IKEA Cake Challenge

I’m going to put aside my attempt to catch up on my backlog of blog content/life events for a quick post about cake! I recently joined a Facebook group for bloggers in Switzerland and was invited to take part in the IKEA Cake Challenge by the end of February. Since G’s birthday was last week, it was perfect timing!


The parameters of the challenge are open to interpretation. What does “IKEA cake” mean to you?

To me, it meant making a cake from scratch.

G asked for chocolate cake for her birthday, so I turned to my favorite recipe for chocolate cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (375°F for cupcakes). Grease and flour 2 9″ baking pans (or put cupcake wrappers in muffin tins) and set aside.
  2. In the large bowl of a standing mixer, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth (approx. 3 minutes). Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the hot coffee with a rubber spatula. This will make a very runny batter.
  3. Pour batter evenly between the two pans and bake on the middle rack of the over for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs. If making cupcakes, you’ll have enough batter for about 24 (I got 26) and they should be baked for 20-25 minutes (mine came out perfect after 23 minutes).
  4. Allow to cool 15 minutes in the pans, then remove from the pans and allow the cakes/cupcakes to cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

For the icing, I used a variation of the Wilton buttercream recipe I learned when I took my first cake class many years ago:

  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (about 1 lb)
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  1. In the large bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter until fluffy, then add the vanilla extract and 2 tbsp milk.
  2. Gradually add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl before adding more sugar.
  3. If the icing appears too stiff for your needs, add the other tablespoon of milk.

Making cupcakes meant finding some ingredients at the store that I hadn’t ever picked up in Switzerland. I found out that things look a little different in Switzerland than they do in the States (of course).


Assembling all my ingredients.


Go, KitchenAid, go!


The recipe isn’t lying about the batter being runny.


OK, let’s make some buttercream.



Those mini cupcakes went with G to preschool on her birthday. She has classmates with nut and apple allergies, so I was lucky that she picked a cake that didn’t cause an issue with either of those.


For her party, G asked for Inside Out themed cupcakes. I was able to find pink, yellow, blue, and green wrappers, so close enough.

I made icing in all five colors, though. (G was quite quick to point out that it was pink icing, not red. I gently told her tough; that was as red as it was going to get.)

If I had a bigger (read: non-European freezer) I could have saved this. Instead, I shed a couple of tears as I threw it away.


The birthday girl getting ready to blow out her candles on Sunday.

I always loved baking back in Peoria. I got out of the habit here in Switzerland when we were in the temporary apartment. And then once we moved into our current apartment and didn’t have all of my baking supplies, I was disheartened and procrastinated on replacing everything. Doing all this baking last week was fun, though, and I look forward to doing some more (possibly mini) baking in my (definitely mini) Swiss kitchen.


I wasn’t the only one taking part in the IKEA Cake Challenge. Check out these other posts!


10 thoughts on “IKEA Cake Challenge

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