My ultimate wholefoods, fad-free birthday cake recipe

Dec 28, 2021 | Food

The older I get the less interested I am in fads, crazes, and phases. Especially when it comes to food and dietary choices. I think one of the biggest issues attributed to poor digestive function is more to do with the quality of the food we eat, not exactly what we eat. Gluten and sugar aren’t evil (although anything can certainly make us sick if we have too much of it – even water!). This recipe brings us back to simple, whole food goodness. I recommend purchasing certified organic as much as possible. I’ve been whipping up this recipe now for a few years, and every time I share an image of it online I get asked about the recipe. So, here it is my friend!


  • 170 grams unsalted cultured butter, softened and room temp
  • 3/4 cup rapadura sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla bean extract
  • 1 1/4 cup stone ground flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons whole unhomogenised milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


  1. Ensure butter is at room temperature (SOFT!!)
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 celsius, and prepare cake pan with parchment paper. (Use 2 x 15 cm mini pans or 1  x 30 cm approx pan).
  3. In a medium-size bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Beat very well, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until well-combined, about 15 seconds.
  5. In a bowl, mix milk and apple cider vinegar together.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. Add half of the this to the batter and beat for just a few seconds before stirring in half of the milk and vinegar. Continue beating. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat, and then stir in the remaining milk.
  7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth out the top, and bake on a small sheet pan for 35-39 minutes (maybe more if using 1 pan versus 2 mini pans), until a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool on a wire rack in the pan. Carefully remove it from the pan, pulling away the parchment paper once it has cooled.


Note – this recipe is relaxed. Amount really depends on how thick you want your icing to be, and if you’ve made 2 smaller size cakes and want a layer in between, for example. I always keep extra softened butter on hand in case I want a bigger batch. So I’d recommend preparing MORE butter than noted here.

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted, cultured butter, softened and at room temp (approx. 170 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean extract
  • 1/4 cup rapadura (or coconut) sugar
  • Salt (optional – super yummy if you’re doing a caramel or chocolate icing)

Beat butter and sugar together well, then beat vanilla and a pinch of salt through.

wholefoods cake recipe birthday


Make the condensed milk first, before the buttercream (recipe above). You could make more or less of this, depending on how much icing you’d like in the end.

  • 900 grams of whole unhomogenised milk
  • 140 grams of rapadura (or coconut) sugar

Put milk and sugar in a heavy bottom pot. Bring gently to the boil – stirring occasionally – without letting it bubble up. Then, immediately reduce to low-medium heat. Keep it at a simmer.

Reduce by 60% at least. Stir occasionally.

Make buttercream, as per the recipe above, and add the condensed milk, then beat together – adding as much as you like for flavour and amount of icing required. You may not need to use ALL the condensed milk. Adjust to taste. Add more salt if you would love a distinct salted caramel icing flavour.


Make buttercream recipe above, and add organic raw cacao powder to taste. The more generous the better! Add more salt if you want a distinct salted chocolate icing.

I love to decorate these cakes with raw, vegan chocolate balls, fresh strawberries, pistachios, flaked almonds, and on occasion some naturally coloured sprinkles. A mash up of 2-3 option looks really pretty and also buffers any imperfect icing efforts (because enjoying the process is what it’s about).

Tried and tested many times over, I hope you love this cake as much as we do in our home!

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