The perfect tasting cake MAKES a birthday party

So Emmie’s 5th birthday came and went last week.

My initial intention was for a low key party. A few friends, fingers crossed for good weather, a cake and a cup of tea for the parents.

Instead, as per every single time I have that intention, that idea went to pot. So, there were 16 children, nearly as many parents and grandparents, more food than I meant to make and a bouncy castle in the garden.

The theme was Zootopia or Zootropolis in English English. So basically what that meant is that I bought a few (and way not enough) Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde paper plates and a couple of plastic figurines to use as cake toppers. And then asked Emmie what cake she wanted. When she said chocolate I was pretty surprised considering this is the girl that won’t let a piece of chocolate pass her lips without spitting it out. But, according to 5-year old logic, chocolate cake is different.



I went simple and easy with a Betty Crocker chocolate fudge box cake, well 2 actually. And I used my amazeballs springform pans that my friends Damien and Mary Ann sell. I did the voiceover for a promo video for them and so I feel a bit loyal to the bakeware. But it was the buttercream icing that made it. It was absolutely bloody delicious and I was totally surprised by

  1. the fact that the whole cake went as soon as I cut it (there was none for later) and
  2. lots of my friends said it was really delicious

It actually was, but my British taste buds often interpret things very differently to my American pals’ ones.


So here’s the recipe. I’ve written it in American and English, because as always in baking, they are two very different languages!


  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 4½ cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • 8oz / 227g softened butter
  • 20oz / 567 g icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
  • 5 tablespoons single cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Dump it all in a mixing bowl and beat until very light and fluffy which takes  around 6-7 minutes
  2. If it’s a bit thick to spread on the cake, add a touch more milk. I did. If you want it thicker, add a little more sugar

And enjoy!