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Half birthday cake on a glass plate.
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4 from 1 vote

Half Birthday Cake (Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting)

One 9-inch cake, cut in half, stacked and frosted to make a perfect half-birthday cake. A super simple chocolate cake with vanilla cream cheese icing.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 398kcal


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

Optional garnishes:

  • 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


Calories: 398kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 167mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 490IU | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 1.1mg