By Paris Brown,NNPA Newswire Contributor

Originally, this recipe was not a parfait. 

It was a lava cake gone very, very wrong. But when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade — or a chocolate parfait. 

The first mistake I made was that I didn’t correctly butter my pans, so the cake wouldn’t come out of the pans. 

The second mistake I made was that I didn’t know that there’s a big difference between lava cake batter and cake batter. So, I ended up making a bunch of regular chocolate cake. 

When I realized my mistakes, I trashed the lava cake idea and decided to do an easy parfait or trifle. I whipped up some buttercream and whipped cream and started layering. I also made some simple syrup for my cakes to moisten and sweetened them. And it’s way better than my failed lava cake. It’s just like the saying, “The third time’s the charm!”

Enjoy this treat made accidentally!



  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp espresso powder 
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 room temp large eggs 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup strong coffee


  • 2 cups unsalted butter room temp
  • 6 cups powdered sugar 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 4-6 tbsp milk
  • Whipped Cream (store-bought is fine too): 
  • 1 pint heavy cream 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar Simple Syrup:
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup water


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F 
  • Butter and flour pans.
  • Combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Beat the butter, eggs, and vanilla together until combined. Add some of the flour mix and mix. Then add some of the milk and mix. Continue to alternate until everything is fully combined. Then add the coffee a little bit at a time. Fill prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely.
  • Beat the butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar a little bit at a time. Add milk and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  • Whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine water and sugar and heat till it boils. Cool.
  • Pour simple syrup over the cake, but don’t over saturate it.
  • Cut the cake into small rectangles. Put a layer of cake in a trifle bowl or small clear ramekins. Add a layer of buttercream and continue layering, ending with cake. Top with whip cream.
  • Enjoy!!
(Photo: Talia Brown)