and I had greedily finished my first slice!

    1. Pati

      Jun 22

      Hahaha!! So happy to hear that!

  19. Torres family

    Jun 16

    Pati love your show my husband and I try not to miss it. We love all the food n today we’re making the cake. Love the book.

    1. Pati

      Jun 16


  20. Cindy

    Apr 02

    Oh my goodness, I love your show…I absolutely cannot believe you we’re not a cook for years and you changed careers, after a hard day work and rushing home to cook dinner , I love to watch your show.. The energy, the warmth between you and your sister is truly heartwarming….thanks so much for sharing your recipes… You truly are an amazing first class chef!

    1. Pati

      Apr 03

      Gracias Cindy!!!

  21. Luz

    Mar 19

    Hola pati!
    Is the sour cream a must have in this cake??? That is the only ingredient that i don’t have and i really wanted to make it. Or is there something else i can substitute it for?
    Btw i love all ur recipes:)

  22. Natalia

    Feb 14

    Hi, pati, first time I made a cocolate cake from scratch and my sons looooved it…
    Thank you for the recipe!,,,,
    I saw it yesterday on tv and fell in love 🙂

    1. Pati

      Feb 15

      Thank you, Natalia!! I’m glad you decided to try my recipe. 🙂

  23. Beatriz

    Jan 16

    Hola Pati,
    My son and I made the chocolate cake and we loved it! I enjoy your show and hope to attempt more recipes.


    1. Pati

      Jan 17

      Thank you, Beatriz!! I hope you do get the chance to try more recipes!

  24. Lisa

    Jan 01

    We love this cake!! My six year old daughter made it for the first time the other day, with help from mom and dad, and it was wonderful!!

  25. Millie

    Dec 18

    I love your show and your accent~ great! I am going to make the Mexican wedding cookies tomorrow for Christmas along with others. Can’t wait to try them.

  26. DeeDee

    Nov 30

    I have a similar recipe and it’s called
    a Texas Sheet Cake. We love it!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 03

      Thank you, DeeDee! I hope you’ll try this recipe, too!!

  27. Pia Pedersen

    Oct 22

    I saw your show for the first time yesterday – the school lunch episode, and made the cake today. It is delicious!
    The next time I get to the grocery store, I will buy some buns and make the sandwich for my son’s lunch. He will love it, I’m sure!
    I have a girlfriend from Mexico, so I plan to bring her some cake tomorrow. I will be sure to share your website with her also.
    Cheers from Canada

  28. Marilyn

    Sep 14

    I love this post – the deep chocolate cake, your grandfather’s voice, your beautiful family. And that picture at the end! Happy Birthday to Juju – lucky to have a mom like you.

  29. Ann Hallman

    Jul 17

    Just got information on your website and recipes….I got to say I know her and use to teach her Pilates. I am dying to try that chocolate cake recipe.
    Hope I get to see one of your classes.
    Ann Hallman

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 21

      Hi Ann, Let me know how that cake goes, and of course you should come to one of the classes!

  30. Jessica Lang

    Jul 04

    Pati, I made the chocolate cake and everyone loved it! Thanks for the recipe

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 04

      Hey Jessica!!! That’s great news! My pleasure to post recipes… keep on trying more…

  31. Nathalie

    May 28

    Pati!! I just have one word for your blog: AMAZING!!!
    I definitively have to try this cake with Gabriel as he is a real chocoholic (and Jacques seems to be following his steps). I will let you know how it all turns out…
    Un abrazote

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 28

      Nathalie, Thank you! Yes, let me know! Try it with colored sprinkles on top… Hugs!

      1. Nathalie

        Aug 26

        Thanks Pati, everyone (specially the kids) loved this cake!!
        We made it in Switzerland and Spain 😉 So now you have new followers for your website and recipes in Europe!!!!

  32. Pati Jinich

    May 26

    Many, many thanks Ana Maria!!! Yes! Let me know what you think once you try the recipes in your kitchen… And let me know when you are going to be making some of those orange/chocolate cookies!

  33. Ana Maria Cordoba

    May 25

    Looooooved it Pati! The blog is totally awesome!!!! Loved the design and the photography. Now I have to try the recipes. Keep up the good work!!! Hugs, Ana Maria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.