Serious Eats: Talk

Special Birthday Cake - need ideas please

My sister's birthday is Dec. 26, but she is pregnant and due Dec. 25 (yes I know that is Christmas, we are Jewish though). My mom wants to celebrate her birthday next week when we are all together for Thanksgiving, since on her actual birthday she will probably be somewhat busy. I volunteered to make the cake and I want to make it AWESOME since my sister is my best friend, and I am so happy for her and she deserves an awesome cake.
I need help though. I am a beginner baker so I need an easy yet super impressive recipe. I want to make a very moist chocolate cake. I haven't settled on a frosting flavor but something good! And then any other ideas you have! Thanks so much Serious Eat community!

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