So I’m not Ace of Cakes, as you can see, but my son requested a dinosaur cake for his third birthday (yesterday) and after finding a pattern online, all I had to do was come up with a cake recipe. First, though, I have a confession to make – I actually like cake mix cakes (gasp!) because they are so moist and well, I was raised on the things, what can I say? But I’ve been trying my hand at homemade cake recipes and sadly have been disappointed because they seem to be dry and lacking in flavor. For my son’s birthday, I was planning on using Holly’s latest cake recipe but when the birthday boy requested chocolate, well, I really wanted to find a chocolate cake recipe that met my expectations. I found one. Oh my, did I find it! I should have known my King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion would come through and it did. Welcome Devil’s Food Cake and the end of using chocolate cake mixes forever! This cake was rich, delicious and very, very moist. One of the major plus sides is it uses all-purpose flour, which works for me because I never buy cake flour. I loved it, and best of all, so did my son. Although I will confess that he would have eaten anything disguised as a green dinosaur so we really shouldn’t trust his judgment.

Dinosaur Birthday Cake

Dinosaur Birthday Cake

Note: I always, always weigh my ingredients if I have the option – which I did with this cake. If I would have gone off measurement alone (I conducted a little experiment), I would have added nearly 3/4 cup too much flour!


  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces) cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, and vanilla until light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes (don’t skimp this step!). In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa. If lumps remain, sift the mixture.
  3. Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly blend one third of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, then half the milk, another third of the flour, the remaining milk, and the remaining flour. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally throughout this process.
  4. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, two or three 8-inch round pans, or a 9 X 13-inch sheet cake pan (I used two 9-inch rounds and also put a circle of parchment paper on the bottom to ease in flipping). Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes (test after 28 minutes – don’t overbake!). Remove the cakes from the oven, cool them for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove from the pan.

Recipe Source: from King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

21 Responses to Dinosaur Birthday Cake

  1. Melissa says:

    Hi Mel,

    Which cake do you like better – this one or the Unbelievable Chocolate Cake recipe?

    Thank you.

  2. Melissa says:

    Awesome cake! Which icing did you use for your son’s cake?

  3. Melanie says:

    Lindy – great minds think alike, eh!

  4. Lindy says:

    So funny – I made both this cake and the dragon cake you made for my son’s birthdays.

  5. Deborah says:

    This is too cute!! And I love when recipes have weight measurements.

  6. rookie cookie says:

    Love that cake! The best part is that it is cute and I will bet it tasted dang good too. Nice work!

  7. PheMom says:

    Oh I think Chef Duff would be proud just the same! A boy after my own heart – I would choose chocolate cake too! I’m glad to know this one turned out so good – I’ve been looking for a good devil’s food. Happy Birthday to your big boy!!

  8. grace says:

    nicely done, melanie! i have no doubt your son loved it, and i bet duff wouldn’t have turned it away either. 🙂

  9. Melanie Anne says:

    that is soo cute! I lOVE it!! I will have to measure once in awhile–I always think I am in too much of a hurry!

  10. Merianne says:

    Mel, i have the best cookbook for cakes using box mixes. It’s called the Cake Mix Doctor and I love it! Cake mixes are no fail and have a leavening agent that makes them rise every time. The recipes in this cookbook use a cake mix but also other ingredients that give the cake a kick (sour cream, pudding, extra egg, etc.). Also, a trick of mine is to freeze the cake after it is cooled, then ice it when it is still frozen. It will be moist and delicious every time!

  11. Jacque says:

    How sweet is that? I’ll bet the birthday boy loved it.Glad you found a recipe you like.

  12. Erin says:

    Such a cute cake, Melanie! Happy Birthday Walker!

  13. Leslie says:

    What an adorable cake. Love it!

  14. Abby says:

    It’s adorable! I’m lucky enough to have a cake-baker in the family so I always go to her for parties, but I like to try my hand at from-scratch cakes sometimes, too.

  15. kamailesfood says:

    What a cute cake! And a delicious one at that.

  16. Marisa says:

    I love that cake! My husband will thank you for finding the perfect chocolate cake recipe!

  17. Patsyk says:

    Completely adorable!

  18. nicole says:

    My son would love a cake like that for his birthday. Too cute!

  19. Just Another Spatula says:

    Aww cute, I also used to struggle with making the perfect chocolate cake but when i found the red Devils food cake a few years back i’ve never looked back. Love the cake you make for your son!

  20. Katie says:

    That is SOOOO flipping cute! What a GREAT IDEA!!

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