After our son Jake was born we started the tradition of celebrating his half birthday every year. When we reach the halfway point between one birthday and the next, we celebrate with half of a birthday cake. Life can get busy and weeks and months fly by, so this seemed like the perfect way for our family to stop and reflect on one of the little moments of his childhood. We recently celebrated Jake’s half birthday. He is now two and a half! He loves chocolate, so I made him a chocolate cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting and decorated it with chocolate chips. He loved the cake and we had the perfect little celebration of our sweet boy and how much he has grown.
Making half a cake is very easy. I baked one 9 inch round cake and when it cooled, I cut it in half, stacked the two halves on top of each other and frosted it. You should be able to make this with any cake recipe that yields two 9 inch cakes. Just cut the recipe in half to make one 9 inch cake. I have found that one generous cup of frosting is enough to frost the entire cake, including in between the layers. Feel free to scale down your favorite frosting recipe or use the one I provided.
Not in the mood for chocolate? Check out my Funfetti Half Birthday Cake.
Half Birthday Cake (Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting)
For the cake:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup boiling water
For the frosting:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 6 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- chocolate chips. sprinkles, candy, ganache
Make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350. Butter or spray one 9 inch cake pan.
- Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Once combined, beat in egg, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin), and pour into cake pan.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Prepare the frosting:
- Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined and creamy.
- Cut the cake in half and place one layer on top of the other. Frost the cake (including in between the layers) with a butter knife or offset spatula. Garnish with whatever you like.
Frosting tip: I usually do a crumb coat when frosting a dark cake with light colored frosting. This prevents the dark crumbs from being spread all over the frosting. I had a very short period of time to get this cake made and I skipped this step, which is one reason the final product doesn't look as neat as it could have. It still tasted good though!
Cake adapted from Hershey's