New Year’s Eve Cake

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This New Year’s Eve Cake is a rich, dark chocolate cake with a fudgy frosting decorated with a countdown clock perfect to ring in the new year!

new year's eve chocoalte cake with a countdown clock

This fun and festive cake recipe is from the new cookbook Spectacular Spreads, written by my sweet blogger friend Maegan Brown, The Baker Mama.

The book is full of smart and delicious ways to entertain with savory and sweet spreads, and this cake is a must-try for a New Year’s party. 

❤️ Why You’ll Love this Recipe: This four-layer chocolate cake has a decadently delicious flavor and texture and rich, fudgy chocolate buttercream. The adorable countdown clock decoration is perfect for your New Year’s celebration.  

pinterest button for new year's eve cake

Spectacular Spreads Cookbook

You’ll find this cake in the Holiday Spreads section of Maegan’s cookbook (where it’s called the Midnight Fudge Cake). The New Year’s Eve section of the Holiday Spreads section is full of more New Year’s Eve Snacks & Sweets spread ideas, including Champagne Cake Balls, Gold-Dipped Fortune Cookies, Steak Crostini and more fun ideas. 

You’ll also find sections for Breakfast & Brunch Spreads, Lunch & Dinner Spreads, Special Occasion Spread, Dessert Spreads, Drink Spreads.  

collage of mixing cake batter for chocolate new year's cake

How to Make Chocolate New Year’s Eve Cake

Before you start making this cake, make sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature. The coffee should be hot. 

Next, thoroughly oil your pans and line them with parchment paper to make cake removal easier. I love using these pre-cut round pieces of parchment paper from King Arthur, but you can make your own by tracing the bottom of the cake pan on regular parchment.

Tip: When you add the hot coffee to the cake batter, make sure to mix it well before adding the eggs. Otherwise, the eggs may cook!

When your batter is ready to go, fill your prepared pans. Then, before baking, pick up and tap the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.

collage of adding melted chocolate to cake batter

Fudge Buttercream Frosting

To make the whipped chocolate frosting on this New Year’s Eve Cake, start by melting your chocolate so it can begin to cool. When the chocolate is cool enough but still pourable, add it to the mixer with the butter, cocoa, vanilla, and powdered sugar. 

It’s important to keep the mixer on as you add the chocolate so the warm chocolate doesn’t melt the butter. Gradually add the milk so that your frosting is fluffy and spreadable. 

Note: This buttercream crusts over, so if you’re not using it immediately, place a wet paper towel over the bowl to keep it moist.

making chocolate buttercream frosting

Assembling The Cake 

When your cake is out of the pan and fully cooled, you’re ready to assemble. First, trim off any bumps on the tops of the cakes with a serrated bread knife.

With the same knife, cut each cake layer horizontally to make 4 even layers. This is optional, a two-layer cake is just as beautiful. (I often use three 8-inch cake pans instead of caking the layers.)

Put a little dab of buttercream onto a cake plate or serving platter. Place the first cake layer on top and spread it with buttercream. Add the next layer and repeat until all of your cake layers are stacked and frosted. Next, frost the edges of the cake in a thick coating of buttercream. 

While the buttercream is still soft, add the chocolate curls and gold sprinkles so they stay in place.

making frosting for new year's eve cake

Making Chocolate Curls 

You can easily make your own curled chocolate shavings to decorate this New Year’s Cake. First, make sure your chocolate bar is at room temperature (a cold bar will not hold a curl). 

Using a vegetable peeler, apply a little pressure with each stroke and keep the peeler close to your plate. The further the curls fall, the more likely they are to break. Of course, even the broken curls look nice. 

Once you have enough curls of chocolate, place them on the top of the cake by hand.

For the sides of the cake, you can gently grab a handful and press it into the sides of the frosted cake. Keep moving around the cake using this method until all sides are covered.

cake decorated with a clock for new year's

Making a Countdown Clock

To put the finishing touch on this New Year’s Cake, add a countdown clock. I use decorator’s icing from a tube, which you can find at the grocery store near the sprinkles. 

Tip: Wait for your fudge buttercream to dry before adding the white icing. That way if you make an error, you can easily scrape it off and start over.

I recommend starting at the top with the 12, then the 3, 6, and 9 to mark the parameters of your clock. Then go back and fill in the rest of the numbers. Lastly, add the clock hands.

slice of four-layer chocolate cake with whipped buttercream

Storing Leftover Cake

You can store this cake at room temperature wrapped in plastic wrap for up to four days. If you’re storing the cake in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature before serving.

More New Years Eve Recipes

Add these other festive recipes to your menu for a New Year’s Eve party:

More Chocolate Cake Recipes

My blog has plenty of delicious cakes for chocoholics, including:

cake decorated with a clock for new year's
Yield: 34 servings

New Year's Eve Cake

This fun, decadent New Year's Eve Cake has a fudgy chocolate buttercream and four rich dark chocolate layers.



  • 2 cups (275 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (75 grams) special dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup hot coffee (or hot water)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fudge Frosting

  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup special dark cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼-½ cup milk
  • 1 (4.25-ounce) tube white decorating icing
  • 1 8-ounce block dark chocolate, at room temperature


To make the cake: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Spray the bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.  
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, ¾ cup cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the canola oil, heavy cream, and hot coffee. Add the lightly beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir until just combined. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared cake pans. 
  3. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. (You can also use a thermometer and check the internal temperature of your cake is around 210°F in the middle.)
  4. Let the cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes before inverting onto the wire racks to cool completely.

To Make the frosting:

  1. Melt the chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl for about 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the 1 teaspoon vanilla, ½ cup cocoa powder, and powdered sugar, and beat until well combined. Add the cooled melted chocolate and beat until thick. With the mixer on low speed, beat in 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until the frosting is a smooth, thick, and spreadable consistency.
  3. With a long serrated knife or cake leveler, level the top of each cake layer, if needed, and slice each cake layer in half horizontally. You should have 4 cake layers.
  4. Spread a little frosting on the center of a cake stand or cake plate. Place a cake layer, bottom side up, on the cake stand, and spread a generous layer of frosting on top. Place the next layer, bottom side up, on the frosted layer, and spread with another generous layer of frosting on top. Repeat with the third layer. Place the final layer, bottom side up, and spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides of all the layers. 

To decorate the cake:

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, scrape the blade lengthwise across the room-temperature block of dark chocolate to create curls. Garnish the top rim and side of the cake with the chocolate curls. 
  2. Use the white decorating icing to create the countdown clock.


I made the following changes for high altitude:

  • - reduce baking powder to 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • - reduce the sugar by 3 tablespoons (362 grams)
  • - add an additional 2 tablespoons of coffee

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 322Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 83mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2gSugar: 40gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.

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